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Appendix 10212: Preparation for Adult Living Life Skills Training Curriculum Outline

CPS May 2016

The PAL Life Skills training curriculum includes, but is not limited to, the following core elements and topics:

Health and Safety

Housing and Transportation

Job Readiness

Financial Management

Life Decisions and Responsibilities

Personal and Social Relationships

Health and Safety


To provide information that will help youth make healthy choices concerning health care, hygiene, nutrition, birth control, sexual responsibility, and substance abuse. Youth will also develop an understanding of how stress and anger affects their lives, the warning signs of violence, and how to access resources within their community when they are in need of help.

Desired Outcomes

a.   Understand their health care rights at age 16.

b.   Understand importance of personal hygiene.

c.   Understand importance of healthy eating.

d.   Learn how to find a doctor, make an appointment, and health care options when youth leave care.

e.   Develop an understanding of their sexual responsibility and risky behaviors.

f.    Understand all birth control options, how they are used, pros and cons of use and where to get them.

g.   Develop a better understanding of reproduction and pregnancy risks.

h.   Understand the different types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and know the signs and dangers of STDs.

i.    Understand how to protect themselves against STDs.

j.    Understand the negative impact substance abuse has on self-sufficiency.

k.   Knowledge of the signs of addiction.

l.    Know how stress affects their lives and how to develop positive coping skills.

m.  Understand human trafficking, the traps of the trafficker, and how to stay safe.

n.   Know what services and support are available to victims of human trafficking (including reporting alleged abuse to local law enforcement).

Minimum hours required in class: 5

Reinforcement Homework Activities (select at least 2):

1.   Plan, shop for, and prepare a nutritious meal.

2.   Create a balanced menu and a shopping list for three days.

3.   Make a doctor or dentist appointment for yourself.

4.   Develop a list of your current doctors, including their addresses and phone numbers. Also list your medications, their purposes and the name and contact information for your preferred pharmacy.

5.   Research local agencies that can help with substance abuse. Call to find out eligibility requirements.

6.   Identify three strategies to reduce or eliminate stress. Practice these for a week and evaluate the effectiveness of each strategy.

Minimum Standards Curriculum Outline

1.   Personal Health Care

1.1 Review medical rights of foster youth at age 16.

1.2 Identify elements of good personal hygiene.

1.2.1 Discuss importance of bathing, brushing teeth, washing and combing hair, using deodorant, and other personal hygiene habits.

1.2.2    Discuss importance of wearing clean clothes.

1.3 Identify elements of good nutrition.

1.4 Identify how to take care of personal health needs, including preventive care, making appointments, Medicaid, and health insurance. Also discuss the right to confidentiality.

2.   Sexual Responsibility

2.1 Describe various types of STDs, as well as their transmission and prevention.

2.2 Tell where, how, and when to be tested for STDs.

2.3 List community resources pertaining to STDs.

2.4 List and compare different forms of birth control.

2.5 Describe basic reproductive anatomy (male and female).

2.6 Describe the process of human reproduction.

2.7 Discuss the options for being sexually responsible.

2.8 Identify your own personal values around sexual responsibility.

3.   Substance Abuse

3.1 List reasons why people may use or abuse drugs.

3.2 Describe the short and long term effects of drug use and abuse on relationships, self-sufficiency, and jobs.

3.3 List the warning signs of addiction.

3.4 Discuss where people can get help for substance abuse.

4.   Coping and Stress Management

4.1 Label signs of stress due to physical, emotional, environmental, and situational events.

4.2 Compare positive and negative coping mechanisms.

4.3 Tell the difference between and list positive and negative support systems.

4.4 Describe when, who, and how to ask for help.

Housing and Transportation


To provide the tools and strategies for youth to plan for, find, and maintain safe, affordable housing and transportation.

Desired Outcomes

a.   An understanding of the pros and cons of various housing options.

b.   An understanding of the pros and cons of various transportation options.

c.   An understanding of the legal responsibilities and ramifications of contracting for rental or purchase of property.

