Options for Independent Living Programs in Kansas
Pathway Family Services, Inc. does more than provide foster care and placements in our community. We also have a program called TRAIL that stands for Teens Reaching Adult Living and services seventeen-year-olds. As professionals in caregiving, we have found that seventeen-year-olds are in an awkward legal and social position when they face homelessness. They are almost old enough to be considered adults, but many lack the skills to thrive as they enter adulthood and are still vulnerable minors.
Sometimes, youth have spent their whole life in foster care and begin what’s called aging out of the process. This means that they had a dangerous family of origins, or were given up by their family of origin. By this point in their life, many feel more comfortable in a community around other foster kids and this particular program serves 17-22 year-olds. Sometimes, an older foster child will thrive more in a group setting than in a foster family.
Our program has a multifaceted approach to helping these young adults while keeping specialists on hand 24/7 to assist with behavioral health.
Our approach to caring for these kids includes:
- Helping them meet their educational goals, such as attaining a high school diploma, GED, and further educational or vocational training for older members.
- TRAIL members must work based on how many hours their specialists recommend and in order to teach them how to eventually support themselves.
- They receive subsidies, but also must learn how to budget and save to prepare them for the future.
- Our staff provides crisis management, job skills training, substance and mental health services, and an individualized plan.
Our goals are simple and involve helping these young adults reach their full potential. We attempt to address the gap between what kinds of behaviors these young people may have inadvertently learned, correct negative coping skills, and show them what life skills they need to be successful in the adult world. While they may have not learned everything from their guardians, there’s no reason that someone else can’t try to help and prepare the kids for life.
In summary, our goal is to help them become autonomous, upright, and members of the community in good standing as they enter adulthood.