Planning for the Future
How to Plan for the Future?
It is important for youth to understand the process that needs to take place as they prepare for adulthood. They should be encouraged to use their voices by actively participating in the development of their transition plan. Youth should be assisted in identifying their future goals and the steps necessary to achieve those goals. Youth in foster care have the right to invite others to their transition planning meeting who are significant to them and will continue to support them as they prepare for independence and beyond.
Life Skills Assessment
Life Skills Assessment is a systematic procedure which identifies a youth’s basic skills, strengths, needs, emotional, social capabilities, and goals for their individualized learning plan. It is federally mandated and conducted annually for youth in care age 14 and older.
The National Youth Transition Database identifies 14 categories of funded and non-funded services that the youth should receive to prepare for a successful transition into adulthood. The NYTD database is used to document, track and evaluate services provided for youth in foster care.
These NYTD services should be provided on a monthly basis to support the youth’s transition into adulthood. The NYTD services specifically prepare a youth for independence, education, housing, life skills, employment, budgeting, hygiene, and healthy permanency. NYTD services can be provided by foster parents, group home providers, case manager, and/or community partners.
Planning for Transitioning into adulthood begins when the youth turns 14, and occurs throughout the life of a case. Planning for successful transition into adulthood identifies strengths and needs in the following categories: permanency/permanent connections, daily living skills, education, employment, transportation, housing, finances, essential documents, and health/well-being. The South Carolina Department of Social Services uses the Transition Plan form for this purpose. This plan must be formalized within 90 days of the youth’s 17th birthday and again within 90 days of the youth’s 18th birthday. The Transition Plan Meeting is a youth collaboration approach to identify areas in which services and skills are needed in order to make a successful transition to independence. Assisting the youth to identify and engage with individuals in his or her support system is essential. Service providers, foster parents, family members, and any other individuals with whom the youth has a positive connection should be invited to participate in the transition plan meeting to develop a successful transition into adulthood.
What support is available for former foster youth?
For Young Adults ages 18 and older:
- Those who transition from care and are not in placement are still eligible to receive Chafee funded services until turning age 21.
- Those who transition from care and are not in placement are still eligible to receive ETV funded services until turning the age 26.
Youth who left foster care for reunification (at or after age 14), or have left foster care for adoption/guardianship/kinship (at or after age 16) are eligible for Chafee funded services and ETV funded service, EXCEPT HOUSING funded services.
Youth who have been in foster care in the past and currently request Chafee/ETV aftercare services should apply at the DSS office of their county of residence. Youth are eligible for Chafee and ETV funded services to achieve academic, employment, transportation, and/or housing goal completion.
What is Voluntary Placement?
Youth who have reached the age of majority (age 18) while in foster care and has not reached the age of 21 are still able to receive placement support. The young adult is agreeing to a Voluntary Placement, which means DSS will provide board payment in support of the youth achieving successful transition into adulthood. The youth agrees to abide by DSS policy and regulations while in DSS placement. Youth are eligible to remain in voluntary placement until turning the age of 21.
Those youth who agree to remain in voluntary placement are eligible for Chafee funded services until age 21; and are eligible for ETV funded services until age 26.
Youth who needs an aftercare placement should apply at the DSS office of their county of residence for Aftercare placement. Youth are eligible if they are in school or working, have identified an academic or employment goal, or have a disabling condition preventing goal completion. Placement is decided on a county level based on need and availability. If immediate placement is not identified, then the county will connect community resources.