The Independent Living Skills Program (ILSP) is a voluntary program designed to assist youth in transitioning from the foster care system. All California counties are mandated to provide some form of independent living skills training.
Youth who have been in foster care after their 16th birthdays are eligible for ILSP services until the day before their 21st birthdays. Youth are referred to the program by their social workers or probation officers.
Humboldt County ILSP is under the direction of the ILS Coordinator and offers three kinds of services:
Workshops: These ongoing 2-hour training sessions cover various basic living skills and are presented by community experts. Typical topics have included budgeting, communication skills, safe sex, job retention / interviews, college campus tours, financial aid / Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, landlord / tenant issues and routine car care.
Special Events: These day-long events are designed to enhance self esteem and build specific skills.
Individual Services: These include a 1-on-1 assessment and a written Plan for Independence, assistance with financial aid forms and college applications, emancipation information and assistance and job search advising. The Coordinator can also assist youth in obtaining their birth certificates, California ID cards and other documents.
To encourage participation, the program provides incentives. To encourage youth to finish high school, eligible youth who are active in the program (meaning they have attended at least six events) receive a household start-up kit containing brand new dishes, sheets, pots, pans, a phone and many other items as a gift upon graduation.
The ILSP Coordinator prepares an annual narrative report, which is available for review.