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Older Youth Initiatives

  • DCS
  • Current: Older Youth Initiatives

In 2019, the upper age limits for the Older Youth Initiatives (OYI) programs were extended. Older Youth Services and Collaborative Care are now available until a youth turns 21; Voluntary Older Youth Services are now available until a youth turns 23.

The OYI program encompasses Older Youth Services (OYS), Collaborative Care and Voluntary Services. OYS were formerly known as the Chafee Independent Living Services. OYS and Collaborative Care are sets of services and supports used in order to assist older youth successfully achieve their case plan goal. OYS and Collaborative Care are primarily focused on helping those youth who are expected to turn 18 in foster care, but the programs can be implemented concurrently with other goals like reunification and adoption. Voluntary Services are a set of services for youth who have “aged out” of the foster care system. These services are geared to assisting former foster youth in the areas of housing, employment and education.

The primary purposes of the OYS program are:

  1. Identify youth who are expected to remain in foster care until their 18th birthday or after and assist them make the transition to self-sufficiency.
  2. Help identified youth receive necessary education, training, and services to overcome potential barriers to employment.
  3. Help youth prepare for and enter post-secondary education and/or training institutions.
  4. Provide personal and emotional support for youth aging out of foster care.
  5. Assist youth in locating and identifying community resources that will be available to the youth after DCS involvement has ended.
  6. Encourage positive personal growth in older youth through “teachable moments.”

Older Youth Initiatives is designed as a continuum of care beginning at age 16 with an extension of foster care until the youth turns 21 years of age and voluntary services as a safety net for older youth from age 21 until the youth turns 23.

Older Youth Services  

Indiana Extended Foster Care Program – Collaborative Care
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 is federal legislation that was written to provide assistance from the federal government to states in order to improve outcomes for children and youth in foster care. Through this legislation states may extend and allow for reentry into foster care. Collaborative Care is Indiana's extended foster care program. Collaborative Care is designed for young adults from age 18 until they turn 21 who voluntarily request to remain or reenter into foster care with services.

Voluntary Older Youth Services
Indiana provides voluntary services to young adults who were formerly in foster care a minimum of six (6) months and aged out of foster care at age 18, Collaborative Care closes at age 21 or obtained adoption or guardianship on or after the youth’s 16th birthday. Services are available up to the day before the youth’s 23rd birthday.

Advanced Directives  

To learn more about health care issues please go to The Indiana State Department of Health website - Indiana Health Care Quality Resource Center.

National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)

Youth Connections Program

Indiana Youth Bill of Rights
The Indiana Youth Bill of Rights is a document that describes the rights of Indiana’s foster youth with respect to education, health, visitation, and court participation, the right to be provided various document, the right to stay safe and avoid exploitation.

The Indiana Youth Bill of Rights should be provided to every foster youth in out of home care at beginning at the age of 14 or when they enter care and every six (6) months thereafter. This document must be explained in an age-appropriate way and signed by the youth.

Indiana Youth Bill of Rights Summary:
Foster youth of the State of Indiana who are involved in a Child in Need of Services (CHINS), Collaborative Care (CC), or Delinquency Court case, are entitled to a voice and an opinion in decisions that will impact their lives. These basic rights during the life of the case and safety is paramount in the case. Reasonable restrictions, including court orders, may be imposed on the time, place, and manner in which rights can exercised. Youth have the right to be informed of these restrictions and the reasons for them in a manner that we can understand.

The view the full version of the Indiana Youth Bill of Rights, select the following link.

Indiana Bill of Rights for Youth in Care

For more information please contact:

Independent Living Specialists Map

Sheena Mickelson
Northeast Independent Living Specialist
Regions 3, 4, 6, 7, 10-12
Work: 574-229-3430
William Thomas
Northwest Independent Living Specialist
Regions 1, 2, 5, 8, 9
Work: 219-384-8682
Fax: 317-232-1726
William (Harry) Day, M.S.
Southern Independent Living Specialist
Regions 13-18
Work: 812-595-3575

Older Youth Text Alert Program

  • Privacy Policy
    • Our text alert program is designed to provide older youth with useful alerts relating to DCS. This program sends these alerts in the form of text messages to your cellular phone (or other mobile device). If you choose to participate in the text alert program, you will be asked to provide your cell phone number. We will only use this information to provide you with the alert program services described. If you have chosen to participate in our text alert program, you can cancel your participation at any time simply by following directions listed in the terms and conditions found below.
  • Terms and conditions
    • DCS offers complimentary SMS text messaging services to help you stay informed and provide important resources and information. Message
      frequency may vary. Standard message and data rates may apply. Consent to receive marketing text messages is not required as a condition of purchasing any goods or services. Texts may be sent using an automatic telephone dialing system. To enroll in DCS Alerts, text SIGNUP to 47789. If you would like to opt out of this service text STOP to 47789. If you have any questions about SMS text services, text HELP to 47789.
    • Participating Carriers: The service is available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Boost, Cricket, MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular, Virgin Mobile, ACS Wireless, Appalachian Wireless, Bluegrass Cellular, Carolina West Wireless, Cellcom, C-Spire Wireless (formerly Cellsouth), Cellular One of East Central Illinois, Cincinnati Bell Wireless, Cross (dba Sprocket), Duet IP, Element Mobile, EpicTouch, GCI Communications, Golden State, Hawkeye (Chat Mobility), Hawkeye (NW Missouri Cellular), Illinois Valley Cellular, Immix (Keystone Wireless / PC Management), Inland Cellular, iWireless, Mobi PCS (Coral Wireless LLC), Mosaic, MTPCS / Cellular One (Cellone Nation), Nex-Tech Wireless, nTelos, Panhandle Telecommunications, Peoples Wireless, Pioneer, Plateau, Revol Wireless, Rina - Custer, Rina - All West, Rina - Cambridge Telecom Coop, Rina - Eagle Valley Comm, Rina - Farmers Mutual Telephone Co, Rina - Nucla Nutria Telephone Co, Rina - Silver Star, Rina - South Central Comm, Rina - Syringa, Rina - UBET, Rina - Manti, South Canaan / CellularOne of NEPA, Thumb Cellular, Union Wireless, United, Viaero Wireless, West Central Wireless, Leaco, Nemont/Sagebrush. T-Mobile is not liable for delayed or undelivered messages.
    • If you have questions about SMS text services or need help, email To opt out of this service, please text STOP to 47789.
    • For more information you can view a copy of our Privacy Policy above.

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