On or shortly after their 18th birthday, young people in the Rhode Island foster care system lose their foster care benefits. It’s called “aging out,” and it affects over one hundred young adults each year.
These young adults need the opportunity to transition gradually to adulthood. They need help supporting themselves as they try to balance school, work, and living on their own. With trusted support and guidance, they can successfully achieve independence and avoid potential negative outcomes, like unemployment or homelessness.
WE PROVIDE SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE.
The Youth Establishing Self-Sufficiency (YESS) Aftercare Services is a program of the Consolidated Youth Services contract funded by the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). YESS provides individualized, youth-driven services and supports to young adults, ages 18-21, who have been closed to the state’s Family Court and DCYF. By assisting former foster youth in crafting their plan for self-sufficiency, and identifying and utilizing relevant community-based resources, YESS prepares participants to live independently by their 21st birthday.
Are you a young adult who will soon age out of foster care in Rhode Island? If so, we encourage you to contact us to find out how we can help you find a place to live, work, and/or attend school.
YESS PARTICIPANTS RECEIVE THE FOLLOWING:
- One-on-one advice and support from a self-sufficiency specialist
- Assistance locating safe and affordable housing, identifying employment, and/or enrolling in an educational program
- Guidance creating a tailored budget and self-sufficiency plan
- Limited funds that help pay for housing and other living expenses (participants become increasingly responsible for their own housing expenses over time)
- YESS After Program Application
For more information, please contact Victoria Ferrara, Director of Programs, at 401.438.3900 ext. 105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
YESS AFTERCARE PROGRAM FAQ
You can participate in YESS if you’re between the ages of 18-21 and have been closed to the Rhode Island Family Court and Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), on or after your 18th birthday. You should sign into YESS within six months of leaving DCYF care. Additionally, DCYF must have determined there are no other viable permanency options for you.
You’ll get one-on-one advice and support from a YESS self-sufficiency specialist who will help you locate safe and affordable housing, identify employment, and/or enroll in an educational program. You’ll also benefit from assistance in creating a tailored budget and self-sufficiency plan that will put you on the path to independence. What’s more, you’ll receive up to $600/month for housing expenses for a limited time (as you become more independent, you’ll be increasingly responsible for your own housing expenses) as well as continued health coverage and case management up to eight hours per month.
YESS participants are required to do the following:
- Secure housing that is safe and affordable, with roommates
- Attend school and/or maintain employment based on the personalized self-sufficiency contract established during the application process
- Meet regularly with YESS self-sufficiency staff
- Establish a personal budget and savings plan
- Ensure rent and living expense payments are kept current
While a DCYF social case worker may assist you with the development and processing of your application, you are responsible for directing the process.
The application process should begin six months before your 18th birthday.
Within two weeks of receiving the completed application, we will screen it for admission. We will then contact you and your DCYF social case worker and invite you both to meet with us to discuss program guidelines, expectations, and your specific needs. This meeting will be scheduled optimally within one-to-two weeks of program acceptance.
You’ll then develop your personal self-sufficiency plan, which will summarize your strengths and opportunities for growth and emphasize the living skills that you’ll develop as you prepare for a gradual transition to independence. A member of the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) legal team as well as any person you request to be part of your “self-sufficiency team” may be invited to all planning and self-sufficiency contract signing meetings.
You will officially enter the YESS Aftercare Program upon the closing of your case to Family Court and DCYF, on or after your 18th birthday.