COMMUNITY YOUTH SERVICES
A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT BETWEEN THE
RISE TRANSITIONAL LIVING PROGRAM AND THE INDEPENDENT
The RISE Transitional Living Program (TLP) and The Independent Living Program (IL)
at Community Youth Services (CYS) have worked together for over four years to
provide expanded IL programming and cross program case management for TLP
participants. This has been a natural fit and beneficial to both programs for two prime
reasons: 1. A significant number of IL youth who leave the state foster care system find
themselves homeless and enter transitional housing and 2.The perspective, specialized
knowledge, experience and community connections that the IL staff possess, are an
amazing asset to the TLP program.
It has always made sense that both of these programs should have been authorized by
the same congressional legislation. However, this is not the case, so it is up to those of
us in the field to make those connections. We at CYS have had the distinct advantage
of having both of these programs in our continuum of care and co-located in the same
building. It has still not been an easy collaboration and experience has shown that
success is dependent on both programs operating from a similar philosophical base and
having a clear understanding of everyone’s role.
Below are the individual program descriptions, an outline of the collaborations and
comments on the benefits and barriers.
Name: The Independent Living Program (IL)
Type of Program: The IL Program has been a part of CYS's continuum of services
since 1988. The program provides life skills programming and case management to
youth who are or have been in the state foster care system ages 15 to 21. The program
operates using a Positive Youth Development Model and we currently provide IL
services in Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties.
#of Youth Served: Last year we served 147 youth
Weekly life skills and peer support workshops, one designed for youth who are
currently in state care and one for youth who have transitioned out of state care
Referrals and Advocacy
Opportunities for youth to participate in community service projects and
recreational and cultural activities
Transitional Living Services (financial assistance) for youth who have aged out of
Education Training Vouchers for youth who are enrolled in post secondary
education up to age 23 if they were enrolled on their 21st birthday
Name: The RISE Transitional Living Program
Type of Program: The RISE TLP is a part of Thurston Counties Continuum of Care to
provide housing and case management to youth age 16 to 21 who are homeless or in
danger of becoming homeless. The program has been in operation since 1999. RISE
provides scattered site, one and two bedroom apartments, a four bedroom Independent
Living House, a three bedroom Safe and Sober House, a Duplex with Section 8
vouchers for young parents, a three bedroom house for a family, and HOME coupons
for youth who have graduated into Phase II. The programs objective is to provide stable
housing while case managers assist youth in completing their education, finding and
keeping a job, learning life skills and overcoming any other barriers they might have to
successful independent living.
#of Youth Served: Last year we served 29 young adults with 15 children
A variety of housing options available up to 18 months
Monthly housing meetings
Referrals and Advocacy
Opportunities for youth to complete their education, to learn pre-employment
skills, to find and maintain employment, to participate in community service
projects and when possible take part in recreational and cultural activities
Assistance in obtaining medical care and government benefits
Assistance in accessing drug and alcohol and mental health assessments and
A. A half time Independent Living Case Manager from the ILS Program provides the
following services to the TLP Program:
Scheduling, attending, facilitating regular workshops and guest speakers
Facilitating Roommate Agreements
Following up on Roommate Agreements
Presenting at Apartment Meetings when requested
One-on-one ILS work with clients
Attending staff meetings
Occasional weekend checks
Trains and assists TLP case managers in administering and interpreting the
Ansell-Casey life skills assessment
The IL Case Manager is a full time Independent Living employee whose salary is paid
for by both the IL and TLP programs. Both programs are in CYS's Youth Development
Department, but function independent of each other.
B. The Independent Living House (Nick's House) is a collaborative effort that resulted
from a community stakeholder meeting that was held at CYS three years ago. A group
composed of the ILP and TLP staff, state social workers, and foster care youth gathered
together to discuss how the TLP program could better serve youth who had been in
state care. In response to that discussion the TLP, ILP, and the regional state IL office
collaborated together to develop "Nick's House", a spacious, four bedroom home which
focuses on the needs of youth who have exited the foster care system. The program
design provides youth a sense of freedom while providing the structure and supervision
that youth who are leaving the state system often need. While they yearn to be
independent, these young adults often have not yet learned the skills and self-discipline
to live on their own with continual success.
