CHILD WELFARE MANUAL

Section 4, Chapter 5 (Older Youth Program), Subsection 4 – Transitional Living Program

Effective Date:  5-1-19

 

The Transitional Living Program (TLP) is intended for a youth, typically age 16 and over; whose permanency goal is not reunification, adoption or legal guardianship. Transitional living experiences for youth are vital.  The purpose of the transitional living program is to provide a living environment in the best interest of the youth that provides a path for the youth to transition from alternative care to self sufficiency and achieves the outcome of preparing the youth to live independently.

The transitional living program is designed to provide youth with more independent types of living arrangements and programs. The transitional living program is distinct as the focus of the program is on life skills teaching while providing housing versus behavioral modification or assistance with emotional health care needs and is intended to serve youth who will exit the foster care system to live on their own.  Services complement the youth’s own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and to assure that youths recognize and accept their personal responsibility in preparing for and making the transition from adolescence to adulthood. 

When youth enter into a TLP, it is an opportunity to discuss shared living agreements and understandings at the time of placement to promote independence, clarify new roles, and establish mutually agreed up on expectations.

Adolescence is a time of testing, not only one’s abilities but others’ abilities as well. It is a time of trial and error.  Our out-of-home care youth need to be allowed to make mistakes and to learn by natural consequences.  Staff and care providers are to assist the youth with coping and learning from their successes and deficits.

When youth in out-of-home care make mistakes, staff and care providers need to exhibit patience, support and guidance. Youth need to feel the security that we will not give up on them, rather, we will work with them as they learn how to live and function in the adult world.

Ideally, TLP offers the youth the opportunity to transition smoothly from a more restrictive environment to a less restrictive setting based on the readiness of the youth. TLP allows the youth to apply what has been learned in their life skills teaching to actual daily living.  Based on the particular needs of the youth, they may progress from one setting to another but may enter or exit any living situation at any time when it is felt by staff and the youth that they are ready for a change.

When a youth is not successful, staff and care providers should assess the current needs of the youth and modify the case plan accordingly. It is hoped the majority of issues will be resolved in the current placement.  As a last resort, a youth may be returned to a more restrictive setting and receive remedial services as needed.  When the youth is ready to progress again, TLP placement may occur.

5.4.1   Transitional Living Advocate

The Transitional Living Advocate (TLA) is an adult, 21 years of age or older, who provides the youth a safe place to stay, continued life skills training, encouragement and guidance in regard to employment, education and/or training, and preparation for successful transition from CD custody. The TLA may be married or single and is willing to provide the time, a home, supervision and support needed by the youth transitioning out of care.  They must be successful in their own independence, i.e., employed, maintain a household and generally provide a positive role model for the youth.  The advocate should be similar to or understanding of the youth’s race or ethnic background.

They must have flexible attitudes and expectations of the youth during this difficult time of transition. The advocate should have prior experience with adolescents, be energetic, and have the ability to listen and to handle failure as a learning process.  They must have an understanding of adolescent behavior and be able to let the youth make mistakes and deal with natural consequences.  Communication is essential when working with youth as well as allowing the youth to form their values.

The advocate should be aware of community resources that will support the youth’s endeavors and be willing to assist the youth in accessing those services. Cultural sensitivity is a necessary asset of the advocate as is the ability to work with a variety of people.  It will be required for the advocate to work with the Children’s Service Worker, support providers, and others in developing and maintaining the youth’s case plan.

This type of placement is crucial to the youth’s successful transition to adulthood. It is hoped the advocate will become a life-long friend and mentor for the youth, allowing the youth to return for visits, holidays and occasional support.

Advocates must ensure a safe haven for the youth to stay in; help the youth with employment and education/vocational training; guide the youth and assist the youth with learning to live with rules. The advocate should encourage the youth and provide opportunities for the youth to practice life skills learned in life skills training.

5.4.1.1   TLP Advocate Training

Prior to approval, the advocate must complete the following:

    • Successful completion of 18 hours of pre-service, specialized training on adolescent issues through CD including three (3) hours each in cultural/race sensitivity, OYP overview, adolescent development with an emphasis on what to expect from adolescent behavior, emotional obstacles out-of-home care youth must overcome, adolescent sexuality and behavior management via natural consequences;
    • A criminal and child abuse/neglect background screening;
    • An approved home study completed by the child’s Children’s Service Worker;
    • A signed copy of the Agreement for the Purchase of TLP Advocate Services, CM-12; and
    • Register with the Family Care Safety Registry;

It is recommended each area ensure that a cross section of youth assist in all phases of the advocate training. This includes recruitment and placement.  Placement planning is very important and requires adequate time for a good match.  The youth needs to be matched with an advocate who has similar values and has an understanding of the needs of the youth.

