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Pathway Family Services’ independent living program is aptly named TRAIL, Teens Reaching Adult Independent Living. There are times when a youth is 17 years old and they have nowhere to go. Returning home or living in family foster care is not an option. For youth who don’t have the support of a safe family, finding their way in the world can be a difficult challenge, especially for those aging out of foster care.  The TRAIL program provides youth aged 17-22 the opportunity to learn essential life skills and practice living independently while still having the support and guidance of caring staff.

Our TRAIL youth live in fully furnished and equipped residences. They are provided a supportive learning environment to develop home maintenance and self-sufficiency skills, such as cooking and cleaning, as well as getting along with their next door neighbor. The site has 10 residences, Independent Living Specialists available 24/7, and licensed therapists to provide behavioral health services on site, including crisis services to youth in placement. Staff help provide transitional living and community integration program components while managing each youth’s individualized client-centered service plan.

Educational Services

While in the TRAIL program, all young adults who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED) will be enrolled in an education program. Participants in the TRAIL program are encouraged to further their education through vocational or college classes. Those who have completed a high school equivalency and do not wish to further their education will be expected to volunteer within the community.

Employment and Finances

TRAIL participants will be required to work. Based on the amount of time spent achieving educational goals, the Independent Living (IL) Specialist will help the young adult determine how many hours per week they will be required to work while in the program. It is expected that young adults obtain and maintain employment or complete Employment Enhancement Activities if not employed. TRAIL participants are also taught how to develop and maintain a budget which includes a savings account. Every youth receives an initial and weekly subsidy for their personal needs which aids them in improving their budgeting proficiencies.

Staff Interactions

Staff will provide instructional direction in an individual and/or group environment as needed. This will include teaching TRAIL participants how to cook, shop, budget, effectively communicate with others, interview for jobs, make positive decisions, build resumes, and clean. TRAIL staff will also provide Case Management services to assist with job retention skills, referrals for substance abuse and mental health services, staying in school, ensuring Ansel Casey curriculum is completed, as well as working with the Case Worker and developing an individualized client-centered service plan.

Our goal for our TRAIL residents is simple. We want our youth to be able to successfully transition into adulthood and become autonomous, productive members of their communities.

For referrals and additional information on TRAIL, call (785) 861-7400

Placement Criteria

  • Young adults, age 17 to 22, in the custody of the state (DCF)
  • Can be male or female
  • All youth must be referred and must complete an interview with an Independent Living Specialist for admission
  • Must have at least a concurrent OPPLA case plan goal
  • Demonstrated care of property
  • Demonstrated ability to follow societal rules
  • Demonstrated some stability in past placements
  • Demonstrated ability and willingness to find and maintain employment

Program Goals

To ensure success, TRAIL participants must complete four of six goals that are set out by our program. These goals allow our participants to have an independent living plan in place, work towards completing their education and obtaining a vocation, and maintain positive relationships as well as a job.

  • Participant will have saved $1,500 for living expenses by discharge date.
  • Participant will have graduated from high school, received GED, or actively participate in an educational program.
  • Participant will be employed for at least 90 of the last 120 days.
  • Participant has identified and displayed ongoing contact with a positive mentor.
  • Client has identified safe, reasonable living arrangements and completed a plan to live independently.
  • Meeting 80% of goals on transitioning to independent service plan.

Trail Services

  • Residence rent and deposit
  • Residence utilities
  • Fully furnished and equipped residence (including linens, cookware, household supplies)
  • Initial and weekly subsidy (for groceries)
  • Life-skills instruction (cooking, budgeting, home maintenance, etc.)
  • Peer and staff support
  • Transitional Living Program (TLP) has 24 hour supervision with 24 hour access to on-site staff
  • Referral for community services
  • Complete Psychosocial assessment by a therapist upon referral and behavioral health services on site
  • Case Management services
  • Licensed therapists who provide behavioral health services on site, including crisis services to youth in placement.