Your Independent Living Needs Assessment
“The Transition Plan is set by the youth for himself and not by some random person. He knows what small goals he needs to achieve to make the larger goal. In the end your weaknesses can become your strengths.”
Project LIFE Participant
Your Plan is based on a comprehensive independent living needs assessment conducted to assess your strengths and needs in preparing for adulthood. The first IL assessment is done within 30 days after your 14th birthday (or, for youth entering foster care after age 14, within 30 days after you entered care). The assessment is then re-administered every 12 months.
Your Independent Living Needs Assessment
The IL Assessment is not a test! It is a tool that helps you build your own personal checklist of skills and strengths.
In Virginia, the recommended assessment is the Casey Life Skills Assessment (CLSA).
- This assessment can be found online at: http://www.caseylifeskills.force.com/clsa_learn_youth
- It can be completed online in 30 to 40 minutes.
- Your service worker will help you establish a log-in and complete the assessment.
- You will get the results online and then use the results to develop your IL Transition Plan.
The CLSA assesses life skills in eight different areas. The eight areas are:
Remember, this is not a test! You can’t “fail” and there is no “grade.” It’s a tool for you to use to determine what you already know and what you need to work on before you live independently.
Your IL service and transition plan
Your service worker is required to develop with you a written Independent Living Services and Transition Plan that specifies the independent living services, activities, and supports that will be provided to help you transition to adulthood. The plan is to be:
- Based on your IL needs assessment.
- Developed through a team process.
- Also, if you have an Individual Education Program (IEP) at school, the plan is to be coordinated with your IEP.
Youth-driven means you have a central role in service planning and decision making. Your involvement not only makes the plan truly yours, but gives you opportunities to increase your self-awareness and to learn how to develop goals, use networks, and resolve problems – all essential skills for adulthood!
The service planning is completed in collaboration with your service worker and members of your team.
Your service worker will help you:
- Understand your responsibility for developing and achieving a plan.
- Develop your personal goals.
- Identify your strengths, interests, and needs.
- Use these goals, strengths, and interests to design services, use networks, and access services and resources to meet your needs.
Your team will focus on helping you:
- Achieve permanency.
- Develop the skills necessary for self-sufficiency and interdependency.
- Manage the transition to adulthood.
- Follow up to ensure success.
Elements of your plan
Strengths and areas for growth
Your plan will be developed soon after you complete your IL Needs Assessment so that you can use what you learned through the assessment process in developing your plan. Your IL Needs Assessment will show you where your strengths and weaknesses are in each of the eight life skills areas.
Your IL Transition Plan does not have to address all eight areas of life skills. You will want to focus your Plan on the areas of greatest need and importance for you at this point in time. After you achieve your initial goals, you can move on to others.
Goals, activities, and measures
You will be setting goals, choosing activities, and determining how you will measure your achievements.
- Goals are what you want to achieve over a longer period of time.
- Activities are the shorter-term steps you will take to reach your goal.
- Measures are how you will know when you achieve your goal.
Here are some examples of goals, related activities, and measures. These are just examples intended to give you a better idea about how goals, activities and measures are related. Remember, your plan should reflect your goals!
Although this is your plan, your team and others will be responsible for helping you and providing whatever support they agree to provide in your plan. This element of your plan will list what you have agreed to do and what others have pledged to do to assist you.
You and your service worker will review your progress in achieving the goals on a regular basis, and your IL Assessment and Plan will be officially updated every 12 months for as long as you continue to receive IL services. When you review and update your plan, you will report the status of your goals and activities. The status can be any of the following:
- Met activity/goal (you will report the date).
- Satisfactory progress.
- Needs more time/assistance.
- Activity/goal needs changing.
The final element in your plan is the area where you, your service worker, your caregiver(s), and other members of your team sign.
When you and your team members sign, it means you agree with the plan and that everyone makes a commitment to work to complete all the activities they are responsible to complete.