Some adolescents that “age out” of the foster care system do not have a stable home atmosphere that they can return to, and a few have never been exposed to such an environment. Many children in the foster care system have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents for a variety of reasons (mental health, drug abuse, incarceration, etc.). Children in foster care often have emotional, developmental, and behavioral problems as a result of experiences that caused them to be placed in the system originally. So, where do these youths go when they reach adulthood?
Teens Reaching Adult Independent Living, Pathway Family Services’ independent living program. There are times a child becomes too old (17) to remain in foster care, but returning home is also not an option. The TRAIL program offers those aged 17-22 the chance to learn the required skills for independent living while still delivering support and guidance. Youth in the TRAIL program are provided with fully supplied residences and a supportive learning environment. Living Specialists are accessible on a 24/7 basis and licensed therapists are on-site to provide behavioral health services.
All youthful TRAIL participants that do not have a high school diploma or equivalent will be enrolled in the appropriate educational classes. Furthermore, young adults in the TRAIL program will be encouraged to attend vocational or college courses. Those that do not need or wish to further their education will be expected to volunteer in the community.
Youth participating in the TRAIL program will be required to work; hours will be based on educational needs. The young adults in TRAIL must get and keep a job or complete employment enhancement activities. Additionally, participants in the program are taught how to create and sustain a budget.
TRAIL staff guide individuals and groups as needed. TRAIL participants will be taught a variety of skills, which include cooking, shopping, communication, cleaning, interviewing for jobs, creating resumes, and more. Case management services will also be completed by staff to assist participants with any individualized needs.
Pathway Family Services’ main objective for TRAIL residents is their successful transition into adulthood so they may become productive members of their communities.