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Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future

How to Plan for the Future

Becoming a teenager and navigating adulthood is fun and challenging for everyone. We are here to provide additional support to help youth get where she/he want to be while enjoying the journey along the way. Goals are all about the execution, if youth have a dream but don’t quite know how to organize it, encourage the use of the SMART Goal Worksheet to help make it possible. Please review the Chafee Booklet to view all of the supportive services.

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

The Life Skills Assessment, such as Casey Life skills , are used to identify a youth’s basic skills, emotional and social capabilities, strengths, and needs. 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 information gathered with this tool is used to create an individualized case plan based on the specific needs of the youth. Case planning should be a collaborative process involving the youth, the case manager, the care provider, appropriate family members, and other adults identified as being significant to the youth and willing to support and encourage the youth as he or she prepares to transition to independence.

NYTD Services

The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) project is a national research study that tracks the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood services and outcome measures of youth transitioning from foster care in each state. The National Youth in Transition Database is a national database that (1) surveys youth about their thoughts and experiences of foster care services and (2) tracks the Chafee services that youth receive.

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.

The survey measures financial self-sufficiency, experience with homelessness, educational attainment, positive connections with adults, high-risk behavior, and access to health insurance. NYTD helps assess how states are improving youth outcomes through these services. By taking the NYTD survey, youth have the opportunity to use their voice to assist lawmakers and child welfare agencies in identifying the needs of young people.

SCNYTD website  will have more information about transition resources and the survey link.

States are to collect outcomes information by conducting a survey of youth in foster care on or around their 17th birthday, also referred to as the baseline population. The survey measures a youth’s transition into adulthood. By taking the NYTD survey, youth have the opportunity to use their voice to assist lawmakers and child welfare agencies in identifying the needs of young people. Surveys will begin at age 17, again at age 19, and once more at age 21.


SCNYTD Youth Voice is a peer network group that encourages their peers to maintain connected to share their personal experiences as transitioning from foster care to adulthood. The information gathered from NYTD surveys helps South Carolina determine what impact they have made on a young adults’ life and how to improve supportive resources.

❖ Get involved

❖ Stay connected

❖ Share your story in a meaningful way

❖ Give lawmakers an idea of how you’re doing

❖ Impact the types of services to improve future

❖ Help change “the system” and make a difference

Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is key to helping young people encompass the skills, knowledge, and tools to manage money effectively so that they can become financially stable, build assets, and achieve their personal goals. Decisions made in early adulthood can have lasting financial consequences. This includes being able to save money, distinguish the difference between wants and needs, manage a budget, pay their bills, establish good credit score, purchase a vehicle, pay for college, purchase a home, provide care for any dependents, and plan for retirement.

Financially literate young adults will be empowered to manage money with more confidence and have a better chance of handling the inevitable ups and downs of their financial lives. Young adults will have the understanding of how to manage issues as they arise and prevent from making poor financial decisions.

Please email  for available Financial Literacy/Management course with the Identity Theft Prevention Coordinator (ITPC), a member of the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood Unit.

Transition Planning

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.


Annual Credit Reporting for Youth in Care

The Identity Theft Prevention Coordinator (ITPC) will submit a credit report history request for each youth age 14 until 18th birthday who are in foster care annually to ensure their identity has not been compromised while in foster care. The ITPC will work with the credit agencies to remove any discrepancies. The ITPC will also work with the young person to understand protecting their identity and their credit journey.


What is Voluntary Placement?

Youth who have reached the age of majority (age 18) while in SCDSS 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 to a licensed provider 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.


Extension of Foster Care

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, (P.L. 110-351) amended Title IV-E of the Social Security Act to allow States the option to extend their foster care programs to young adults ages 18-21. Public Law 110-351 made this option to extend foster care to young adults available to States at any time on or after October 1, 2010.

On April 25, 2022, Governor McMaster, signed H. 3509 into law. This law enables South Carolina to operate a Title IV-E reimbursable extended foster care program (EFC) for young adults ages 18- 21. DSS is planning implementation of EFC, pending receipt of approval from the United States Administration for Children and Families to amend the Title IV-E State Plan.

