Independent Living, BRIDGES and Post-Emancipation

Independent Living Links and Resources 

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In Ohio, county public children services agencies are required to provide independent living services to all youth ages 14 and older who are in foster care, to help prepare them for future self-sufficiency. They also may be available to 18-20-year-olds who aged out of foster care and who request help:

  • Academic support
  • Post-secondary educational support
  • Career preparation
  • Employment programs or vocational training
  • Budget and financial management
  • Housing education and home management
  • Health education and risk prevention
  • Family support and healthy marriage education
  • Mentoring
  • Supervised independent living
  • Room and board financial assistance
More information about Independent Living services is available from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.


Ohio BRIDGES

In February 2018, Ohio became the 28th state to extend foster care. However, different from child welfare, Ohio BRIDGES is a completely voluntary program designed to promote permanency and self-sufficiency. BRIDGES extends funds for housing and case management for eligible young adults who emancipate out of custody between the ages of 18 and 20 years old.

To be eligible for the program, young adults must be either in secondary school or in an equivalent program, enrolled in college or a post-secondary school, employed at least 80 hours a month, enrolled in a program designed to remove barriers, like Job Corps, or have a physical or mental health impairment.

Each BRIDGES’ participant is paired with a BRIDGES Liaison, who helps to guide the young adult on their personal development path.  The young adult and liaison work together, with emphases on the young adult’s personal goals, to develop skills and supports that lead to the overall program goal of permanency and self-sufficiency.

Ohio BRIDGES is administered and managed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services with services provided by state grant recipient agency— the Child and Family Health Collaborative of Ohio.

To locate more information on the Ohio BRIDGES program, visit the website or call 1-866-503-1895.

County Post-Emancipation Services

If you do not qualify for or do not want to enroll in BRIDGES, you may be able to seek supportive services from your county public children services agency. Each public children services agency in Ohio is required to provide independent living services to 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds who aged out of foster care and who request help. The following services may be available until your 21st birthday: 

 

  • Academic support
  • Post-secondary educational support
  • Career preparation
  • Employment programs or vocational training
  • Budget and financial management
  • Housing education and home management
  • Health education and risk prevention
  • Mentoring including matched with a screened and trained adult
  • Supervised independent living
  • Room and board financial assistance
  • Education financial assistance

These services are meant to complement your own efforts to be self-sufficient. Ideally, they will help you become eligible for BRIDGES so you can get additional supports toward independence.

Ohio ETV

The Ohio Education Training Voucher program provides up to $5,000 a year in federal funding for qualified school-related expenses for young people who aged out of foster care or who were adopted after age 16. To qualify, recipients must enroll in a full-time post-secondary education or training program by age 21, continue to be enrolled, and make satisfactory progress. Funding may be used for tuition, room and board, student loan repayment, books and supplies, transportation, and/or other related expenses. 

​Additional Links


Casey Family Programs

Daniel Memorial Programs and Services

Foster Care Alumni

Foster Club -- The National Network for Young People in Foster Care

Ohio Education and Training Voucher Program

Ohio Independent Living Association

Ohio Youth Advisory Board

These are links to third-party sites. Lucas County Children Services is not responsible for the content of these sites.