Independent Living Funds
Independent Living Funds are available through the Office of Children's Services for youth who need services to prepare for the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency.
Independent Living Funds are available to youth in OCS foster care and to youth no longer in custody reached the age of 16 or older while in OCS state foster care and have not yet reached the age of 21.
Independent Living Funds can be used to help youth gain the skills, experience, and materials they will need to become self-sufficient adults.
Who is eligible?
For Youth In Foster Care: Any youth in OCS out of home care age 16 or over is eligible. It does not matter whether they are in residential care, in a foster home, or in an unlicensed relative placement.
For Youth No-Longer In Custody: Any youth who has reached the age of 16 or older while in state foster care and has not yet reached the age of 21 is eligible. This includes youth who have been adopted, entered into guardianship, or have returned home after turning 16.
Are there special conditions?
There are two conditions for funding for youth in OCS custody:
- The request must be consistent with the child's case plan
- Youth in custody must have completed the Casey Life Skills Assessment (CLSA) and the results must be in the case file
For youth no longer in custody, the goal of providing funds is to promote responsibility while ensuring they have access to the goods and services they need to achieve self-sufficiency. The funds are to be used for goods or services, which directly support the youth in achieving self-sufficiency. Funds must be provided to a vendor or provider other than the youth.
What can the funds be used for?
Daily Living Training
- Money Management
- Self care
- Health education
- Social development
- Relationship building
Work and Study Training and Preparedness
- Post secondary education
- Goal setting and development of plans to achieve them
How do I request the funds?
Anything else I should know?
Funding for this program is limited. Many independent living services are offered at free or reduced rates for special populations through other government programs and through private and non-profit agencies. You will need to demonstrate that efforts have been made to secure funding from other resources.
Ten things you can do to help a youth transition from foster care to independence:
- Help a youth get things that they will need when they leave home, like pots, pans, a bed, an alarm clock, etc
- Provide travel for a foster youth to attend a cultural ceremony in their home village
- Enroll the youth in a Job Training Program. (Contact the Independent Living Program Coordinator for more information)
- Help a foster child enroll in a vocational training program
- Pay for classes to help a foster child quit smoking
- Pay for travel expenses for a foster child to attend job training
- Provide travel to colleges the youth is considering attending
- Enroll the foster child in a money management class
- Pay for a tutor
- Pay for Native Alaskan carving classes