independent living program (ILP) We launched our ILP program in partnership with Santa Barbara County’s Department of Social Services (DSS) in July, 2011, and then was awarded the ILP program for SLO County in July, 2015. The purpose of the Independent Living Program is to empower current and former foster youth through education, life skills training, advocacy, workforce development and community collaboration. Program participants work with our Rehabilitation Specialists to learn the independent living skills necessary to become self-sufficient adults. Program outcomes are evidenced by: • Successfully completing a Transition to Independent Living Plan (TILP) • Learning the skills necessary to become self-sufficient • Completing high school and/or successfully enrolling in college or vocational training with a goal to secure meaningful long-term employment rory Rory really wanted to make it on her own. After she graduated from high school, she left foster care and started community college. But even though she was highly motivated, making all of her financial ends meet while going to school was really difficult. When facing eviction, Rory knew that in order to keep her apartment, she’d need to drop out of college to increase her work hours. Feeling like her dreams were being derailed, Rory reached out for help through ILP. As an independent youth, Rory detailed all of her goals at her very first team meeting—she wanted to live on her own and she wanted to keep her job at a music store, and eventually, she wanted to own her own DJ business. In full support of her, Rory’s ILP worker offered her guidance and direction, helping her make “dream to-do” lists. Rory listed out her goals and the steps she needed to complete to reach them. She wanted to run a business, so she needed to re-enroll in college (with financial help from FCNI) to take business classes. Rory also listed that she wanted to learn how to set and stick to a budget, and to make inexpensive meals on her own and that she wanted to improve her people skills. Her worker walked her through the list of upcoming ILP workshops, noting which ones would help her meet these different goals. Her ILP worker also gave Rory a notebook and encouraged her to make “dream to-do” lists as she met certain goals and wanted to set new ones. ILP was a guiding light for Rory. As she worked towards her goals, they made sure she learned the skills she needed to do so. When Rory decided she was ready for a pet, her worker helped her learn about adopting a cat and how best to take care of one. When Rory finally adopted a little black kitty of her own, she was fully confident in her ability to be a good cat owner. ILP also encouraged Rory’s dream to become a DJ by asking her to DJ a special ILP event for her peers. Creating playlists and seeing her friends joyously react to her song choices was an experience Rory knows she’ll always treasurer. With her eyes firmly on her future, Rory continues to add more and more goals to her journal, filling up the pages with dreams met and dreams yet to come. 2017-2018 Outcomes Youth Served 769 Successful Program Days 99% 25