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Independence Planning and Preparation (IPP)

Independence Planning and Preparation involves coordinating multiple programming efforts and effective communication of program objectives to workers and caregivers. Programming efforts address four specific areas:

  • Academic Support
  • Employment Training
  • Self-Advocacy Training
  • Financial Literacy Training

Academic Support: After School Study Halls

Increased regular academic support allows agency staff and Resource parents to provide youth-in-care with high expectations and high support for academic success. Staff collaborate to provide regular after school study halls in local high schools. Youth can utilize the study halls on a voluntary basis, or through an informal contract-type basis with his/her worker and/or caregiver. Youth and workers can utilize the space for multiple reasons:

  • Space to complete homework outside of the home;
  • Space to catch-up, or keep up, in a specific course; and/or
  • Space to support ambitious academic goal-setting.

Employment Training: Summer Employment Training for Teens (SETT)

The SETT program is a subsidized employment program for youth in care, aged 15 and older. Youth obtain and complete an 80-hour part-time summer job. The program is designed to provide either, early exposure and training to the norms of the work world, or extended, in-depth work experience in a field directly connected to a youth’s long-term career-related goals. For youth in need of early workforce training, youth participate in workshops designed to prepare youth to approach community employers to interview, obtain, and complete a part-time summer job. Youth work with a job coach who supports a youth in all aspects of obtaining and completing a summer job. For youth who have demonstrated (1) an understanding of the basic norms of the work world, (2) proficiency with Self-Advocacy Skills, and (3) a specific long-term career interest, SETT is an opportunity to gain experience, skills, and connections in a field connected to his/her future plans. Job coaches support youth in identifying and requesting a placement from specific community employers. Job coaches also communicate with a youth’s worker, caregiver, and/or guidance counselor to help connect the work experience with a youth’s school experiences.

Self-Advocacy Training: Self-Advocacy Seminar

Self-Advocacy Seminars are for youth 16 years old and older. The Self-Advocacy Seminar is a 14-week voluntary course where youth read and discuss Case Studies about young people navigating the various challenges of living independently and pursuing their short and long-term goals. The self-advocacy skills taught are:

  • How to plan and reach your goals;
  • How systems and organizations work;
  • How your strengths are important;
  • How to make transitions;
  • How to find mentors and allies;
  • How to depersonalize issues;
  • How to recognize the needs of others;
  • How to use rules, laws, and rights; and
  • How to make a self-advocacy presentation.

Youth apply the skills taught by conducting an information interview with an adult connected to an area relating to their long-term education and/or work goals.

Financial Literacy Training: OCBE Savings Program

OCBE Savings Program meets at least four times a year to provide a space for youth enrolled in the OCBE Savings Program, their caregivers, and their workers to become familiar with the purposes and objectives of the program. At OCBE Savings Program meetings, participants discuss and learn basic financial literacy skills and develop individualized plans for a particular youth’s OCBE Savings Fund. Program staff help youth document their progress toward meeting OCBE Savings Program objectives, so that a youth’s worker can arrange for the allocation of the OCBE Savings Fund in accordance with OCBE Program objectives determined by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services. Sequencing and Participation in IPP Programs: Academic support and financial literacy training are offered continuously to adolescents in care. Youth-in-care are eligible to attend a study hall at any point throughout their high school career, and participation in the OCBE Savings Program is expected for all youth who have been in care for at least one year and who are 15 years or older. However, participation in SETT and the Self-Advocacy Seminar is intended to be sequential, staring with SETT at around age 15, followed by the Self-Advocacy Seminar for youth 16 or older. Successful completion of the SETT and the Self-Advocacy Seminar, or a demonstration of equivalent skills over time by a youth, can be followed with the “advanced” version of SETT, which is intended to both motivate youth to participate and complete earlier programs and enhance services provided by the agency beyond merely addressing needs into enhancing strengths and opportunities.