This week we were asked to look into resources within our own states. I know this is something that means a lot to me considering that when I wanted to find out something out I felt like I had to do it all on my own with no resources. Some of the most important resources are: college/education resources, housing, ombudsmen, matching grants, and employment. The first one that I looked up was Missouri ILP. National statistics indicate about 20,000 youth emancipate from the foster care system each year when they reach age 18. In Missouri we call independent living the Older Youth Program (OYP). In this program they provide three things: the John H Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, Transitional living services as housing options, and independent living arrangements. The eligibility for this program is age: 14-21, and this info and more can be found at http://dss.mo.gov/ (link is external) . Some of the services that Chafee can provide include housing, employment (through things such as mock interviews), matching grants (for specific things such as car/school) and educational resources. For college assistance we have ETV and Missouri Reach through Foster Care to Success. ETV means Educational Training Voucher. This is something that you can apply for at the beginning of July. It works to fill in the gaps between your financial aid and what you have to pay. It covers the "cost of attendance" which can include tuition and fees, room and board, and rental/purchase of required equipment. Missouri Reach is through the same group so when you fill out the application for ETV you also apply for Missouri Reach. If you are chosen to receive Missouri Reach you can have your tuition covered. The requirements and other information can be found at http://www.fc2success.org/ (link is external). In place of Ombudsmen in Missouri we have the Office of Child Advocate. Their main functions are to: Review foster care case management, review unsubstantiated hotline cases, mediate between parents and school regarding abuse allegations in a school setting, review child facilities for a child and family that have a history with Children's Division, and to provide info and referrals for families needing services. Their website also has a page full of different resources that could help you. Visit them online by clicking here: http://oca.mo.gov/
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