Supervised Apartment Living
Our Supervised Apartment Living (SAL) program is for those youth who have either completed our Project LIFE program or who are already over the age of 18 and whose circumstances dictate that they should be living in their own apartment as opposed to a foster care situation. These youth will live in their own apartment while receiving, at a minimum, the Case Management intervention services and independent living skills curriculum offered by the Project LIFE program.
One major aspect of the Supervised Apartment Living program for 2013-2014 is that we have eliminated the multi-tier level of interventions which the referring agency previously used to “menu” the desired level of staff contacts. The SAL Level I rate includes one Guidance session or one Case Management session a week. The youth are required to complete our independent living skills curriculum, as well as maintain their monies and fulfill the requirements of the budget, which has been laid out with them by our staff. If other ancillary services are necessary, we connect them to agencies or entities in the community where they live. This allows for those supplemental services to continue after the youth leave the care of the juvenile system which has placed them with us.
We can also arrange that they call in to an automated attendant and voice messaging system on a three-time a day basis (if so determined by the county). In that way, we may monitor their adherence to curfew schedules.
The SAL program provides only Guidance and/or Case Management services. The placing agency can elect to use our rent per diem to provide $500 a month to the youth in care, which is done by paying the $16.40 per rent per diem ($500 divided by 30.5 days in a month). As it has become more apparent, the $500 amount is not sufficient to cover the full rent of a modest apartment in the greater Lehigh Valley area. Thus, this year we have added a second rent rate to our per diem rates. That second rent per diem amount is $24.59. That is calculated by the equation of $750 divided by 30.5 days in a month.
Rent monies are never given directly to the youth, instead they are used to pay the rent directly to the landlord. If a youth chooses an apartment that costs more than the $500/$750, they are responsible to pay the difference in the rent. If a youth elects to live in a room for rent and the cost is less than rent per diem total for the month, then the difference is applied to their utilities bills or to purchase food. Again the money is never given to them directly. Instead a Case Manager will teach them how to get a money order to pay a utility and get a receipt. In the case of food purchases, the Case Manager will go shopping for them to turn food shopping into a learning experience and all receipt are kept for monies spent. Counties elect the length of time they wish to assist the youth with rent payment and thus that is a per diem which is completely at the discretion of the referring/placing county.
As with our Project LIFE programs, we make the acquisition of independent living skills a component in the program and a major priority. Thus we follow the tenets listed below:
New Federal Law for Transition Planning
A recent federal law requires that all states must develop a transition plan for foster youth during the 90 day period before the youth leaves foster care at age 18, 19, 20 or 21. The plan must be individual to the young person and developed with the young person. Among the issues to be addressed are specific options on housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors, and workforce supports and employment services.
Specifically, the Fostering Connections law provides new supports and services to promote permanency and the improved wellbeing of older youth in foster care. These include foster care, adoption, or guardianship assistance payments to children after the age of 18; a requirement that personal transition plans for youth aging out are developed within 90 days prior to youth exiting foster care; extending eligibility for Independent Living Program services to children adopted or placed in kinship guardianship at age 16 or older; and extending eligibility for education and training vouchers to children who exit foster care to kinship guardianship at age 16 or older ( those adopted after age 16 were already eligible). At The IMPACT Project, Inc., youth in our Project LIFE program will be using FosterClub’s Transition Planning Toolkit.
Employment and Education
Preparation for independent living involves entering the job market in order to understand how to work toward becoming financially self-sufficient. Additionally, entering the job market will allow us to assess a youth’s work ethic and habits. Depending on individual situations, youth may choose to search for full-time or part-time employment.
Those youth who want to complete their high school education will generally hold part-time jobs while attending school on a full-time basis. Those who work full-time are encouraged to participate in GED preparatory classes if they have not completed their high school education or previously qualified for the GED. Eligible youth are encouraged to participate in county or state job training programs when and where applicable.
The Transition Domains identified by the FosterClub’s Transition Toolkit include the following:
Finances and Money Management
Job and Career
Community, Culture, and Social Life
Self-Care and Health
Other, not otherwise identified
Independent Living Workbook and Curriculum
Workbooks designed to teach independent living skills to youth are an integral part of Project LIFE’s program. We employ a number of workbooks designed to help the youth toward competence in the following areas:
- Relating to others
- Home Management
- Leisure Activities
- Community Resources
- Basic Education
The completion of workbooks will be an integral part of the programmatic system as well as requirements necessary to complete levels. In addition to the above listed modules, we continue to develop or purchase new modules. While these are the major areas we focus upon, there are numerous modules in each area to build independent living skills.
Development of Multiple Plans
Often the coordination with other agencies and separate and distinct plans are necessary to help an older youth achieve independence. Thus, the Transition Toolkit Worksheet includes a section where other community partners, who have crafted a plan on behalf of a youth, are actively involved in the process. The IMPACT Project, Inc. will coordinate with all other necessary and involved entities and agencies to help assist a youth with successful independence.
Below we list a cadre of optional services, all of which may be beneficial to assist the older youth in their adjustment to independent living, while also protecting the community and any prior or potential victims:
Drug and Alcohol Evaluation and Treatment
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Ancillary Case Management Services
Community College Coursework
Trade School Courses
Driver training road course leading to a Pennsylvania driver’s license.
For more information on our SAL program, contact Mr. Tom Mantore, IMPACT’s Vice President of Placement Services or any of our administrative staff.