Extended foster care
Life skills
Leadership Opportunity
Independent Living Program

Kentucky: Foster Youth Independent Living Program

About this resource

​Kentucky Tuition Waiver for Foster and Adopted Youth

KRS 164.2847 waives tuition and mandatory fees for Kentucky foster or adopted children at any  public Kentucky university, technical or community college. Youth can complete a free online application Federal Student Assistance. 

The tuition waiver is a last-resort resource applied if federal financial assistance, Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship, College Access Program and/or other private scholarships do not cover all expenses.

Kentucky Tuition Assistance

Youth ages 18-21 who extend their commitment with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for educational purposes are eligible for tuition assistance to attend college or vocational training. Tuition assistance is paid from state general funds and can be used for expenses not covered by federal financial assistance. 

Youth must complete a free online application for Federal Student Assistance.  

Education Training Voucher Program

The national Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program offers financial help for college-qualified youth. The ETV program helps youth who have been adopted at or after age 16 or who have aged out of the foster care system on or after age 18. The ETV may be used at any Kentucky public university, college or vocational or technical school.

Life Skills for Youth

​Independent living life skills classes are available to youth in care or formerly in care up to age twenty-one (21).  Contact your local independent living coordinator for more information about joining a class in your area.  (Independent Living Coordinator Regional Map)

12-15 Year Olds

Foster parents and private child care agencies are trained to work with 12 to 15 year olds in the home on “soft” skills. 

These skills include:  

anger management, problem-solving, decision-making, daily living skills, cooking, household responsibilities, laundry and money management.

16-21 Year Olds

16 to 21 year olds are eligible for formal life skills classes taught in each region by independent living coordinators or private child care agencies.  The class topics include instruction on employment, money management, community resources, housing and education.

Formal Transition Planning

​Federal law requires all states to develop a transition plan for youth who are exiting foster care. Kentucky requires that all youth begin developing their transition plan at their first case planning meeting after their 17th birthday. The youth’s independent living coordinator should be invited to attend this meeting. 

The formal transition meeting will take place within 90 days immediately prior to the youth turning 18. The independent living coordinator will facilitate the transition meeting and work closely with the youth to identify who the youth would like in attendance.  This plan should be individual to the young person and this should be a youth led process.

The plan should include information about:

Finances and money management;

Job and career options;

Life skills;

Identity documents (e.g. social security card, birth certificate);



Self-care and health;


Transportation; and

Community, culture and social life.

As a result of the passing of the Child and Family Services Improvement Innovation Act of 2011, each youth in foster care is entitled to receive a free credit report annually beginning at age 16, until they leave care.

Housing Assistance

​Chafee room and board assistance is contracted through Kentucky Housing Corporation. Eligible participants are able to receive up to six months of housing assistance including rent, utilities and household start-up costs. 

To qualify for housing assistance, the youth must:

Have aged out of foster care at or after age 18, but be younger than 20 years, 6 months old; and

Currently be homeless or will be homeless without assistance.

To receive more information on Chafee room and board assistance please contact your independent living coordinator to complete an assessment and referral form.

KOFFY and Youth Leadership Programs

​The Kentucky Organization for Foster Youth (KOFFY) is a statewide group open to youth currently and formerly in foster care.  The aim of the group is to provide an opportunity for former and current foster youth to educate the public and policy makers about the needs of youth in foster care.  The group also seeks to change negative stereotypes about foster children, develop a mentoring program and create a speaker’s bureau of youth.  

Membership is open to any current or former foster youth, regardless of age.  Contact your regional independent living coordinator for upcoming events.

National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)

​The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) is used by all states to collect information on all youth age 16 and older who receive independent living services paid for or provided by the Chafee Independence Program and data collected from annual Youth Outcomes Surveys. The information collected helps states track independent living services and outcomes based on these services.

States first began collecting information in October 2010 and are required to report data semi-annually. The two reporting periods run Oct. 1 through March 31 and April 1 through Sept. 30.  Independent living services provided to youth by participating independent living coordinators, social workers, private child caring agencies, mentors, foster families or other community partners. 

NYTD Survey

The NYTD Youth Outcomes Survey covers six categories: 

Financial self-sufficiency;

Experience with homelessness;

Educational attainment;

Positive connections with adults;

High-risk behavior; and

Access to health insurance. 

Youth in state custody first are surveyed at age 17 with follow-up surveys at ages 19 and 21 regardless of state custody. Information from the surveys is used to improve services to older youth in foster care and those aging out of foster care.

The data collected by NYTD and Youth Outcomes Survey helps agencies evaluate services and outcomes for youth in foster care and aging out of foster care. The database and survey results are used to  better define agency roles and perfect services to best prepare youth for self-sufficiency and a more successful transition into adulthood.



12-15 year olds committed to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Youth 12-15 years old who are committed to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services are eligible for “soft skills” training through foster parents and private child care agencies.

Youth 16-18 year olds committed to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services 

Youth 16-18 years old who are committed to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services are eligible for formal life skills training through independent living coordinators and private child care agencies.

18-21 year olds Committed to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services 

Youth 18 to 21 years old who extend their commitment with the Cabinet are eligible for formal life skills  classes, mentor and youth leadership opportunities, tuition assistance and a tuition waiver.

18-21 year olds who left care because they turned 18 

Youth 18 to 21 who left care because they turned 18 are eligible for formal life skills classes, mentor and youth leadership opportunities, a tuition waiver, education training voucher, and assistance with room and board.

Adopted out of state’s care through a public adoption on or after 16th birthday

Youth who were adopted by a non-relative on or after their 16th birthday may be eligible to receive the  mentor and youth leadership opportunities, education training voucher as well as the tuition waiver.

Adopted out of state’s care through a public adoption 

Youth who were adopted by a non-relative through a public adoption at any age may be eligible to receive the tuition waiver.