The SELF (Support for Emancipation and Living Functionally) program offers services to youth ages 14 through 21, who are currently or were previously in foster care for at least 30 consecutive days after age 14 but are still working with a county or tribal social worker. The program helps these youth prepare for a successful transition to adulthood.
The SELF program is open to youth up to age 21 who are currently or were previously in foster care for at least 30 consecutive days after age 14. This includes youth with developmental disabilities who are capable of living independently at age 18.
For purposes of this program, foster care means 24-hour care for youth placed away from their parents or guardians under the custody of their local social services agency. This includes, but is not limited to, placement in foster family homes, relative foster homes, group homes and residential treatment facilities (excluding chemical dependency treatment).
For youth who remain in care past age 18, extended foster care includes supervised independent living settings such as host homes, college dorms, shared housing, semi-supervised apartments and other housing arrangements approved by county social workers.
SELF services will help youth meet their independent living plan goals. Services available can vary depending on the county where the youth lives. Youth may be able to get help with:
Independent living skills training
Transportation, such as bicycles, bus cards, car insurance or repairs for a youth who drives a car related to their independent living plan, and driver's education, permit and license fees
Education, including tutors; GED fees, ACT/SAT or other test fees; post-secondary school applications and fees; post-secondary school financial aid applications; and vital documents for these applications.
Employment, such as job shadowing or internships; help with the cost of training programs, work uniforms or clothes for job interviews; subsidized wages or wages for an internship or volunteer experience; assistance with career exploration, resume development, skills to find and keep jobs, mock job interviews; fees to obtain a state issued identification card or Social Security card
Permanent connections, such as creating life books documenting their journey and experiences in and outside of the foster care system, Youth in Transition conferences, mentors and relative searches
Housing, including damage deposits, short-term rent subsidies, utility costs, household goods and furnishings. Only youth who leave foster care at age 18 or older can get this help.
SELF services can vary depending on the county in which the youth lives.