Transitioning Youth to Adulthood
IFAPA offers trainings on working with teens and preparing them for adulthood. View the IFAPA Training Schedule to find upcoming dates and locations for these free training classes.
The Iowa Department of Human Services offers several options for youth that are preparing to exit the system. Below you will find a brief description of the available resources and links to related sites.
Transition Planning Specialists
The Department has five Transition Planning Specialists (TPS), who focus on resources available to teens in foster care. As teens prepare to exit the foster care system at age 18, there are numerous issues to take into consideration, such as
- Where will the youth live once they leave foster care?
- How will they support themselves?
- Will they pursue higher education or immediately enter the workforce?
- Will the youth continue to receive Medicaid benefits for health insurance and prescriptions?
The TPS is prepared to assist with these issues and many more. Please view the chart below to locate the Transition Planning Specialist in your area.
|DHS Transition Planning Specialists|
|TPS Name & Contact Information||Counties They Cover|
|Kim Marks, TPS
Western Service Area
Council Bluffs Area DHS Office
417 Kanesville Blvd - Council Bluffs, IA 51503
712-328-4861 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Audubon, Buena Vista, Carroll, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Fremont, Greene, Guthrie, Harrison, Ida, Kossuth, Lyon, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, O'Brien, Osceola, Page, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pottawattamie, Sac, Shelby, Sioux, Taylor, Woodbury
|Kathy Berns, TPS
Northern Service Area
Black Hawk County DHS Office
1407 Independence Ave (PO Box 7500)
Waterloo, IA 50704
319-292-2368 - email@example.com
Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Calhoun, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Howard, Humboldt, Marshall, Mitchell, Pocahontas, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Worth, Wright
|Tai Brooks, TPS
Eastern Service Area
Scott County DHS Office
600 4th St, 3rd Floor
Davenport, IA 52801
563-326-8794 - firstname.lastname@example.org
|Cedar, Clinton, Des Moines, Dubuque, Henry, Jackson, Lee, Louisa, Muscatine, Scott|
| Teresa Jacobs, TPS
Cedar Rapids Service Area
Linn County DHS Office
411 3rd St SE, Suite 400
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
319-892-6818 - email@example.com
Appanoose, Benton, Davis, Iowa, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Mahaska, Monroe, Poweshiek, Tama, Van Buren, Washington, Wapello
|Jan Huff, TPS
Des Moines Service Area
Polk County DHS Office
2309 Euclid Ave - Des Moines, IA 50310
515-725-2740 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Adair, Adams, Boone, Clark, Dallas, Decatur, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Polk, Ringgold, Story, Union, Warren, Wayne
Resources to Help Youth Successfully Transition to Adulthood
50 Ways to Help Youth Transition to Adulthood
Resources for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood see resources listed below
Eligibility for Various Youth Programs see resources listed below
My Transition Iowa
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability/ Youth Involved in Foster Care
Great Schools - Helping Kids with Learning Disabilities Focus After High School
Developing a Permanency Pact for Foster Youth
Brighter Tomorrows Better Future
AMP (Achieving Maximum Potential)
AMP is a youth-driven, statewide group that seeks to unleash the full potential for personal growth among foster and adoptive children in Iowa. AMP offers leadership opportunities, service learning projects, speaking opportunities, and educational/vocational assistance. AMP also provides the life skills youth need to become self-sufficient, independent adults.
More on AMP
Iowa Aftercare Services Network (IASN)
Voluntary services and support offered through the Iowa Aftercare Services Network (IASN) are designed to help foster care alumni ages 18 – 21 move toward stability and self-sufficiency in six key areas: education, employment, housing, health, life skills, and relationships. Participants meet at least twice monthly with a Self-Sufficiency Advocate (SSA), who partners with youth to help them address barriers and develop skills to achieve their individual goals. In addition, needs-based financial support is available to youth who qualify for the Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) program.
Aftercare Services may be contacted several months prior to a young person’s planned exit from the foster care system. Aftercare SSAs are available to attend Family Team Decision-Making meetings, transition meetings, or other events related to a young person’s transition from care. Involvement prior to discharge helps SSAs build a relationship with eligible youth and facilitates a connection to Aftercare services.
For more information regarding Aftercare services and eligibility requirements visit http://www.iowaaftercare.org or call 800-443-8336 to be referred to an IASN provider.
Joanie Havel, Aftercare Coordinator
Youth Policy Institute of Iowa
7025 Hickman Road, Suite 4 - Urbandale, IA 50322
Medicaid for Independent Young Adults (MIYA)
The purpose of the Medicaid for Independent Young Adults (MIYA) program is to provide continued health coverage to young adults transitioning to independency from state care and custody.
