Independent Living Arrangements
UCAN's Independent Living Arrangements program (ILA) is designed to be a youth's final placement in the child welfare continuum. As such, the program aims to provide clients 19½ or older with the skills, support and resources necessary for emancipation from DCFS care. Our focus is on teaching our clients concrete skills such as money management, household management, health, legal rights, housing, educational/vocational skills, self advocacy, personal responsibility, and social skills. We also work to help clients enhance and develop both new and existing social support systems, and to promote educational and vocational training in order to maximize a client's potential to be financially independent at or before emancipation.
UCAN serves youth in multiple communities. We begin to teach our clients upon intake by assisting them in identifying a community to live in which considers school placement, place of employment, support system, safety, and accessibility to daycare/community resources. All clients in UCAN's ILA program must have had a stable placement for one year prior to referral, have completed high school or have a GED, be pursuing higher education or have obtained employment, and demonstrate the ability to be self-sufficient and live independently in a community-based setting without 24 hour supervision.
UCAN's ILA clients have minimal supervision, meeting with their case workers weekly. Case workers and Emancipation Specialists assist clients with budgeting, organization, and any other life struggles the youth may be experiencing. They also focus on making sure youth are successfully completing school, finding employment resources, and are staying connected to their communities and families.
Roughly half of ILA clients have their own children or are pregnant. For these clients, UCAN offers specialized support: the Child and Family Support (CFS) team serves our clients and their children through a series of comprehensive assessments and interactive parenting approaches. The specialists spend individual time with clients and their children to ensure child development is progressing as it should. The CFS staff also aims to help prevent our clients' children from also becoming wards of the state by providing a supportive environment in which our young parents can gain the skills, maturity and confidence to become effective, nurturing parents.
ILA clients are able to work with Housing Coordinators who offer assistance and guidance when planning for future housing; this also reduces the risk of future homelessness. In addition, many opportunities are offered for youth to participate in UCAN networking and development groups. Post emancipation, UCAN's Alumni Service Program is offered for our youth who are in need of additional support.
Para comunicarse con alguien en Español, favor de llamar a Margarita Cordon al numero 708-201-3003 o firstname.lastname@example.org.