High school students in foster care should begin thinking about what they will need to make a successful transition to adulthood. In addition to planning for post-secondary education and training, students in foster care must also consider housing options and the skills they will need to live on their own. Fortunately, there are programs and funds in place to support youth in foster care both before and after their eighteenth birthdays.
The Adolescent Living Skills program is a voluntary program for youth in foster care placements supervised by Ramsey County.* Services include help with applying to college and job training programs, finding a job, paying for driver's education courses, finding housing, and learning the basic skills required (managing a banking account, knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, etc.) to live on your own. The program is open to youth ages 14 to 18 who are in Ramsey County foster care placements, and to youth ages 18 to 21 who were in Ramsey County foster care when they turned 18. Contact your Ramsey County social worker to apply. If you no longer have a Ramsey County social worker but qualify within the 18-21 age group, call 651-266-4080.
Extended foster care is available to Minnesota youth who were in foster care when they turned 18. Youth will qualify for this program until their 21st birthday, as long as they are working at least 20 hours a week, looking for work, enrolled in college or a job training program, or have a medical waiver excusing them from these activities. Through extended foster care, youth receive case management services and additional transition planning. Youth in extended foster care also remain on Medical Assistance. If they are living independently, they can receive foster care maintenance payments directly. Otherwise, these payments are made to the caregiver.
*Youth in placements supervised by other counties should check with their caseworkers to find out about transition services through their counties.