Minimum hours required in class: 5

Reinforcement Homework Activities (select at least 2):

1.   Practice reading apartment classified ads.

2.   Talk to someone who lives in an apartment and find out what expenses they have in addition to rent.

3.   Select an apartment from an advertisement and prepare a monthly budget that includes all monthly expenditures.

4.   Select a destination and use the internet or call to find out the bus route to get there, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.

5.   Plan a bus trip and take it.

6.   Select a car from the classified ads and make a budget to buy and maintain that car for one year (don’t forget gas, insurance, maintenance, and monthly payments).

Minimum Standards Curriculum Outline:

1.   Finding Housing

1.1 List the characteristics of safe housing.

1.2 Describe types of housing options that could be available after care and the qualifications for each (campus housing, military, job corps, rental properties and homeownership).

1.3 Compare various size and types of apartments (studio, efficiency, shared living).

1.4 Define boarding houses and rooms for rent.

1.5 Describe the transitional living programs available and their benefits.

1.6 Explain housing vouchers and how to apply for and use them (Section 8).

1.7 Describe the options for the homeless, such as shelters available in the area.

1.8 Consider the costs of housing, such as deposits, utilities, and insurance.

1.9 Compare the costs of renting vs. owning, as well as benefits of each.

1.10 Define commonly used abbreviations in apartment advertising.

1.11 Practice reading apartment classified advertisements.

1.12 Compare the effect of various apartment selections on personal budgets.

1.13 Describe the role of apartment locator services.

2.   Rentals, Leases, and Contracts

2.1 Review the questions asked on an apartment application and discuss issues such background checks, rental history, and credit.

2.2 Complete a sample apartment application.

2.3 Review a tenant lease and discuss tenant rights and responsibilities. Describe the effects of breaking that lease, paying rent late, and damage to the unit.

2.4 Describe the legal ramifications of a signed lease.

2.5 Review an apartment inspection form (move in/move out).

2.6 Describe the negative effects of breaking a lease.

2.7 Explain the reasons you may be evicted.

3.   Roommates and Shared Living

3.1 Describe the pros and cons of having a roommate.

3.2 Review a roommate agreement and describe the benefits of having a roommate agreement.

3.3 Consider options for sharing household duties and bill paying with a roommate.

3.4 List regular housekeeping duties and consider whom you can contact for needed repairs in your housing.

3.5 List precautions you should take so that you and your belongings stay safe.

4. Getting Around

4.1 List the types, costs, and benefits of public transportation available in your area.

4.2 Use a bus schedule to map out a route; determine the cost of doing so.

4.3 Describe steps to obtaining a driver’s license and the responsibilities included with one.

4.4 Describe legal requirements for insurance coverage for drivers and the repercussions of not carrying insurance.

4.5 List steps to buying a car.

4.6 List the ways to research the cost, reliability, dealer reputation, safety information, and warranty on a vehicle.

4.7 Compare the options of paying cash or financing a vehicle.

4.8 List basic maintenance items on a vehicle.

4.9 Compare kinds of insurance for a vehicle and the costs (higher for young adults).

Job Readiness


To assist youth in attaining their full career potential by helping them consider, assess, and plan their education and employment goals and by supporting their ability to execute their plan.

Desired Outcomes

a.   A decision to complete high school or get a GED.

b.   Understanding of the role education plays in future economic success.

c.   Understanding of options for higher education and vocational training.

d.   Understanding of self-marketing (current transferable skills, relevance of a professional resume, and the importance of an interview).

e.   Knowledge of how to find and keep a job (including job search and job shadowing/internships).

f.    Recognition and development of a career plan (how to set goals, who to include, how to utilize all Workforce Investment Act (WIA) services, and how to follow through).

Minimum hours required in class: 5

Reinforcement Homework Activities (select at least 2):

1.   Explore local pay scales for jobs or careers of interest.

2.   Find out what your school offers in terms of assistance or resources for help for classes, schedules, and planning for graduation.

3.   Create a typical weekly schedule for a student who also works (include homework, writing papers, work schedule, extra-curricular activities, and leisure activities).

4.   Research two careers of interest to you and describe a typical work day, the skills required and what you will learn on the job; also the expected starting pay and opportunities for advancement to better paying positions.

