Independent Living Skills Program
Operating at the county level, ILSPs are designed to provide foster youth with important guidance, support, and services as they approach the transition to independence. The programs are open to current and former foster youth (ages 16-21) who were in foster care, Kin-GAP care, or out-of-home probation on or after their 16th birthday. In overseeing the ILSP programs in San Francisco and Solano Counties, First Place for Youth works to ensure a welcoming atmosphere where our young people can receive academic and career development assistance, build community connections, and develop important skills for independence.
With a combination of open “drop in” hours, social activities, and skill-building workshops, our ILSP offices allow participants flexibility in how they choose to engage with the program based on their needs. Our workshops cover a wide array of topic areas, including:
- Financial literacy
- College preparation
- Healthy lifestyles
- Cooking classes
- Resume writing
Less than half of foster youth will graduate high school on time, and fewer than 20% will enroll in a four year college. Our ILSP staff are committed to helping young people achieve better outcomes in high school completion and college enrollment. Our First Foundation program is a nationally-recognized framework for providing intensive academic and personal counseling to foster youth who are in high school but who are who are academically behind and in danger of dropping out of school.
The program offers personalized attention and counseling in critical areas, including high school completion and college preparation, physical and mental health issues, relationship-building, self-advocacy and the development of independent living skills. This comprehensive support provides the stability these young people need outside the classroom so they can focus on their academic work inside the classroom and be emotionally and mentally prepared to transition to independent living after foster care.
Foster kids in the First Foundation program show strong, positive outcomes.
In 2004, the California Department of Education recognized First Foundation as a promising practice and in 2005, the United States Department of Health and Human Services highlighted the program as one of 20 “best practice programs” in the country.