The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) provides Chafee Foster Care Independence Program services through its Transitional Living Services programs. These programs provide a systemic integrated approach in transition planning and the provision of transitional services and benefits that affect both older youth in foster care and those who have aged out.
Transitional services are multipurpose and available to youth ages 14 up to 23. Transitional living services include, Circles of Support, Preparation for Adult Living (PAL), Education and Training Vouchers (ETV), College tuition and fee waivers, Extended Foster Care and other related services and support of young people 16 to 21 or up to 22 years of age who are currently or formerly in foster care, or transitioning out of care.
Transitional Living Services includes:
- Experiential Life Skills Training for Youth Ages 14 and Older
- Children's Bill of Rights
- Foster Youth Transition Centers
- Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) programs
- Youth leadership and development activities including regional and statewide teen conferences and regional and statewide youth leadership councils
- Texas Youth Hotline
- Texas Youth Connection website
- Post Secondary Education Resources and Information:
- The Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program
- State College Tuition and Fee waiver
- Temporary Housing Assistance Between Academic Terms
- College Partnerships
- Bacterial Meningitis Vaccine for Students Entering Post-Secondary Education
- Texas Workforce Centers
- Circles of Support (COS) / Transition Plan Meetings;
- Personal documents at ages 16 and 18, Youth Transition Portfolios, Medical Power of Attorney, and Requesting Case Records
- Medical Coverage
- Transitional Medicaid/STAR Health
- Former Foster Care in Higher Education (FFCHE) Program
- Extended Foster Care for young adults up to the age of 22 to complete high school or up to age 21 to complete college or vocational/technical training, work at least 80 hours a month, attend a program to remove barriers to employment, or if disabled and not able to complete education or employment related goals
- Trial Independence Period for young adults after they have aged out care at age 18
- Return to Extended Foster Care to complete educational and employment goals
- Supervised Independent Living Program for young adults to live independently while in Extended Foster Care (December 2012);
Four principles guiding the DFPS Transitional Living Services Programs include:
- Engage young people in all aspects of the work.
- Engage community and build and strengthen community partnerships.
- Collaborate to improve systems, programs and services.
- Collect and evaluate data, document what works and communicate the results.
For more information, contact:
PO Box 149030, MC W-157
Austin, Texas 78714-9030
Transitional Living Programs
Minimum standards for GROs and RTCs (sections 748.61 (3)(B) and 748.65)
A transitional living program is different from transitional living services in that it involves an environment set aside for transitional living and programmatic services that are generally designed for a group of older youth, rather than individually designed services for youth. A transitional living program is not an independent living program.
Transitional living programs are residential services specifically designed to serve youth 14 years old or older for whom transitional living services or treatment goals include basic life skills training towards independent living. A transitional living program allows opportunities for youth to start early to build a strong foundation of life skills and community connections.
A transitional living program must have a comprehensive life skills training program for youth that develops competency in the following areas:
- Health and general safety.
- Money management, budget planning, and knowledge of available financial resources.
- Use of local transportation resources.
- Accessing local community resources.
- Child health and safety, child development, and parenting skills, if the youth is a parent of a child living with them.
Other areas of life skills training should include:
- Encouraging the youth to participate in community life and to form interpersonal relationships/friendships outside of the transitional living programs, such as community team sports, extracurricular activities and after-school employment.
- Consumer education such as meal planning, meal preparation, grocery shopping, apartment searches, and setting up utilities.
- Career planning and enrolling in higher education or a vocational/technical training program.
- Assisting in accessing medical and dental care, therapy, mental health services, legal resources, and emergency assistance.
- Problem-solving, stress management, and establishing short and long term goals towards establishing independence.
Experiential Life Skills-Youth ages 14 and Older
Foster parents, kinship caregivers and other child care or residential providers are required to include training in independent living skills through practical activities such as meal preparation, use of public transportation, money management, and basic household tasks for youth age 14 and older. Providers are able to access resource guides and other training information at the DFPS Residential Contracts website.
As a child or youth in foster care you should know your rights. View your child or youth rights.
Texas Foster Youth Transition Centers
Transition Centers provide a central clearinghouse of one-stop services to serve the diverse needs of older foster youth, homeless youth, or other at-risk youth ages 15 ½ to 25. Transition centers are independently funded and operated and supported by partnerships between DFPS and their providers, and the Texas Workforce Commission. Transition Centers are designed to serve as locations for services such as Preparation of Adult Living (PAL), job readiness/job search assistance, career exploration, higher education enrollment assistance, housing assistance and mentoring. Additionally other community partners provide services such as substance abuse / mental health counseling, mentoring services, and leadership training.
During the 81st Legislative Session (2009), House Bill 1912 required DFPS to develop a more comprehensive transitional living services plan to improve the Transitional Living Services program. The required elements of this plan included efforts to further individualize independent living skills assessments and transition planning; online life skills training options; improving services to youth with disabilities; identifying caring adults to form lasting relationships with youth/young adults; and experiential learning.
In order to consistently improve services, participants (including DFPS staff, alumni of foster care, and external partners) were instrumental in establishing a consistent baseline of services to ensure that youth aging out of the foster care system can expect the same quality of services regardless of which region they are in.