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(951) 674-9400 (Lake Elsinore Corporate Office)
(760) 761-4300 (San Marcos Office, Recruitment and Training Center)

The Importance of an Independent Living Program

Children at Kamali'i kid's club

In addition to helping children grow up in nurturing environments with loving resource families, Kamali’i Foster Family Agency prioritizes preparing them for life once they age out of the system with the assistance of an Independent Living Program (ILP). ILP is an authorized program created by the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-169), to provide services that promote and encourage the self-sufficiency of youth, empower their autonomy, and supply resources that meet their basic and unique needs and circumstances.

Examples of ILPs include: providing access to therapy and counseling for trauma and general mental health, educational classes on how to gain employment, receive financial assistance, and attain housing. They also have programs that teach youth how to develop self-esteem, boost confidence, make well-informed decisions, and create an identity for themselves in the world–all of which are collaboratively developed by Federal and State agencies. What’s great is that agencies and even the local community hold fundraisers to earn financial support for these programs and then spread the word of their benefits and lasting impact!


Kamali’i provides a yearly Independent Living Program (in Riverside County) called H.O.P.E. (Home Ownership for Personal Development) for high schoolers and young adults in our care. Although ILP eligibility begins at 15 ½, Kamali’i advocates early intervention and invites children who have just entered high school as a freshman to participate in the program. We believe it’s never too early to prepare for life, its highs, and lows. But it is in those challenging times, an ILP demonstrates its impact through a youth’s resilience and determination to overcome obstacles.

In collaboration with their caregiver, we help youth set individual goals they want to meet. Some of these goals include affording stable housing after they age, keeping an open dialogue about their aspirations, encouraging them to be candid about their emotions and worries, and setting them on a path to cultivate an environment in their lives that prioritizes learning and education. According to the California Department of Education, in 2018-2019, 64.2% of foster youth in California graduated from high school, a 4.2% increase from the year prior! With these promising numbers, we continuously work towards contributing to the ever-increasing percentage of positive academic outcomes every year.

Subsequently, Kamali’i encourages youth to participate in community-building and team-building activities, as well as networking with and alongside their peers to form support and professional networks. While ILPs primarily focus on the individual child, it equally encourages maintaining stable and long-term relationships with mentors and friends and learning how to develop trust in others.


Children eligible to receive the benefits of an ILP must be 16 where they can utilize its resources until the day before they turn 21 as long as they meet one of the following criteria, according to the Department of Social Services:

  • They were in foster care between the ages of 16 and 19
  • They were a former dependent of the Kinship Guardian Assistance Payments (Kin-GAP) at any age; or are currently receiving benefits between the ages of 16 and 18
  • They are a former dependent who entered into a Non-Related Legal Guardianship (NRLG) at age 8 and is receiving permanent placement services

OUR PHILOSOPHY: Every child deserves the opportunity to empower themselves and become a positive participant in their community.

The statistics for youth possibly facing homelessness, poverty, and incarceration after they age out of the system is 100% too many. Besides championing Lake Elsinore self-sufficiency in our area and providing family prospective resources, Independent Living Programs are created so that there can be a foundation for preventing any of these outcomes from happening to children.

Thankfully, however, the statistics of youth facing homelessness, poverty, crime involvement, and incarceration significantly decreased in the past decade thanks to the implementation of positive and life-preparing programs and continued support. At one point, about 70% of incarcerated adults were former foster youth who had lived in more than five homes! With the help of ILPs, we also hope to encourage youth to seek allies in social services in Lake Elsinore. No matter what stage of life a youth is in, we are committed to ensuring that they are never alone during any step of their journey.


At the end of the day, whether a youth is across the country or right here in Riverside County foster care, an Independent Living Program’s primary objective is to prepare youth for fulfilling and successful lives.

For additional information, contact your local county of residence.

Kamali'i Foster Family Agency
Corporate Office:
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
Riverside County Office
31772 Casino Drive, Suite B
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Voice (951) 674-9400
San Diego County Recruitment and Training Center:
Office Hours: By Appt. Only
145 Vallecitos de Oro, Suite 210
San Marcos, CA 92069
Voice (760) 761-4300