LINKS Independent Living Program
LINKS is the North Carolina Foster Care Independence Program for youth and young adults who have experienced time in foster care. The LINKS program provides services and resources to older youth in foster care so that when they leave the system, they will have a network of supports and be better equipped with the skills and tools necessary to be successful in life.
Who is eligible for LINKS services?
All youth who are/were in Iredell County Department of Social Services custody between the ages 13–21.
The GOAL for all youth leaving the foster care system is that they have:
- Sufficient income to meet their daily needs
- A safe and stable place to live
- Attain academic or vocational/educational goals
- Connections to a positive personal support network
- Avoid illegal / high risk behaviors
- Postpone parenthood until financially established and emotionally mature
- Access to routine mental health, health and dental health care
Transitional Funds are to be utilized in achieving positive outcomes. Examples include: tutoring, work uniforms, furnishing apartments, transportation, and so much more!
Housing Funds are available for rent deposits, rent or down payments. Youth must currently be between 18 and their 21st birthday and have turned 18 while in custody of the Department of Social Services.
FOSTER CARE 18-21 Program
Are you eligible for the Foster Care 18-21 program?
Foster Care 18 to 21 is a program that offers young adults opportunities to continue foster care placement and transition to independence with county child welfare agency supervision. There are some young adults who may not be ready to exit foster care upon turning 18 years of age, and may choose to stay in Foster Care 18 to 21 as long as certain requirements are met. Young adults who exit foster care at age 18 are also able to return to the Foster Care 18 to 21 program at a later date as long as they have not reached their 21st birthday.
If you meet the requirements above, submit an application to the program.
Educational Training Voucher (ETV)
A state-administered, federally funded financial assistance program that offers students up to $5,000 per year for college or vocational training.
Apply at fc2sprograms.org/
Eligibility: In foster care at age 17; Adopted at age 16 or older; Not yet reached age 21; Accepted to an accredited college; Remains a student in good standing – can receive funds until age 23.
A state-administered, federally funded financial assistance program that offers students up to $10,000 per year for college or vocational training.
Apply at NCReach.org
Eligibility: In foster care at age 18; Adopted at age 12 or older; Not yet reached age 21; Accepted to an accredited state college; Remains a student in good standing – can receive funds until age 26.
Are you interested in SaySo?
SaySo (Strong Able Youth Speaking Out): A statewide association of youth ages 14 to 24, who have been or currently in the foster care system. Their mission is to improve the foster care system by educating the community, speaking out about needed changes, and providing support to youth in foster care.
More information is available at: www.saysoinc.org.
To get more information about the LINKS Program, please complete the inquiry form here:
Taylor Burris, MSW
Iredell County Department of Social Services
549 Eastside Drive Statesville, NC 28625
Office: (704) 873-5631 x 5428
Cell: (704) 437-3333
Fax: (704) 878-5419
Shayna Rouson, MSW
Social Work Supervisor III