5.   Create a resume and a cover letter.

6.   Obtain an application and complete it for a real job.

7.   Practice a mock job interview.

8.   Take a tour of a college campus.

Minimum Standards Curriculum Outline:

1.   Link Between Education and Employment

1.1 Define a livable wage job.

1.2 Compare the effect that the level of formal education or trade education has on starting salary scale and lifetime earning ability.

2.   Education – Finishing High School

2.1 Describe the positive effects and negative repercussions of completing or of not completing high school education with a GED or diploma.

2.2 Describe steps to accomplishing and how to overcome barriers to achieving an individual’s educational goal of graduation or GED completion.

2.3 Describe when, where, and who to go to for help in reaching educational goals (tutors, teachers, and study skills classes.)

2.4 Discuss issues that keep students from meeting all of their time commitments and tools to help manage time.

3.   Career Planning

3.1 Assess strengths using career interest inventory, personality profiler, and aptitude indicator. Determine three career options that are reasonable and obtainable based on assessments.

3.2 Define transferable job skills and their value in getting a job. (Skills you get from different roles you play in life- such as athlete, volunteer, artist, friend, family member, co-worker, and how to bring this up in a resume or interview).

3.3 Describe the value a job, volunteer work, or internships has on gaining experience or building transferable job skills.

3.4 Define and compare college, vocational school, or trade school education.

3.5 Describe alternative job skill training (WIA or on-the-job).

3.6 Learn where to find workforce: resources, programs, and centers in your area.

4.   Job Readiness

4.1 Define elements of a resume and cover letter.

4.2 Describe and research ways to search for a job (friends or relatives, newspaper ads, applying directly to an employer, temporary agencies, internet research, government agencies, school placement center).

4.3 Review basic instructions on how to complete job applications; complete and critique practice application.

4.4 Participate in mock interview in class and give and receive feedback to improve interview skills.

4.5 Describe how to follow up after interviews and the importance of writing thank you notes.

4.6 Describe benefits of pre-employment options of job shadowing, internships, and mentors.

4.7 Describe ways to keep a job, ways to lose a job, and how to best deal with issues that may arise in the workplace.

4.8 Describe the best way to leave a job or to change jobs in many circumstances.

4.9 Describe dress code as it pertains to various jobs.

5.   Higher Education

5.1 Research higher education options, including College for All Texans (online).

5.2 Practice completing the Texas Common Application (online or printed).

5.3 Define the various higher education entrance tests (SAT, ACT, TASP, AP).

5.4 Define orientation at a place of higher education.

5.5 Describe student housing available for higher education.

5.6 Describe the different forms of financial aid available: (tuition waiver, ETV, FAFSA, other) and qualifications for each.

Financial Management


To provide the tools and information that will help youth develop skills that will lead to financial responsibility and independence.

Desired Outcomes

a.   An understanding of banking, to include use of online banking.

b.   An understanding of the effects of good and bad credit.

c.   An understanding of financial responsibility (bills).

d.   Awareness of the difference between wants and needs.

e.   Experience in developing and maintaining a budget.

f.    Experience reading a pay stub.

g.   An understanding of how and when to file an income tax return.

h.   Learn how to balance a checkbook.

i.    An understanding of the pros and cons of using credit cards, ATM, and debit cards.

j.    A list of ways to protect against identity theft.

Minimum hours required in class: 5

Reinforcement Homework Activities (select at least 2):

