To provide every eligible youth in foster care with independent living skills training to assist in the transition to a successful, independent lifestyle.
- Pre-emancipation Life Skills Classes: Weekly life skills and emancipation planning classes covering education and employment, communication skills, health care, rights and responsibilities, financial literacy, workshops and more.
- College Tours: Visits to college campuses, including meeting with ILSP alums who attend the colleges being toured.
- Higher Education Application Assistance: Individual support and assistance in preparing college applications.
- Scholarship Application Assistance: Workshops and individual assistance in researching and applying for scholarships at all levels of higher education.
- California Youth Connection: Leadership training and opportunities, including legislative advocacy for current and former foster youth.
- After Care Assistance: Individual assessments and case management for emancipated youth and AB12 participants.
- Holiday Parties: Elegant and festive events marking the mid-point of the ILSP year, including the Halloween Havoc, Thanksgiving Dinner, and Holiday party.
- ILP Graduation: Grand celebration of the students' achievements as they transition to college, vocational training, and the world of work.
In 1986, the federal government launched the Independent Living Program to enable state child welfare agencies to meet the needs of youth preparing to emancipate from foster care. The initial federal funding allowed for ILSP services to be made available to youth ages 16-18 who were dependents of the county or probation wards placed out of home by the juvenile court on or after their 16th birthday. In 1999, the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act doubled the federal budget for ILSP and allowed states to extend services to eligible youth between the ages of 18-21, utilize the funds for room and board for pre-emancipation youth, and to extend Medi-Cal benefits up to age 21. In 2002, the federal government added the Chafee Educational Training Voucher Program, funding former foster and probation youth for up to $5000 per year for higher education up to age 23 if the former foster/probation youth was receiving Chafee support at age 21.
Alameda County was one of the first counties in the state to develop an Independent Living Skills Program, opening its doors in 1987. From its inception, Alameda County ILSP has focused on education, employment, and life skills training. ILSP graduates go on to 4 year colleges, community colleges, vocational training programs, and full time employment. Over the years, a number of ILSP graduates have returned to the program as members of the staff.
How can I get involved with ILP?
ILP-Eligible youth are usually referred to ILP by their child welfare workers or probation officers. If you are eligible for services and have not been referred already, you may walk in and speak to one of our coaches to register for ILP services . Together with the child welfare worker or probation officer, a youth should complete a Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP) prior to referral to ILP, and the TILP should be sent along with the referral form to Kai Shatteen, either via fax (510) 667-7629 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org . (If the TILP is not completed prior to referral, the youth will complete a TILP with his or her ILP coach, and the TILP will be updated every 6 months.) Referral forms and TILPs are available in the "Court-Related Forms" section of this site.
Workshops will all be very interactive and are designed to meet the needs of the participants. The Spring 2015 workshops will serve as an introduction to the new ILSP format and upcoming offerings for the 2015-16 school year.
Educational support and assistance is vital to the success of ILSP. Students participate in workshops as well as receive individual counseling focused on educational options and planning.
ILSP continues to develop housing options for emancipating foster youth through the Transitional Housing Program (THP+), in partnership with supportive housing programs First Place for Youth, Beyond Emancipation, and Bay Area Youth Centers. For more information about Housing Services, contact Beyond Emancipation Housing Division Manager Shaunte Spears, 510-667-7741
ILSP participants continue to receive supportive services after emancipation. For more information, contact Beyond Emancipation at 510-667-7694.