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Promoting Independence and Self-Sufficiency

All young people, and especially those who have spent time in the child welfare system, need to connect with individuals who believe in them and key resources that are available to them.

As a parent to every youth in our care, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is responsible for understanding and meeting each youth’s needs. This is true whether a youth moves quickly into permanency, stays in the system a year or more, or does not achieve permanency and must look toward independence and self-sufficiency.

Need help or want to know more?
For more information, read the Get Goal'd HandbookGetting There Tip Sheets, Moving to Adulthood handout and list of items every youth should have when leaving care.

Community Maps

A community map is a visual representation of important places in your neighborhood where you can turn for help and receive important services.  As you move towards independence it is important to know where resources, such as hospitals/clinics, libraries, park districts and social services agencies, are located.  If you are a parent, a community map can assist you in locating resources for your children and family.

Click on your zip code to open the map and learn about important resources in your community: 60103, 60153, 60419, 60608, 60612, 60618, 60619, 60620, 60621, 60622, 60623, 60624, 60625, 60628, 60629, 60637, 60649, 60659, 60827, 60411, 60428.

If your zip code is not listed, talk to your caseworker about how to find services in your community; or if you live in Chicago, call 311.  You may also call the Illinois Department of Human Service Help Line at 1-800-843-6154.


Supporting Emancipated Youth Services Program
Under certain circumstances, it may be possible for an emancipated youth to return to the care of DCFS. To be eligible, the youth must have been in the care of DCFS (have a closed case); be between the ages of 18 and 21; and not currently a ward of the court or have a petition for adjudication of wardship pending on his or her behalf.

A youth is not eligible to participate in the program if his or her case was closed because he or she achieved permanency through reunification, adoption or private guardianship.

For more information about the Supporting Emancipated Youth Services program, services provided to youth and other eligibility requirements, call 800-232-3798.


Foster Care Transition Toolkit
The U.S Department ​of Education released the Foster Care Transition Toolkit to inspire and support current and former foster youth pursuing college and career opportunities. The Foster Care Transition Toolkit includes tips and resources intended to help foster youth access and navigate social, emotional, educational and skills barriers as they transition into adulthood. While the toolkit is written for foster youth, it's also meant to be a resource for caseworkers, caregivers, teachers and mentors to help foster youth. This toolkit was developed in partnership with the U.S Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Labor, in addition to youth, alumni and practitioners involved in the child welfare system.