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Fostering independence

Foster Youth Services

We believe that every youth deserves a stable life, a good education and a family of supporters who rally around them to reach their goals.

That’s why our free programs wrap around foster youth to give them a solid foundation before they “age out” of the foster-care system and set out on their own.

Foster care ends at eighteen—growing up doesn’t.
We make sure they have the basics covered so they are fully ready to build the life they deserve.

Our services for foster youth include:

Independent Living

Independent Youth Housing

Mockingbird Society


Independent Living: skills for success
Our Independent Living programs give youth a constant support, staying by their side from age 15 to 21, offering skills, resources and support all along the way. Our services, available in both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, are designed to prepare foster youth beforehand for the little and big things they might not see coming as they set out on their own.

Our Independent Living program helps foster youth build skills matched to their individual needs—from making a grocery budget to filling out financial aid paperwork or from role playing before a job interview to sitting in on a class about how to choose a cell phone plan. Both one-on-one with our staff and in groups they learn about cooking, cleaning, budgeting how to find an apartment, and many other skills. We even hold an annual conference where youth can meet each other and learn about additional resources. We also help foster youth get their birth certificates, state IDs, household supplies and other items that will help them become independent.

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Independent Youth Housing: dress rehearsal
Our Independent Youth Housing program continues the work foster youth begin in Independent Living, giving them a chance to live in an apartment they can call their own with the support of our staff while they try out all their new skills in real life. Youth can use this program for five years or until they turn twenty three, as long as they are working or in school. We help ensure their success by subsidizing their rent, helping them get together a deposit, and find furniture, household supplies and other things that will help them be independent.

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Mockingbird Society: advocacy in action
Volunteers of America is a host agency for the Mockingbird Society, which works with youth and foster families, empowering youth to make positive changes in public policy that strengthen and improve the foster care system. Youth meet together monthly to share ideas and brainstorm about ways they can make a difference. They do quarterly service projects and meet with legislators in Seattle and Olympia. Mockingbird also offers classes that help kids learn where to find services, how to use a “guardian ad litem” attorney, how to advocate for themselves with a landlord and other skills that help them speak up for themselves and other foster youth.

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SETuP Program: ready for college
When foster youth reach their junior year of high school, our Supplemental Education Transition Planning, or “SETuP” program, joins their team—working with them, their foster family (or families), their school and others to get them into college and make sure they succeed when they get there.
SETuP not only helps youth keep up with schoolwork and track down credits lost by moving from school to school, we help apply for financial aid and help youth enroll in classes outside school to further their interests like photography or auto repair. Youth can start the program their junior year of high school and we’ll be right by their side until they are safely settled and succeeding in college.

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For more information please contact Sara Mack, program manager
Phone: 509.688.1115
Fax: 509.624.2275
Foster Youth Programs | Address: 525 W 2nd Ave, Second Floor, Spokane, WA 99201 | Hours: mon-fri 8:30am-4:30pm
Phone: (509) 688.1139
Fax: 509.624.2275