 

5.4.1.2 TLP Advocate Approval

Prior to placement of a youth, the child’s Children’s Service Worker must approve the advocate. Staff shall use The TLP Advocate and Independent Living Arrangement (ILA) Checklist, CS-TLP-1, when determining the suitability of the living arrangement.  The CS-TLP-1 provides a procedure for documenting health and safety requirements specific to an older adolescent placed with an advocate.

A TLP advocate has the same right to a fair hearing as a foster parent when approval is denied or revoked. The advocate may also grieve a youth case management decision in the same manner as a foster parent.

5.4.1.3 Advocate Maintenance Payment

The youth shall receive $586 per month for rent, food, clothing, incidentals and payment to the advocate. $450 per month shall be paid by the youth to the advocate for food and rent expenses.  The youth is to use $136 per month for other expenses such as clothing, school/work necessities, personal hygiene, grooming, transportation, etc., as well as the establishment of a savings account.

5.4.1.4 Characteristics of the Youth

The youth should be at least 16 years of age with a placement history, which indicates this type of placement as a logical progression to independence. He/she should have developed good decision making skills and has a clear understanding of the program and what is expected.

Youth must be enrolled in Chafee Services and actively participating prior to placement. The youth should not require close supervision and should have shown the ability to manage money with little to no assistance.  Average or above average school performance is desirable as is some work experience.  Work experience is not required for entry into this type of placement, however.  It is recommended youth enrolled in school full time should not work more than 20 hours per week.

5.4.2   Transitional Living Program Group Home (TLG)

A licensed, residential, child care site where older youth, ages 16-18, who have a plan of independent living concentrate on preparation for independent living and completion of their educational/vocational programs in a supervised group setting.  Youth are currently enrolled and actively participating in Chafee Services.  Youth should not work more than 20 hours per week, if they attend school full time.  Typically, youth entering a TLG have been residing in a residential treatment facility.  Youth are expected to maintain employment and develop goals and plans for their future.  All facilities that are contracted as TLP group homes are licensed as residential child care agencies by the Residential Program Unit within Central Office.

If the Family Support Team (FST) decides placement in a group home setting would be in the best interest of the youth, staff should refer the youth through FACES by using the Referral – Transitional Living Group Home/Scattered Site Services screen. In addition, the child’s Children’s Service Worker will submit the Residential Treatment Referral, CS-9, to their supervisor as part of the referral packet.   The CS-9 must have been completed within the last 30 days.  The Adolescent FST Guide (CD94) and Individualized Action Plan Goals (CD94) are completed within the last six months.  A life skills assessment tool of the Children’s Service Worker’s choice should be completed to assist with youth engagement, assessment, and goal development.  Once placed, the group home is responsible for completing a day-to-day service plan that addresses all items listed in the Adolescent FST Guide (CD94) and Individualized Action Plan Goals (CD94), within 30 days of the youth’s initial placement and quarterly thereafter.  The group home provider’s service plan should address:

  • Academic Achievement;
  • Job Readiness;
  • Community Services and Support;
  • Youth Leadership;
  • Independent Living Skills Training.

In order to meet the individual day-to-day service plan, the provider is responsible for contacting, interviewing, and screening youth, lesson planning, liaison activities, skills assessment, record keeping, pre and post testing evaluation, material and resource organization, organization of field trips, incentives for youth, and purchasing supplies for independent living skills training.

It is the responsibility of the child’s Children’s Service Worker to update the youth’s case in FACES to show the youth placed in a TLG placement type. The maintenance code must be coded “no maintenance”.

Once a youth is residing in a Transitional Living Group Home, Chafee Services will be provided by the TLG provider.

If at any time the child’s Children’s Service Worker thinks that the contractor for TLG is not meeting the requirements outlined in the Transitional Living contract and the issue cannot be resolved with the contractor, the child’s Children’s Service Worker should contact the Older Youth Transition Specialist with the concerns to be addressed.

5.4.3   Transitional Living Program Single/Scattered Site Apartments (TLS)

This program offers youth, ages 18-20, with a plan of independent living, ideally from a TLP group home, the opportunity to practice life skills and prepare for the future in an apartment setting. Youth in this type of placement receive support and guidance, but supervision is minimal.  To be considered for TLS, youth need to demonstrate the ability to make responsible decisions, maintain employment, and have a clear understanding of the financial and emotional demands of living independently.  Youth entering TLS ideally would be currently enrolled and actively participating in Chafee Program Services. 

