John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program
The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program is a federal initiative to help foster youth move toward independence as they begin to age out of the foster care system. In Missouri we provide Chafee/Aftercare services (administered by the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services), for foster youth ages 14-21. Staff members are currently located in the cities of Camdenton, Cape Girardeau, Desloge, Harrisonville, Jefferson City, Joplin, Nevada, Poplar Bluff, Rolla, Springfield, St. Joseph, Trenton, and West Plains; however, they serve youth in over 80 surrounding counties, in the Southwest, Southeast, and Northwest regions of the state.
Our committed staff provides assistance and support for foster youth in the following areas: Education, Employment, Community Services and Support, Youth Leadership, and Independent Life Skills development. Our staff provides support so youth can participate in school, church, and community activities. For example, athletic gear, prom attire, summer camps, musical instruments, or club participation fees, are some of the tangible ways we help those in the program.
In addition, we work to provide lifelong skills that are necessary for any individual. Balancing a budget, how to obtain and maintain a healthy credit history, banking, leasing an apartment, obtaining a driver’s license, and how to access short-term and long-term community resources, are also some of the topics addressed.
Aftercare services are an emergency/crisis service providing assistance and support for former foster youth who have been released from state custody at the age of 17 ½ or older, but not yet reached the age of 21. In addition to Chafee services, Aftercare youth can also receive assistance for Emergency/Crisis Intervention and Housing.