The Nevada Independent Living Program is designed to assist and prepare foster and former foster youth in making the transition from foster care to adulthood by providing opportunities to obtain life skills for self-sufficiency and independence. Some young people who leave the foster care system may need continuing services to help them on their way to adulthood. The Independent Living Program does this by offering many learning and training opportunities along with financial assistance.
The Independent Living Program services are available to youth 14 and older who are currently in foster care and to former foster care youth who aged-out of the foster care system at age 18. Independent Living services are also available to youth who were adopted from foster care on or after their 16th birthday. Young people who aged-out may continue receiving services until age 21. Nevada will extend independent living services to youth who have aged out of care in another state.
Some of the services provided through the Independent Living Program include:
Essential Documents are the important papers that establish your identity. These consist of your birth certificate, social security card, and identification card. Foster youth are entitled to receive certain documents prior to aging out at 18 years old, including:
Foster youth should be sure to request these documents from their social worker, prior to leaving care.
For additional assistance, youth should contact the Independent Living Program at IL@dcfs.nv.gov.
Youth currently in state’s care are entitled to a free certified birth certificate.
Youth who have aged out of foster care can purchase a birth certificate. For more information on how to do this contact Vital Records at: Phone: (702) 759-1010 or Email: VitalRecords@snhd.org.
A Credit Report is a record of your credit history and activity. The state is required to obtain credit reports for foster youth starting at 14 years old until they reach the age of 18. Their social worker will let you know if their report indicates any fraudulent activity and will help them resolve the issue. Starting at 18 years old, youth should obtain their credit report each year to ensure it is accurate. They can do so free here.
Voting allows you to state your choice for candidates running for government office and voice your opinion on proposed changes to law. United States citizens, 18 years of age or older, are eligible to vote.
Children and youth in foster care who receive assistance through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act are automatically eligible for Medicaid. Like all other children under age 21 enrolled in Medicaid, they are entitled to Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) services, among others.
Medicaid is basic health insurance that is available to foster youth or former foster youth who are eligible. The information provided should help you apply. Apply for health care by downloading the application, printing it, filling it out and sending it to the provided address on the application.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires states to provide young adults under 26 with free health care if they were in foster care at age 18 or older. This ensures that former foster youth can access the health care services they need – just like non-foster youth who can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until 26.
Here is a flyer explaining your rights:
Good news, that job at McDonalds is actually getting you one-step closer to your dream job! Youth are often met with disappoint when they realize their first job may not be the one of their dreams. The reality is that it takes time to develop the skill set and acquire the training that will qualify you for your dream job. However, no experience is a waste. Work experiences give you the opportunity to develop relationships and mentors who will help you fulfill your goals. Every job also gives you an opportunity to develop the basic skills you will need to be successful in any job and in life in general.
These skills include:
Current and former foster youth are eligible for a variety of educational benefits and resources. For more information or assistance visit NSHE Foster Youth Success Initiative | Nevada System of Higher Education
Current Foster youth are eligible to take TWO free ACT Tests. Foster youth are also eligible for free access to the online Kaplan ACT prep program. For more information, contact your high school guidance counselor.
The Tuition Waiver for Foster and Adopted Children waives the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at all of Nevada System of Higher Education institutions and universities. Once utilized, the waiver is good for 5 years.
Eligible youth must meet all four requirements:
To apply, the youth should complete Former Nevada Foster Youth Fee Waiver and return the form to the college’s institution’s Admissions/Registrar’s Office.
Educational Training Vouchers (ETV) (nv.gov)
The ETV program provides former foster youth up to $5000 per year to assist with the cost of attending college or completing a job-training program. Youth receiving the Education Training Voucher are also eligible for additional supports and services to ensure their success.
Eligible youth must:
For more information, email: IL@dcfs.nv.gov.
Registered Apprenticeship is a flexible training system that combines job related technical instruction with on-the-job learning experiences. Apprentices start working from day one with incremental wage increases as they become better at the job. Registered Apprenticeship is active in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, but it is expanding into emerging industries such as healthcare, energy, and homeland security.
Job Corps is a program for 16-24 year olds that provides a place to live, medical care, vocational training, and a GED. Students live on the Job Corps campus while they receive vocational training for a job. This program is free.
AmeriCorps provides a living allowance, health insurance, training, and an education award to help young people age 16 and over pay for college or vocational training in exchange for serving full-time in community service. Young people can live on campus or on their own.
FEMA Corps is a joint program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and AmeriCorps, and offers young people the similar benefits as AmeriCorps. FEMA Corps Members serve a 10-month term and are eligible to serve a second year based on their performance. FEMA Corps members may work directly with disaster survivors, provide support services to disaster recovery centers, or assist disaster preparedness.
Year Up is a free one-year program for young people between 18–24 years old who are highly motivated to learn technical and professional skills. It combines hands-on skill development, college credits, a stipend, and corporate internships to prepare students for success in professional careers and higher education. Youth earn up to 24 college credits and a stipend while gaining valuable work experience in the field of IT. Must be a high school graduate or GED recipient.
Joining the Military. This guide was written to help foster youth understand what "Joining the Military" really means. For foster youth who are considering military service, this guide will help you make the best decision for yourself and help you navigate the military enlistment process.
FAFSA®: Apply for Aid | Federal Student Aid
Moving out on your own is one of the biggest milestones of becoming a young adult. While exciting, it can also be scary. It is important you consider a few questions before moving out on your own:
Are you a:
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