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.
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?
Foster youth who are seeking supportive services must be referred by the Children’s Division alternative care workers to the Older Youth Transition Specialist. The services were designed for three categories of youth.
- In Care 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.
- After Care Youth — Former foster youth who have left care at age 17.5 or after, but have not reached age 21.
- Foster youth who have been adopted or gone into guardianship after the age of 16 and are under 21.
What is available?
Life Skill Classes include training and experiential activities designed to teach young people skills that they will need as they transition from foster care to the community. Topics include:
- 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 our health
Educational Assistance may be available for graduation expenses, goal setting for higher education, and completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Missouri Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program offers funds to assist with the cost of attendance for foster youth planning to attend accredited colleges, universities, and vocational training institutions.
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.
Other services for In Care Youth
Please note that the Family Support Team will help determine which services actually apply to each individual foster youth.
- Dorm/apartment start-up kits
- Car repair
- School/work uniform assistance
- Drivers education referral
- Youth leadership opportunities
- School extra-curricular activities
- Bus passes/tokens (work-related)
- State identification
Other services for After Care Youth
Emergency funds are short-term quick-fix opportunities to help the young person continue to be independent. Examples include: auto repair, utility assistance, food and rent.
Support services provide referrals to resources. This support service may be 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 know who has a personal interest in them.
Job training includes referral to a training site with possible financial assistance during the training period. Training in an occupation can enable young adults to find more than a part-time job and be-come 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. Examples are food, rent and security deposits, as well as start-up kits which can include supplies and necessary furniture.
Healthcare assistance. MO HealthNet is automatically available to former foster youth (up to age 26) to provide medical and behavioral health care coverage. This benefit is limited to those former foster youth who were discharged after their eighteenth birthday.
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
Mo. Department of Social Services
Mo. Children’s Division
Mo. ETV Program
Federal Student Aid
Missouri Driver Guides