LINC Youth Services Initiatives

The Chafee Independent Living Initiative is LINC's foster youth effort offering resources and training to youth who are transitioning into independent adulthood from the Missouri foster care system in Jackson, Clay and Platte counties.

Background

The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 was passed by Congress to help young people transitioning from foster care.

Missouri’s program was administered by the Children’s Division until 2007, when LINC — the state’s “community partner” for Jackson, Clay and Platte counties — was selected for the work.  With a long history of involvement in child welfare issues, LINC  offers foster youth access to existing strong connections and resources located in the communities where youth live.

LINC’s efforts support the larger work of the Children’s Division case managers who are working with these youth.

Who is eligible?

Any youth wanting supportive services must be referred by the Missouri Children’s Division.  The program was designed for two categories of youth. 

Youth in foster care, between the age of 14 and 21, who are in out-of-home placements and do not have an adoptive resource.

Former foster youth who have left care at age 17.5 or after, but have not reached age 21.

What is available?

Survival Skills Classes are a series of training and experiential activities designed to teach young people skills that they will need as they transition from foster care to the community.  Topics covered include: 

  • Respecting self and others
  • Planning and reaching goals
  • Communication skills
  • Success in work and school
  • Legal rights and responsibilities
  • Skills for getting and keeping a job
  • Managing money
  • Taking care of your health

Those who sign up must make a commitment to attending all classes. 

Life Skills Classes are available to teach similar skills and provide information to young people.  However, the classes are not offered as a series but rather individually.  The young people may choose to attend as many of these as needed.  These classes are intended for youth with immediate needs — they may already be living independently or their plans include independent living in the very near future.

Educational assistance may be available for graduation expenses, goal setting for higher education, and completing financial aid forms.  The Missouri Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program offers funds, to assist with the cost of attendance, to foster youth planning to attend accredited colleges, universities, and vocational training institutions.

What else is available to former foster youth?

Emergency funds are short-term, quick-fix opportunities to help the young person continue to be independent.  This might include: auto repair, utility assistance, food and rent.

Support services provide referrals to resources.  This may be a one-on-one contact for guidance or to just talk to someone they trust about what is happening in their lives. This could be a community member, co-worker, job mentor, friend, or someone they recognize who has a personal interest in them.

Job training may consist of a referral to a training site with possible financial assistance during the training period.  Training in an occupation may enable young adults to find more than a part-time job and become self sufficient.

Housing (room and board) expenses are meant to be flexible and short term (90 days or less) to help stabilize a particular situation.  This may include food, rent, security deposits, start-up kits which can include supplies and necessary furniture.

Healthcare Assistance. MO HealthNet is automatically available to former foster youth up to age 21, to provide medical and behavioral health care coverage.

Referrals & Applications

If you would like to refer a youth or make a self referral to the Chafee Independent Living Initiative, please contat the Older Youth Specialist below.  To apply for the program, complete the Chafee Support Application (PDF), print it out, and mail it to the Older Youth Specialist below.

Jackson, Clay and Platte counties 
Older Youth Transition Specialist
615 E 13th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
816-889-2185

Other Resources

Mo. Department of Social Services
www.dss.mo.gov

Mo. Children’s Division
www.dss.mo.gov/cd/

Mo. ETV Program
www.statevoucher.org

Federal Student Aid
www.fafsa.ed.gov

Missouri Driver Guides
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