1.   Open a checking or saving account.

2.   Make a budget for a week and track expenses.

3.   List expenses when moving out on own and create plan for covering expenses.

4.   Research identity or credit theft.

5.   Research check cashing stores and fees.

6.   Obtain credit report and review for accuracy.

7.   Complete a financial management training offered by a bank.

Minimum Standards Curriculum Outline

1.   Banking

1.1 List steps in opening a checking or savings account, to include online banking.

1.2 Compare debit cards, check cards, and credit cards and discuss responsible use.

1.3 Identify parts of a check.

1.4 Practice writing a check.

1.5 Describe the consequences of bouncing a check.

1.6 Describe how to make a deposit.

1.7 Identify steps to balance a checkbook.

1.8 Identify how and where to cash a check.

1.9 Identify financial management trainings offered by banks.

2.   Pay Stub

2.1 Discuss differences between hourly and salaried employees.

2.2 Identify parts of a pay stub (hours worked, wages, gross and net pay, taxes, insurance deductions, benefits).

2.3 Describe the safest plan for signing and depositing your check.

2.4 Discuss how and when to file income tax returns.

3.   Budgeting

3.1 Learn how to prioritize expenditures by comparing wants and needs.

3.2 Describe the importance of having and maintaining a budget.

3.3 Learn how to create a budget.

3.4 Discuss benefits and ways to save money.

3.5 Discuss earning enough to cover costs of living (full time versus part time, more than one job, higher wages).

4.   Credit

4.1 Describe uses for credit cards.

4.2 Describe interest rates and discuss advantages of low interest versus high interest.

4.3 Identify the actions that lead to bad credit (late payments, non-payments, breaking a lease, and health debt.) and the effects of bad credit on credit scores.

4.4 Identify the actions that lead to good credit and the benefits of good credit.

4.5 Discuss ways credit companies target young adults.

4.6 Discuss scams and identity theft, how to avoid them and/or report them and potential consequences.

4.7 Define credit scores/ratings and discuss importance of scores.

4.8 List ways to get your credit report.

4.9 Review a credit report to locate important information.

4.10     Describe the process for disputing items on a credit report.

Life Decisions and Responsibilities


To provide a forum for youth to consider the many responsibilities and decisions they will be making as they move toward independent living.

Desired Outcomes

a.   An understanding of the legal rights and responsibilities of being an adult.

b.   An understanding of how and why certain documents are important and must be secured.

c.   An awareness of community resources and how to access them.

d.   A preliminary transition planning document.

e.   A list of caring adults and community supporters.

f.    An understanding of the risks and benefits of using social media.

Minimum hours required in class: 5

Reinforcement Homework Activities (select at least 2):

1.   Take a trip to the government offices that issue duplicate birth certificates or ID cards and find out the process for application.

2.   Research online where to go in your county to get a driver’s license and what is required to get a learner’s permit. (Visit the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website for information.)

3.   Tour your regional transition center or call to find out what services are available to you.

4.   Tour your local workforce center or call to find out what services are available to you.

5.   Visit or call or research online social service providers that offer transitional housing or emergency shelter.

6.   Create a weeklong schedule for yourself that includes school, work, home duties, church, or volunteer commitments.

7.   Find out who the candidates are/were for a local, state, or national election and describe their main campaign promises.

Minimum Standards Curriculum Outline

1.   Legal Rights and Responsibilities

(Use Now You Are 18, published by Texas Bar Auxiliary)

1.1 Describe the steps to registering to vote and the importance of doing so.

1.2 List the characteristics of a good citizen.

1.3 Define and tell the importance of jury duty.

1.4 Tell the requirements for and steps to register for the selective service, as well as the rationale for doing so.

1.5 Describe the legal requirements and responsibilities of signing various contracts and other legal documents, such as car loans, and apartment lease.

2.   Legal Documents, Records, and Roots

2.1 List reasons why a birth certificate is important and tell how to get a copy.

2.2 List reasons why a Social Security card is important and tell how to receive a duplicate copy.

2.3 Explain how to qualify and earn a driver’s license, as well as the effects and responsibilities of being a licensed driver.

2.4 Explain what a state ID is, how to get it and compare this to a driver’s license.

See 10130 Personal Documents Provided to Youth at Age 16

3.   Community Resources and Awareness

3.1 List and describe the services your regional transition center offers.

3.2 List and describe the services your workforce center offers and your eligibility for those services.

3.3 List and describe the social service agencies and the resources offered in your community (including human and labor trafficking and LBGTQ organizations and resources) and how to access these services.

3.4 Examine examples of referral forms and release of information forms and discuss why these are needed.

3.5 List things to ask when calling a community resource.

3.6 List and define information and referral services (211), hotlines, and help lines in your area.

3.7 List DFPS benefits, tell requirements to access them, who to contact to access them and the amount of money you may request and how and why these funds may be used.

3.8 Describe the qualification process and steps to applying for public assistance such as TANF and SNAP Employment &Training or public housing.

