Housing, Life Skills, Health and Recreation

Below are services offered to DCFS wards, or in some instances former wards, in order to achieve independence.

Housing

Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth

If you are a former foster youth from Illinois, still reside in Illinois, and are under the age of 26, you qualify for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"). If you think you qualify, you can apply for coverage now! To apply, go to: www.abe.illinois.gov or call the toll-free telephone number for completing an application: 1–800–843–6154.

Youth Housing Assistance Program

The Youth Housing Assistance Program helps youth who have aged out of DCFS care or are aging out within 6 months obtain and/or maintain stable housing by providing housing advocacy and/or cash assistance.  Housing advocacy provides assistance in obtaining and/or maintaining stable housing. Cash assistance may be authorized to help pay for items necessary to secure housing that the youth cannot afford if the youth has a balanced budget.  Typical items approved include a security deposit, beds, utility deposits and appliances. A partial housing subsidy may also be approved for a period of 1 year following emancipation. For more information, contact your caseworker or Youth Housing Assistance Coordinator at 312-814-5571.
For additional program information click here

Life skills

Life Skills Program

The Life Skills Program assists DCFS wards ages 14 to 20 gain independent living skills while promoting economic and social self-sufficiency.  The Ansell Casey Life Skills Assessment is used to help create individualized transition plans, goals and timelines that include the youth, caregiver and caseworker.  Life skills training can consist of group and/or individual instruction.  For more information, contact the DCFS Office of Education and Transition Services at 217-557-2689.
For additional program information click here

Health

Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth

If you are a former foster youth from Illinois, still reside in Illinois, and are under the age of 26, you qualify for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”). If you think you qualify, you can apply for coverage now! To apply, go to: www.abe.illinois.gov or call the toll-free telephone number for completing an application: 1–800–843–6154.

Extending Medicare Eligibility

Medicaid eligibility can be extended for wards ages 18 and under if their case is closed. The extension is either up to age 19, or for 12 months, whichever occurs first after case closure.  The medical card provided with the extension will cover any medical services covered by the Department of Public Aid’s medical program. In order to be considered for the extension, the DCFS ward must: 1) live in Illinois; 2) be under the age of 19; and 3) have been returned to a parent from foster care or be living independently and therefore no longer requiring DCFS services. After case closure, youth are responsible for informing the Technical Support Unit of any change of address. For more information, contact your caseworker or the Technical Support Unit at 1-800-228-6533.

Direct Payment of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to Clients Age 18 and older

DCFS wards age 18 and older who are receiving SSI payments may be eligible to receive these payments directly. In most circumstances where wards are entitled to SSI payments, DCFS is the representative payee. Generally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will pay SSI benefits for children under age 18 to a representative payee. SSI payments to persons age 18 or older only need to be paid to a representative payee if it is in the recipient’s best interest (based on their age and whether they are capable of managing their own funds). The decision on whether a recipient will receive payments directly is made by the SSA.  Direct payment of SSI benefits must be applied for at the Social Security Office. For more information, contact the DCFS children’s account manager at 217-524-1976, or contact your attorney/GAL.
Where to Apply for SSDI or SSI? The Social Security Administration local office in your area, or by calling toll-free 1-800-772-1213.
Who May Be Eligible? SSDI: Workers who become "disabled" (or who are at least 62 years old), and their spouses, and dependents of workers who are "disabled" (or retired or deceased). SSI: People of any age who are needy and are blind or "disabled" (or who are at least 65 years old).
For additional information click here

Recreation for Children in Foster Care Ages 3 to 18

Art & Recreation Program

DCFS has a free program called PROJECT SOAR that is geared toward providing children in foster care (ages 3-18) with weekly after school classes in music, art, media, dance and drama. There are two sessions held in the fall and spring. Typically, registration for fall is in late August. Registration for spring is held in late December. For more information, call 312-814-4145 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
For additional information click here

Success Stories

Juvenile Success Stories Juvenile
Success stories regarding our juvenile clients Read more
Adult Success Stories Adult
Success stories regarding our disabled adults Read more

What's New Read more

New Policy and Legislation Voices Identifies Lack of State Budget Is Dismantling Critical Services for Children Read more
New Policy and Legislation Cook County Public Guardian Testifies Before Joint Illinois Senate and House Subject Matter Hearing on Documented Abuse at DCFS Residential Treatment Facilities Read more
New Policy and Legislation New Policy & Legislation
Recently passed laws of interest to those representing disabled adults and abused & neglected children in Illinois.
Read more Adult Juvenile
Current Developments OPG Appellate Developments
Recent Appellate and Supreme Court decisions Read more

Youth Advocacy &
Post-Emancipation Services
Important information for current and former clients. Read more
   
Were you in Foster Care? Are you younger than 26 years old? You get Medicaid Health Insurance! But you have to act now! It's free to sign up!