The purpose of Extension of Foster Care (EFC) is to provide a pathway for youth who would otherwise leave the foster care system at age 18 and have not yet reached age 21, to remain in or return to the placement and care responsibility of DSS. Most young adults who participate in EFC will do so under a voluntary placement agreement with DSS.

Extension of Foster Care (EFC) will improve the agency’s overall approach to responding to the needs of older youth. It will enable more appropriate independent living services. It will allow more time for the agency to achieve permanency and stability in the lives of young people who would otherwise age out of foster care at age 18 without a permanent home or adult connections. It will allow the agency to maximize the untapped resources of Title IV-E funding. Most importantly, EFC will promote successful outcomes for transitioning young adults.

DSS has partnered with Annie E. Casey Foundation, Journey to Success, and YEA! (youth council leaders) to design and implement a system and culture that demonstrates normalcy, permanency, and support for the teen/older youth population. We will implement strategies which demonstrates that our policies, decisions, and practices align with our values and belief that partnering with teens/older youth will improve outcomes for success. We will utilize the GPS as our foundation and develop a teen/older youth practice model and a continuum of service array. We will establish a youth centered teaming, assessment planning, and Case Review Process. And we will ensure our staff receives appropriate professional development.


Supporting a Teen and Young Adult

Listen, advise, and provide youth with opportunities to learn and practice new skills. Maximize “teachable moments” to provide life lessons, discuss expectations for adult behavior, and model such behavior. Empower youth to make decisions about their case and participate in court proceedings. Gradually decrease control and increase youth responsibilities. Establish quality communication and follow through. Recognize and celebrate success!

Help youth participate in activities normally experienced by their peers such as dating and participating in after-school activities. Help youth identify leisure activities that are safe, healthy, and easily accessible. Encourage youth’s development of peer support networks through participation in group activities with youth having similar interest and experiences such as foster youth advocacy groups or social clubs.

Be a facilitator of relationships. Help establish lifelong connections for youth. Ask youth to identify at least one reliable, caring adult in their life who can also serve as a stable, ongoing connection and can provide support as they transition to adulthood. Where appropriate, support youth in exploring connections with their biological family members (siblings, parents, aunts/uncles, cousins, grandparents) and support maintaining healthy relationships with them.

Talk with youth about their educational and career goals, how their goals fit with their talents and interests, possible barriers to achieving their goals, and next steps. Offer youth assistance in exploring various educational

or vocational options by talking to school counselors, conducting campus visits, and determining which programs are available in the community. Support youth as they adjust to college life or a new program, help youth in identifying available support services, and assist them in finding a place to stay over school breaks.

Assist youth in exploring various career paths by encouraging and supporting them in conducting research, attending career fairs, speaking to a career counselor, or arranging a visit to a work site. Help youth understand and practice important processes for obtaining a job, such as developing a resume, completing applications, and interviewing. Coach youth on how to keep a job and discuss employer expectations for issues such as arriving on time, appropriate dress, and positive work attitudes.

Help youth explore and assess housing options (including location, cost, utilities, and living with roommates), and help them conduct their search. Support youth in completing required applications. Talk to youth about responsibilities related to housing such as providing a security deposit, paying rent on time, keeping the apartment clean, as well as tenant rights. Help youth develop a backup plan in case housing arrangements fall through.

Help youth open and manage checking and savings accounts, to develop a budget that will outline estimated living expenses and expected income, know how to maintain a good credit score, understand loans and interest rates.

Be a networker and help cultivate supports for the youth. Help youth understand when to seek medical attention and how to find affordable health and mental health services through community health centers, student health centers, or other resources. Discuss the importance of maintaining Medicaid health coverage, medical appointments, and prescriptions. Help youth determine if they are eligible for other government assistance such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Help youth connect to community support services.

Child Welfare Services Transformation

Best Outcomes for Children and Families

Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.