MIYA Eligibility Definitions - MIYA currently provides Medicaid coverage to eligible youth who are:
- Living in Iowa,
- Under age 21,
- Who were in a foster care placement paid by the state of Iowa when they turned age 18,
- Left foster care on or after May 1, 2006, and
- Have countable income under 200% of the Federal poverty level.
Youth covered under the MIYA program receive the same services as any other child under 21 who is eligible for Medicaid. Youth covered by the MIYA program receive covered services through existing Medicaid provider networks. For this program annual eligibility determination is required. More info on MIYA
The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) oversees a direct rent subsidy component of the Iowa Aftercare Services Network. This program is designed for aftercare participants who do not qualify for the PAL stipend. The IFA may be able to subsidize an apartment up to $350/mo. Youth are responsible for paying the remainder of the rent. The goal is for IFA aftercare participants to have some type of income and be working toward self-sufficiency.
More info on Rent Assistance
Iowa Youth Dream Teams
Iowa has eight Community Partnership for Protecting Children (CPPC) sites involved in the Transitioning Youth Initiative (TYI) that have created shared decision-making teams to focus on issues that youth face as they “age out” of foster care and transition into adulthood. Through the TYI efforts, the Iowa Youth Dream Team (IYDT) planning process has been developed. The process is a youth-centered practice model that empowers youth to take control of their lives and dreams. Supportive adults and peers create a team that helps the youth make connections to resources, education, employment, health care, housing and supportive personal and community relationships. Through these connections and relationships, young people are better able to gain access to and take advantage of the resources, knowledge, and skills to support themselves and realize their life’s dreams.
Youth that want to start an Iowa Youth Dream Team, will visit with a Formal Facilitator to get to know one another, put together an “All About Me” presentation to share with their team, and decide who the youth wants to invite to be team members. Iowa Youth Dream Team’s first gathering involves:
- The team getting to know each other
- Youth presenting their “All About Me” information
- Discussing what the youth wants and needs
- Putting together a plan with action steps that will support the youth in accomplishing their dreams and goals
The gatherings are lead by the youth with the support of a Formal Facilitator and “best” friend. A “Coach” may emerge from the team as a natural adult support and team coordinator after the “formal facilitator” steps out.
The youth can decide how many gatherings to have depending upon their needs and wishes. The hope is that long-term relationships will be developed between the youth and the team members.
Currently, youth living in or supported by the 8 CPPC sites involved in TYI can request an Iowa Youth Dream Team. Beginning this fall and winter four additional areas of the state will begin the start-up phase. Right now in most of the eight areas, IYDTs can be funded as a Family Team Meeting (FTM) for youth under age 18 who are in the system. The criteria for the formal facilitator is that they attend our one and a half day training and are coached, evaluated, approved, and are also DHS approved FTM facilitators.
To find contact information for the various community partnership sites, click here.
Casey Life Skills Assessment (CLSA)
Casey Life Skills Assessment (CLSA) is a free tool that assesses the behaviors and competencies youth need to achieve their long term goals. It aims to set youth on their way toward developing healthy, productive lives. Iowa utilizes this assessment as a “tool” to identify life skills strengths and needs for youth in out of home placement starting at age 16. Examples of the life skills CLSA helps youth self-evaluate include:
- Maintaining healthy relationships
- Work and study habits
- Planning and goal-setting
- Using community resources
- Daily living activities
- Budgeting and paying bills
- Computer literacy
- Their permanent connections to caring adults
CLSA is designed to be used in a collaborative conversation between an educator, mentor, case worker, or other service provider and any youth between the ages of 14 and 21. It is appropriate for all youth regardless of whether they are in foster care, live with their biological parents, or reside in a group home.
Youth typically will require 30-40 minutes to complete the CLSA. Their answers are available instantly for you to review with the youth in a strengths-based conversation that actively engages them in the process of developing their goals.
DHS has created a short webinar for you to view that will explain the process of how to have your youth take the CLSA, and how to use the results of the assessment to continue to work with the youth on improving their life skills for chances of a more successful transition to adulthood. To view recording go to the DHS Service Training website: http://servicetraining.hs.iastate.edu/ . Use the navigation bar at the top of the screen and go to Resources and scroll down to Webinars and then Click on Casey Life Skills Assessment for Providers.
Please view the Instruction Sheet for easy reference when you have a youth that needs to complete the Assessment.