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Independence: the Independent Living Program Drivers Licenses

Are you between 16 and 21 years old?

There is a program called the "Independent Living Program" (ILP) available in all California counties, which serves youth aged 16-18 in foster care and also helps emancipated foster youth up to age 21. Counties can use ILP money for college or vocational training costs, transportation, some other needs, and up to 30% on housing. If you don't participate in ILP, you may miss out on services that can help you get a computer, earn money, find jobs and housing, or scholarship opportunities for school. Locate your County ILP Coordinator.

Locate an ILP Coordinator in another State.

What can ILP do for me?

Unless you are prepared, emancipating can be frightening. Among other things, the ILP program can help you to:

  • Get money through the Emancipated Youth Stipend to help with housing, food and expenses after you emancipate;
  • Get funds for driver's training;
  • Find a steady job, with a good paycheck;
  • Get an apartment / Transitional Housing;
  • Learn the skills to become self-sufficient;
  • Get money to finish school.

Participate in ILP!

Make sure you participate in your county's Independent Living Program, and take advantage of all the services such as the Transitional Housing Placement Program. Twenty-two counties have this program which allows some foster youth 17 or older to learn self sufficiency skills while living in an apartment in the community and being supervised by the their case worker and care provider.

Your social worker/probation officer must:

  • Make sure that transportation to ILP is provided and/or accessible.
  • Make sure you have access to ILP core services (ILP participation cannot be used as a punishment or a reward).
  • The county where you live must provide core ILP services.
  • The county where your court is must pay the county where you live for the ILP services they provide.
  • Make sure that you are able to complete the goals in your Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP). Your ILP coordinator will help you achieve those goals.
Don't know what a TILP is?

It's your emancipation preparation plan! You write your first plan with your social worker when you are 15 to 16 years old. You update it every six months. Ask your social worker or probation officer or ILP Coordinator about this.

National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)

The Chafee Foster Care Independence Act (FCIA) of 1999, required the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to develop and implement a data collection system to track the independent living services provided to youth, and develop outcome measures that may be used to assess a states performance in operating their independent living programs. View the Fact Sheet.

Survival Guide

A pamphlet called "When you Become 18: A Survival Guide for Teenagers" is full of good information for after you turn 18 years old. For copies, send an email to 18@calbar.ca.gov or to see a copy on line go to California State Bar.


To hook up with the Independent Living Program, or to voice a concern about the way things are going for you, call the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman at