The Trehab Independent Living Program assists teens who are or have been in foster care, helping them learn the necessary skills for living on their own.
With leadership provided by the University of Pittsburgh Independent Living Project, and funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Office of Children, Youth and Families, each county is required to provide independent living services. Susquehanna, and Wyoming Counties contract with Trehab to provide these services. For more information connect with the Youth Advisory Board–representing the Independent Living Program across Pennsylvania
Youth, 16 years and older who are or have recently been in foster care, receive individualized educational services based on their unique strengths and needs, as identified through a formal assessment process. Most youth receive instruction in some or all of the following eight units:
Identify personal strengths; social skills; decision-making skill development
Finance; Home Management
Attendance, grades, graduation requirements, and goal setting
Substance abuse; family planning and sex education; stress management
Community service activities; community resources
Public and private; driver’s license responsibilities; costs of auto ownership; map reading skills
How to locate and rent an apartment; costs; lease considerations; rights and responsibilities
Career choices and options; how to seek, obtain, and maintain employment
Educational sessions can be one-on-one with the Independent Living Trainer, or in small group settings. Sometimes the program is integrated into the school day and other times it can be implemented outside of school time.
The Independent Living Trainer uses a variety of educational techniques, including experiential activities and interactive exercises. Youth acquire both hard skills (i.e. how to do laundry) and soft skills (i.e. decision making and communication) during the lessons.
Although some youth may quickly complete the unit work, all are eligible for the Independent Living Program services until they reach their twenty-first birthday.
In addition to the educational services, youth participating in the Independent Living Program earn stipends, and are eligible for housing assistance in some situations.