Building Bridges to Brighter Futures
Not very many 18-year-olds are financially independent — most have a financial safety net as they transition from teenagers to independent adults. But children leaving the child welfare system aren’t as fortunate.
The transitional and independent living programs at The Villages target youth ages 17 and older who are in out-of-home placement and approaching independence. The programs focus on teaching them critical life skills and preparing them for their next critical steps to adulthood.
Our program provides assistance to help teens in foster care complete a high school diploma or GED, enroll in additional education programs, obtain employment opportunities and increase their social skills and support network through transitional living group activities.
Tools and Resources for Almost-Adults
- Assessment and implementation of individualized independent living plans
- Individual and group counseling
- Scattered-site housing
- Case management
- Support groups
- Life skills training
- Supportive services for transitional youth with their own children
- Assistance with personal expenses, including a monthly stipend for living expenses
How Does it Work?
We secure scattered-site apartments with access to 24-hour case management and support services. We then motivate young people participating in transitional living to complete life skills benchmarks by offering incentives as rewards.
In more than 90 percent of our transitional living cases, teens completing the program continue as self-sufficient and productive members of their communities. Each participant qualifies for six months of aftercare support, if appropriate. Generally, a stay of nine to 12 months in the program allows for a youth to complete 75 percent or more of the program’s goals.
Pathways is a grassroots program in the Fort Wayne area for runaway and homeless youth between the ages of 17 to 21. These teens have not been designated by the courts as juvenile delinquents, nor are they abused, neglected or labeled as a “Child in Need of Services.” Because of this, they don’t qualify for most of the available programming that could help them. Ultimately, they fall between the cracks.
These youth need emotional encouragement and financial support. The Villages wants to help them stabilize themselves before they become part of the child welfare system, or worse yet, part of the corrections system.
The Pathways program unites a broad array of community partners to provide emergency shelter for runaway and abandoned youth. Often, we find an opportunity to further assist these youth by helping to connect them to our other services. Our goal is to put them back on the path to self-sufficiency and independence. Pathways has become a safety net for youth at the most vulnerable time of their lives.