County Prepares Current And Former Foster Youth For Adulthood And Self-Sufficiency

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)–Children and Family Services and the Probation Department are preparing nearly 200 current and former foster youth to exit the County foster care system with the skills and tools necessary to live successfully as independent and self-sufficient adults. Independent City will take place on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA.

This workshop is designed to teach youth money management skills and concepts related to financial independence – the same skills taught to children in traditional families from an early age. During this fun-filled day, foster and probation youth who are ready to emancipate or transition out of the foster care system will visit booths that simulate “real life” tasks and situations in a safe environment. For example, participants will learn how to register to vote; purchase insurance; pay taxes; establish utility services; set a budget for groceries; find a job; obtain housing; manage and budget daily finances; obtain transportation and licenses; manage healthcare; further their education and possibly take care of an electronic life-like baby that will be handed out to individual youth to take care of for half the day.

In order to navigate through Independent City, youth will be given a job description and hourly- wage to help them form a budget. All services must be paid for in Independent City “cash, debit card or check.” Throughout each youth‟s daily journey, he/she may encounter an Independent City “IRS Agent,” panhandler, and shady salesperson. The “town sheriff” and “judge” will be available to keep law and order and a postal worker will deliver good and bad news throughout the day.

Children and Family Services Director DeAnna Avey-Motikeit will be on-hand to encourage youth to succeed in Independent City as they make their journey through this “amazing opportunity for our youth to gain experience in real-life challenges and provide them with insight into the consequences of their choices with a chance for a „do over.‟” Upon completion of Independent City, registered youth will receive a free gift card.

Independent City is a collaborative effort between the County of San Bernardino, Children and Family Services; Child Support Services; Probation Department; San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools; the University of Redlands, California Youth Connection; ILP; Valley Star; EMQ Families First; Aspiranet; REACH OUT; Walden Family Services and many more valuable services.

Children and Family Services provides family-centered programs and services designed to ensure safety, permanence, and well-being for San Bernardino County‟s children, while strengthening and attempting to preserve the family unit. Children and Family Services helps prevent further harm to children from intentional physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, exploitation, or neglect by a person responsible for a child‟s health or welfare.

Children and Family Services is doing its part to help the community achieve the Countywide Vision by ensuring residents have the resources they need to provide the necessities of life to their families. Information on the Countywide Vision can be found at www.sbcounty.gov.

Due to confidentiality laws and the sensitivity of the children involved, no photographs of children’s faces will be permitted. There will be youth who have signed releases and staff available for photographs and interviews.

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