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Independent Living

Independent Living

Program Purpose

Moving youth in foster care toward independent adulthood.


The Independent Living program (IL) serves youth in foster care ages 14 – 21 years old who are preparing to exit foster care and transition into a life of successful independence. CAS provides a variety of services for IL youth and the professionals who serve them. IL works toward improving communication among IL youth across the state, county DHR workers, providers, and foster parents. IL youth have a place to share resources and ideas with each other throughout the state and be informed of the health, education, housing, and career resources available to them. The IL team is comprised of individuals with lived experience in foster care as well as social workers. The team also works alongside a youth panel of DREAM Ambassadors, youth advocates currently in foster care. 

Youth in foster care are taught skills such as career counseling, budgeting, healthy decision-making, and managing responsibilities through year-round activities designed to increase their independent living skills and develop positive peer relationships.



Read what one youth had to say about our program:

“I have been in foster care for a long time. While in care I did not think what I wanted for my life mattered…I did not think people would value my opinions about me…I did not think I had a voice about anything related to my present situation or my future. About four years ago, I became active with the Youth Leadership Team and started attending Camp Life. Not only did I learn my life mattered and that I was like “normal teenagers,” but I also learned that I have a voice and what I thought and wanted for my life was important. I used to hate being in foster care…some days I still do…but the skills I have learned at the camps and leadership trainings have given me the confidence to advocate for myself and others in foster care like me.”


  • Camp for youth in foster care 14-20 years of age. Activities at the camp build self-confidence and independent living skills among youth.

  • Gives youth an avenue to voice their opinion, to take control of their lives and to be positive role models for all youth in foster care with meetings held monthly around the state.

  • Conference held each spring is to increase the knowledge of the Independent Living Program for DHR staff and other professionals working with IL youth.

  • Platform for increasing and improving the communication among IL youth across the state and IL county workers.

For more information about our ILP services, please contact Torre McDonald at or 205-943-5345.

2022 Highlights of Individuals & Families Served

  • United Way Central Alabama
    United Way Central Alabama
  • Alabama CTF
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