The TLP program leased "Nick's House" and hired a resident advisor to provide on site
supervision and mentoring. Together the TLP and IL staffs developed IL program
structure and guidelines, and the state regional IL gatekeeper agreed to use IL funding
to pay room and board for former foster care youth.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS/STATUS REPORT/BENEFITS OF COLLABORATION:
A. The Independent Living Case Manager
1. An IL case manager brings a greater depth of understanding to the life skills
curriculum. Their program offers a wide range of IL resources. The inventory of
materials to assist youth in learning life skills are too numerous to list but range
from budgeting, time management, how to beat the blues, non violent
communication to how to clean your apartment. Because the IL program serves
a diverse population they have a variety of materials that meet differing age,
cultural, and developmental needs. The IL case manager has been trained in
providing IL services. She has also received in-depth training on using and
interpreting the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment, which she has shared with
the TLP case managers. The IL case manager also is experienced in preparing
for and facilitating workshops for youth. Her expertise brings an added dimension
to workshops and her connections in the community provide skilled facilitators,
who share their expertise.
2. The IL provider acts as a safety net for youth, she is an advocate with whom
youth can vent. Through the IL case manager, youth often receive the added
help they need to work out their problems or advocate for themselves in order to
be successful in the program.
3. Youth who are in the TLP program are informed of, and have easier access to
TLS and ETV money through the IL case manager.
4. It is helpful for program planning to have another programs' objective perspective
on how the program is operating.
B. Nicks House
1. In the past two years eighteen young adults have lived in Nick's House. Thirteen
have graduated into another phase of the program or into permanent housing.
This is a 72% success rate and a significant increase. In the past, the majority of
former foster care youth were failing and exiting the program within the first three
months of enrollment.
2. The house uses a point system so that residents can track their own progress.
This gives them control over their life and determines their continued participation
in the program. A case manager visits the house daily and a resident advisor
lives on site to provide supervision and mentoring.
3. The ILP and TLP staff worked together to make Nick’s House a reality and have
continued to share responsibility for house visits, special activities and weekly
meetings to case consult and insure that the house is running smoothly.
4. The TLP and IL Coordinators attend staffings for youth who will be exiting care
within the year. These staffings are held at the local DCFS office and hosted by
the adolescent unit’s social workers. Through those interactions the youth are
introduced to program staff and are made aware of what the TLP and IL
programs have to offer them. The staffings also help to strengthen the
relationships between program staff and the state social workers.
CHALLENGES AND LESSONS LEARNED:
Change in funding sources:
1. In its’ first year of operation the IL house was mostly funded through the state ILS
program. However at this time the state’s regional office has withdrawn its
financial support and we are currently using host home funds to keep the house
running. It is a valuable resource that we do not want to lose.
2. Recently, because of the IL budget cuts in our region we have had to reduce the
number of staff in the IL program. Current staffing levels will not allow for a 1/2
time case manager. This will force the TLP program to hire an IL case manager
within their program. While this person will definitely have the advantage of the IL
programs resources and the IL staffs support, we foresee that this will make a
change in the delivery of IL services. We are dedicated to keeping the
communication open between the two programs and are enlisting the assistance
of IL staff to train the new IL case manager.
3. Funding can be an issue. In times of shrinking dollars, IL programs, at least in
our region, are finding it difficult to serve the area’s eligible IL population. Asking
the IL to spend time to provide IL materials, consults and staffing to a TLP can be
overwhelming and not possible within their scope of work.
Potential Staff Issues (not necessarily ones we have experienced but all possible
1. Misunderstanding by the TLP staff of the role of the IL case manager. TLP case
managers teach and model life skills to their clients all the time. Introducing an IL
case manager can seem as an unnecessary intrusion and cost.
2. Inexperienced staff may feel threatened by an outsider working with their case
load. As new case managers, we can all remember feeling inadequate to the
task and overwhelmed with our clients issues. Having someone else work so
closely with a client can leave a new staff feeling vulnerable.
3. Work needs to be done so that staff realize the different role that the IL case
manager has in their clients’ life and how that can sometimes be the difference in
the youth's success in the program. The IL case manager needs to be seen as a
resource and not competition.
4. The TLP staff should have a clear understanding of what the IL case manager
will be doing, how the case manager can lessen their work load and the benefit
their involvement can be to the youth and the program.
5. The IL case manager needs to be accessible to the TLP case managers and be
very clear about what their schedule is and what they are able to realistically
6. There needs to be very clear direction from the TLP supervisor about the
expectations of the TLP/ILS collaboration. It is a dynamic and potentially rich
work relationship that deserves close attention in order to meet our expectations.
Program Director Maureen McLemore
Independent Living Program Yuri Sagawa, IL Case Manager
(360) 943-0780 x 124
Transitional Living Program Rhonda Ayers, TLP Program Coordinator
(360) 943-0780 x 103