A scattered site apartment is defined as a self-contained furnished (refrigerator, stove, bed, oven, table, chairs, etc.) unit with utilities (trash, sewer/water, electricity/gas, phone accessibility, etc) cooking, sleeping, and bath facilities for no more than one (1) youth per bedroom. Scattered site apartments may include apartments adjacent to other treatment programs, or sites scattered throughout the community and/or apartments clustered together.  The apartment must provide a pleasant, clean, safe and healthful environment.  Placement settings are located in community environments to allow the youth full access to services and resources in order to fully develop independent living skills.

The apartment must provide a pleasant, clean, safe (including fire extinguisher and fire alarm), and healthful environment The apartment should be in good repair, including proper screening for ventilation, sufficient window coverings to assure the privacy of each client, and pest controlled. All painted surfaces should be in good condition.  All areas and surfaces must be free of undesirable odors.  Placement settings are located in community environments to allow the youth full access to services and resources in order to fully develop independent living skills.

Furniture and furnishings should be comfortable and maintained in clean condition and good repair. All upholstered furniture should not be torn.  If furniture is torn, it must be covered with fitted slipcovers.  The slipcovers must be clean and in good repair with no tears.  Throws are not acceptable to cover torn furniture.  Chairs should not be broken, have cracked frames, or in any other way be unsafe or unsightly.

All sleeping areas must be physically separated by gender unless otherwise pre-approved by the state agency in writing. There should not be more than one (1) resident per bedroom occupying a given living arrangement unless otherwise approved by the family support team, the youth, the state agency case manager, the provider, and the state agency.

There are two types of Transitional Living Single/Scattered Site Apartment services:

  • A structured Transitional Living Single/Scattered Site Apartment service is defined as     a support being available for the youth to contact twenty-four (24) hours per day and the youth is visited, at a minimum, every seventy-two (72) hours in the youth’s living arrangement.
  • An unstructured Transitional Living Single/Scattered Site Apartment service is defined as a support being available to the youth upon request of the youth and the youth is visited a minimum of one (1) time per week. At least one (1) such visit each month is in the youth’s living arrangement.

If the Family Support Team (FST) decides that placement in a TLS would be in the best interest of the youth, staff should refer the youth through FACES by using the Referral – Transitional Living Group Home/Scattered Site Services screen. In addition, the child’s Children’s Service Worker will submit the Residential Treatment Referral, CS-9, to their supervisor as part of the referral packet.  The CS-9 must have been completed within the last thirty days. A life skills assessment tool of the Children’s Service Worker’s choice should be completed to assist with youth engagement, assessment, and goal development.  The Adolescent FST Guide (CD94) and Individualized Action Plan Goals (CD94) must have been completed within the last six months. 

It is the responsibility of the child’s Children’s Service Worker to update the youth’s case in FACES showing a placement type of TLS, with the vendor number of the TLS facility and a maintenance code of no maintenance.

NOTE: This is not an ILA placement; therefore, maintenance payments are never paid directly to the youth.  Payment is always made directly to the provider for the youth.  The case manager should be sure that the Alternative Care Client Information Screen reflects no maintenance payment.  If a youth has a child, the child’s Children’s Service Worker would then pay monthly CYAC payments to the youth through a FACES Payment Request (PR).

Once a youth is residing in a Transitional Living Scattered Site Placement, Chafee Program Services will be provided by the TLS provider.

Once placed, the TL Provider is responsible for completing a day-to-day service plan that addresses all items listed in the Adolescent FST Guide (CD94) and Individualized Action Plan Goals (CD94) within 30 days of the youth’s initial placement and quarterly thereafter. The TL provider’s service plan should address:

  • Academic Achievement;
  • Job Readiness;
  • Community Services and Support;
  • Youth Leadership;
  • Independent Living Skills Training

The provider will demonstrate, document and report competencies obtained by youth for inclusion on the Adolescent FST Guide (CD94) and Individualized Action Plan Goals (CD94). In order to meet the individual day-to-day service plan, the provider is responsible for contacting, interviewing and screening youth, lesson planning, liaison activities, skills assessment, record keeping, pre and post testing evaluation, material and resource organization, organization of field trips, incentives for youth, and purchasing supplies for independent living skills training.  

Once a youth is residing in a Transitional Living Scattered Site Placement, Chafee Services will be provided by the TLS provider. If at any time the child’s Children’s Service Worker thinks that the contractor for TLS is not meeting the requirements outlined in the Transitional Living contract and the issue cannot be resolved with the contractor, the child’s Children’s Service Worker should contact the Older Youth Transition Specialist with the concerns to be addressed.