The Independent Living Program (ILP), in collaboration with Merced Community College, provides services to youth that are beginning the transition from foster care to independent living. Since these youth often have little or no support outside of the foster care system, they frequently have difficulty transitioning from long-term foster care.
Services: ILP provides mentoring and training to foster care youth, ages 16 – 21. Foster care youth are provided with the following:
- Assistance with retrieving vital documents – birth certificate or social security card
- Occupational and college prep classes
- Support groups
- Life Skills Education on topics such as: resume writing, interviewing for a job, buying a car, renting an apartment, cooking, cleaning, sewing, how to get insurance, opening a bank account, simple home repair, applying for financial aid, accessing government assistance programs, and many other life skills necessary for daily living.
With Transitional Conferencing, a former foster youth speaks one-on-one with current foster care youth, explaining the challenges ahead and discussing how to overcome them.
Main Street Youth Center: In order to better serve current and former foster youth of Merced County, the Human Services Agency opened up the Main Street Youth Center. The center’s primary focus is helping foster youth attain and maintain self-sufficiency. The center offers life skills classes, counseling, and other supportive services. Foster youth can drop in from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information about the Main Street Youth Center and its offerings, call (209)385-7590.