4.   Life Decisions

4.1 Consider which educational path is a good match for your desired goals.

4.2 Compare jobs and career paths that will help you reach your desired goals.

4.3 Consider the many effects of significant relationships on desired goals (both positive and negative).

4.4 Consider the many effects of becoming a parent on desired goals (both positive and negative).

4.5 List the characteristics of quality childcare and the steps to locating it in your area.

4.6 Consider the risks (sexting, online predators, cyberbullying, sharing personal information) and benefits of using social media, including the potential long term consequences some online activities may have on obtaining employment.

4.7 Consider the potential consequences of criminal activity prior to and after leaving foster care on desired goals (both positive and negative), which may result in potential loss of DFPS services or benefits, fewer placement options, limited employment or housing options, and U.S. military exclusion.

5.   Organizational Skills

5.1 Explore tools for time management and to keep track of multiple responsibilities and obligations.

5.2 List ways to organize and safeguard important documents.

5.3 Describe ways and reasons to keep personal information secure.

6.   Your Transition Plan

6.1 Describe the process of setting goals and making action plans.

6.2 Discuss the DFPS transition planning process.

6.3 Discuss transition planning options (Circle of Support and transition plan meetings)

6.4 Review transition planning document.

6.5 Complete transition planning worksheets during each core element.

6.6 Discuss family connections and the options for and risks involved in reconnecting.

Personal and Social Relationships


To facilitate training that will promote positive peer relationships, develop appropriate communications skills, help youth to develop a sense of culture and respect for others, and build positive self-esteem.

Desired Outcomes

a.   A chance to practice developing and experiencing positive peer relationships.

b.   An awareness of appropriate communication skills.

c.   Respect for culture and ethnicity diversity.

d.   An understanding of self-esteem and personal strengths.

e.   Know the warning signs of violence.

f.    Understand what domestic violence resources are available and how to access them when needing help.

Minimum hours required in class: 5

Reinforcement Homework Activities (select at least 2)

1.   Have a discussion with someone of a different culture or ethnicity and find out what is unique to him or her.

2.   Describe similarities and differences between your culture or ethnicity and another person and how these can affect your relationship.

3.   List five positive self-talk statements and practice them for one week.

4.   Teach a conflict resolution skill to a caretaker, peer, or sibling and discuss situations where it would work well.

5.   Practice using new conflict resolution skills to resolve a conflict.

Minimum Standards Curriculum Outline

1.   Interpersonal Relationships

1.1 List different relationships at home, school, and work and the skills needed to interact effectively in those relationships.

1.2 Discuss and identify personal boundaries and the importance of respect for personal space.

1.3 Identify characteristics of and practice forming positive relationships.

1.4 Describe the characteristics of a healthy partner relationship and the importance of making healthy choices.

2.   Communication

2.1 Explain the importance of communication in relationships.

2.2 Identify how people communicate (verbal vs. non-verbal) and learn to recognize messages that non-verbal communication sends.

2.3 Identify the characteristics of active listening. Practice active listening.

2.4 Compare formal language, informal language, and slang and describe the appropriate situations for each.

2.5 Identify ways to express thoughts, ideas, anger, emotions, and opinions in a healthy manner.

2.6 List and practice conflict resolution strategies.

3.   Culture

3.1 Define and discuss cultural and ethnic diversity.

3.2 Discuss ways and reasons to respect cultural differences.

4.   Self-Esteem

4.1 Define self-esteem.

4.2 Identify traits of healthy self-esteem.

4.3 Identify the effects of positive self-talk vs. negative self-talk.

4.4 Identify ways to build positive self-esteem.

5.   Anger Management

5.1 Explain when anger can be a healthy emotion.

5.2 Define the term de-escalation.

5.3 Tell examples of appropriately and inappropriately expressed anger.

5.4 List the warning signs of violence toward oneself and of violence toward others.

5.5 List resources for getting help with violence.

6.   Paperwork

6.1 Take the ACLSA and participate in discussion on how it can help build an action plan for improving life skills.

6.2 Participate in a discussion about DFPS benefits for eligible and qualifying transitioning youth and how they may be accessed and for what they may be used.

6.3 Participate in the formation of class expectations and rules (group norms).

6.4 Agree on group norms.

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