Living on your own can be tough. Here are some things you might find helpful during your transition to adulthood.
Former Foster Youth if you are a former foster youth you are entitled to a variety of benefits. Its important to understand what is out there for you in case you need it some day.
Transitional Support Services
These are services provided in addition to the Road to Independence Scholarship Program and Aftercare Services. These short-term services (3 month period) are given to former foster youth in order to help you achieve self-sufficiency and develop a personal support system. Services may include housing, counseling, employment, education, mental health and financial services. If you are applying for cash you must apply in writing.
Aftercare Support Services
As a former foster youth, you may be entitled to Aftercare Support services. These services include (but are not limited to mentoring and tutoring, mental health and substance abuse counseling, life skills classes, parenting classes and temporary financial assistance (housing, electric, water, sewer, and food).
An application is required for cash assistance. If you are in need of assistance, you should speak to your caseworker about applying for assistance. The application is below.
Road to Independence Program
This is the premiere program that can possibly provide the most money to you. The maximum scholarship amount is $10,704.00 annually or a maximum of $892.00 paid monthly. Your Independent Living Coordinator should help you apply for the award. You should begin the application process six months before your 18th birthday. Remember that you may still receive Transitional and Aftercare Services. You may apply from 18 to 21, and renew up to age 23.
Other Benefits Available to Former Foster Youth including tuition and fee exemption, retention of medicaid eligibility, medical assistance, and continuing to live in foster care
Apply online for benefits - including food stamps, Temporary Cash Assistance, and see if you qualify for benefits at ACCESS Florida. (English, Spanish, Creole).
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a cash assistance benefit for disabled children and adults. You can call 1-800-772-1213 to begin an application or visit www.ssa.gov to find your local Social Security office. If you received SSI as a minor, you will need to apply at age 18 for what is called an Age 18 Redetermination. It is important to be prepared for the redetermination process. To find a lawyer who can help you, you can call the American Bar Association at 202-662-1000.
Help With Your Utility Bills
- Florida Food Resource Directory - You can enter your zip code or address and find food resources in your area. You can also find WIC programs, homeless shelters and services, domestic violence shelters, and religious organizations.
Food Stamp Information.
The Food Stamp Program is designed to assist low-income families in buying nutritious food. Visit the Department of Children & Families website to determine if you are eligible to receive food stamps.
Food Stamp Prescreening --
By calling 1-800-224-3470 and providing some information on personal income, assets, and expenses, a caller can find out if they MAY be eligible and an approximation of their monthly food stamp benefit
As a teen it is normal to want expensive, name brand clothes, but it may be difficult to afford these clothes when you are supporting yourself. You can visit your local thrift store or consignment shop which often times carry new clothes at more than affordable prices. Goodwill has locations throughout Florida to serve you. Visit their website and enter your zip code to find a store near you or contact them at 1-800-741-0186.
- The Mustard Seed Furniture and Clothing Bank (Central Florida) The mission of the Mustard Seed Furniture and Clothing Bank is to provide household goods, furniture, clothing, toys and books to those who have suffered from natural or personal disaster and who demonstrate the desire to rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient.
- The Community Service Center of Central Florida operates a Clothes Closet for families in the tri-county area who are in need of good used clothing and household goods. Service is by appointment and the clothes are free of charge. Please call for an appointment at 407-851-5920.
Social Security Card
You can only receive your social security card by going to your local social security office.
Florida ID Card
You will need to:
- Show your Social Security card (if you have one).
- Be at least 12 years of age (no age requirement in Citrus, St. Johns, and Monroe counties).
- Offer proof of your correct address (from cancelled mail sent to you).
- Pay the applicable fees (Original card: $3; Renewal: $10; Duplicate: $10; Address change: $10)
Drug and Alcohol Support
- Alcoholics Anonymous Alcoholics Anonymous is designed to help men and women of all ages, young and old recover from alcoholism. Visit the AA website to find meeting located near you
Suicide is preventable. If you, or someone you know, has been feeling suicidal or even feeling depressed, please call and talk to someone who can help you. You can contact the Florida Suicide & Crisis Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1/800-784-2433 or visiting their website.
- RunawayTeens.org's mission is to help educate teenagers about the risks they face in today's world. Drugs, Violence, Prostitution, Abuse, Pornography, and more face teens today, especially those that run away from home or are told to leave. Being on your own is not all it's cracked up to be - this site even has a blog where you can connect with other young adults
- Runaway Lives - Personal stories about the runaway experience and discussion by runaways and their families.
- Focus Adolescent Services - Community-based outreach program in Florida that offers information resources in addition to services for runaways and families.
- Home Free Program: Free transportation home for runaways is provided on Greyhound in conjunction with the National Runaway Switchboard. To reach the National Runaway Switchboard, call toll free 1-800-RUNAWAY. For more information, please visit www.1800runaway.org.
As we all know, Florida has been the target of numerous hurricanes and tropical storms over the past several years. Make sure you are prepared for the next storm.
- Foster Club Foster Club is a national network. Its mission is to provide foster children with a web site that allows them to communicate with each other and provide them with education, motivation, and benefits that the foster care system does not usually provide
- fyi3.com The web site provides foster youth ages 14 to 23 opportunities to become involved, informed and independent in their transitioning journey towards adulthood
Here you can start thinking about what you want to do with the rest of your life. This Web site was built to help you plan for the future. What will you do after high school? Will you work? Go to college? Live in a place of your own? By using this Web site, you can plan for your future right now. You can create your own life plan, keep a private journal, and connect with other kids that are graduating from high-school
- TeenHelp.org is an anonymous support and advice site where anyone can come for help with a problem or question. They help users of all ages and from all walks of life, all around the world. Staff members are volunteers, regular people just like you, and they're here to help and listen. Whether you're seeking advice or you like to help others, TeenHelp.org is a friendly and safe environment for everyone to work together. Currently there are 35,000 members
www.YouthComm.org A monthly magazine for youth in care, written and edited by youth. Each issue covers issues that youth in care deal with all the time like mental health, money woes, jobs, and navigating the foster care system
www.MockingbirdSociety.org The Mockingbird Society is an independent, non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving the safety, quality of life and future of the children and adolescents living in the foster care/group home system nationwide. They publish the newspaper The Mockingbird Times, which is written by youth in care
Child Abuse Hotline
Florida HIV/AIDS Hotline
1-800-FLA-AIDS English Language Hotline
1-800-545-SIDA Spanish Language Hotline
1-800-AIDS-101 Creole Language Hotline
1-888-503-7118 TDD/TTY Hotline
Lifeline of Central Florida
LifeLine is a non profit business established to provide crisis services to individuals and families in the Central Florida Area.
LifeLine has been providing a range of free crisis services to Central Florida Since 1965.
Community Crisis Line (407) 425-2624
Teen Hotline (407) 841-7413
National Domestic Violence/Abuse Hotline
National Hotlines and Help lines
National Runaway Switchboard
National Suicide Hotline
The Parent HelpLine
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
Sexual Offender Information Request
Stop It Now! Helpline
M-F 9 am-5 pm ET