Oesterlen’s Independent Living program is a scattered apartment site concept, certified by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, designed to enhance independent living skills of youth, ages 17 to 21, who are experiencing difficulties in making a smooth transition to independent functioning and community life.
The program is ideally suited for youth who are experiencing challenges in transitioning from the child welfare or probation system of residential, group, or foster care to emancipation. The youth must be “somewhat” motivated and mature enough to manage themselves in the community.
Through the development of an individualized transition plan youth are provided with supervision and life skill development to enhance their awareness and familiarization of budgeting, credit card awareness, lease agreements, employment interviewing, career goal setting, diet and food preparation, home management, and other important and related skills. A stipend is provided to assist in the purchase of material needs to establish a household and to emphasize budgeting matters (banking, checking, savings, loans). While in the program, education is emphasized (completion of high school or GED, college or vocational school), as well as employment. Appropriate inter-dependence is taught with an emphasis on involvement in structured, organized, group activities that influence positive social behavior and dynamics.
The Independent Living Program philosophy is to teach youth how to develop appropriate inter-dependent, as well as independent, life skills which enable them to be successfully functional on their own in the community. This is accomplished through a phased approach beginning with initially close supervision and responsibility, teaching and/or reviewing of life skills, moving toward a lesser and lesser degree of supervision and teaching/reviewing, with more assumed responsibility as the youth demonstrates accomplished, responsible behaviors and life management.
Youth in Oesterlen’s Independent Living Program may be placed in apartments in the Clark County area or in a furnished apartment on Oesterlen’s campus. The campus apartments are utilized mostly for those youth assessed as initially needing a closer degree of supervision than usual or for youth who need an additional stage of transition. A move to an apartment in the community is made when the youth has been assessed as being able to manage the additional responsibility of a community apartment. Independent Living staff assist the youth in finding and furnishing appropriate housing, establishing employment, and enrolling in an appropriate educational program. Depending on a youth’s educational plan, full time employment may or may not be the immediate goal. Mental and physical health needs are met by available community agency services.
Oesterlen’s Independent Living Program is focused on teaching inter-dependent and independent life skills that everyone needs to live in a community as a responsible member of society. Three principle subject areas are emphasized:
Oesterlen accepts referrals of clients in need of placement, ages 17 to 21, from agencies such as Departments of Job and Family Services, the Ohio Department of Youth Services, County Juvenile Courts, Children Services Boards and other social service/mental health child placing agencies. The admission process is facilitated by the Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator of Independent Living.
Youths will be individually assessed for appropriateness for independent living and areas in which the client most needs life skills training. Individualized transition plans are completed following evaluation, inspection of facilities, youth orientation, and youth apartment contracting with Oesterlen.
Youth whose presenting problem is severe delinquency, mental retardation, serious physical handicap or pregnancy will be evaluated on an individual basis for admission. Oesterlen serves youths regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or cultural heritage.
Oesterlen Services for Youth, Inc. has been serving children, adolescents and their families since 1903. In addition to the Independent Living Program, the agency provides residential intensive treatment units, campus open cottage, group home settings, and therapeutic foster care for statewide referrals. In Clark County and surrounding areas, Community Services program offers mental health counseling for youth and their family, juvenile sex offender and child abuse treatment, living skills training, and prevention and education services to individuals and their families, agencies, schools, and other organizations.
Both Residential and Community Services programs have full access to Oesterlen facilities, equipment and grounds to support individualized client treatment plans.
For further information or to make a referral, please contact the Independent Living Coordinator at (937) 399-6494 or within the state of Ohio at 1-800-404-KIDS. Referrals may be faxed at any time to (937) 399-6199.
Oesterlen is licensed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The Ohio Department of Mental Health also certifies services provided by Oesterlen. We are full members of the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies, the Child Welfare League of America, and Lutheran Services in America. Oesterlen is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its synods in Ohio.
Copyright © 2018 Oesterlen Services for Youth, Inc. All rights reserved.
(937) 399-6609 fax
1918 Mechanicsburg Road
Springfield, Ohio 45503