Transitioning Youth to Adulthood

IFAPA Trainings

IFAPA offers trainings on working with teens and preparing them for adulthood. View the IFAPA Training Schedule to find upcoming dates and locations for these free training classes.


The Iowa Department of Human Services offers several options for youth that are preparing to exit the system. Below you will find a brief description of the available resources and links to related sites.

Transition Planning Specialists

The Department has five Transition Planning Specialists (TPS), who focus on resources available to teens in foster care. As teens prepare to exit the foster care system at age 18, there are numerous issues to take into consideration, such as

The TPS is prepared to assist with these issues and many more. Please view the chart below to locate the Transition Planning Specialist in your area.

HHS Transition Planning Specialists
TPS Name & Contact Information Counties They Cover
Kim Marks, TPS
Western Service Area
Council Bluffs Area HHS Office
417 Kanesville Blvd - Council Bluffs, IA 51503
712-328-4861 -

Audubon, Buena Vista, Carroll, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Fremont, Greene, Guthrie, Harrison, Ida, Kossuth, Lyon, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, O'Brien, Osceola, Page, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pottawattamie, Sac, Shelby, Sioux, Taylor, Woodbury

Kathy Berns, TPS
Northern Service Area
Black Hawk County HHS Office
1407 Independence Ave (PO Box 7500)
Waterloo, IA 50704
319-292-2368 -

Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Calhoun, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Howard, Humboldt, Marshall, Mitchell, Pocahontas, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Worth, Wright

Tai Brooks, TPS
Eastern Service Area
Scott County HHS Office
600 4th St, 3rd Floor
Davenport, IA 52801
563-326-8794 -
Cedar, Clinton, Des Moines, Dubuque, Henry, Jackson, Lee, Louisa, Muscatine, Scott
Teresa Jacobs, TPS
Cedar Rapids Service Area

Linn County HHS Office
411 3rd St SE, Suite 400
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
319-892-6818 -

Appanoose, Benton, Davis, Iowa, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Mahaska, Monroe, Poweshiek, Tama, Van Buren, Washington, Wapello

Jan Huff, TPS
Des Moines Service Area
Polk County HHS Office
2309 Euclid Ave - Des Moines, IA 50310
515-725-2740 -

Adair, Adams, Boone, Clark, Dallas, Decatur, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Polk, Ringgold, Story, Union, Warren, Wayne

Doug Wolfe - Transition Program Planner
515-242-5452 -
HHS Central Office - Division of Child & Family Services
5th Floor - Hoover Building - 1305 East Walnut - Des Moines, IA 50319



AMP (Achieving Maximum Potential)

AMP is a youth-driven, statewide group that seeks to unleash the full potential for personal growth among foster and adoptive children in Iowa. AMP offers leadership opportunities, service learning projects, speaking opportunities, and educational/vocational assistance. AMP also provides the life skills youth need to become self-sufficient, independent adults.
More on AMP


Iowa Aftercare Services Network (IASN)

Voluntary services and support offered through the Iowa Aftercare Services Network (IASN) are designed to help youth leaving a court-ordered placement by using a strength-based approach to: ensure basic needs are met, identify sources of social and emotional support, make connections to community resources, set goals and develop plans, increase knowledge and develop skills. Participants meet at least twice monthly with a Self-Sufficiency Advocate (SSA), who partners with youth to help them address barriers and develop skills to achieve their individual goals. In addition, needs-based monthly financial support is available to youth who qualify for the Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) program.

Aftercare Services should be contacted several months prior to a young person’s planned exit from the foster care system. Aftercare SSAs are available to attend Family Team Decision-Making meetings, transition meetings, or other events related to a young person’s transition from care. Involvement prior to discharge helps SSAs build a relationship with eligible youth and facilitates a connection to Aftercare services.

For more information regarding Aftercare services and eligibility requirements visit or call 800-443-8336 to be referred to an IASN provider.

Joanie Havel, Aftercare Coordinator
Youth Policy Institute of Iowa
7025 Hickman Road, Suite 4 - Urbandale, IA 50322


Expanded Medicaid for Independent Young Adults

The purpose of Expanded Medicaid for Independent Young Adults (E-MIYA) program is to provide continued health coverage to young adults transitioning from foster care to adulthood.

E-MIYA Eligibility Definitions - E-MIYA currently provides Medicaid coverage to eligible youth who are:

Youth covered under the E-MIYA program receive physical, dental, and mental health coverage. Youth covered by the E-MIYA program receive covered services through existing Medicaid provider networks. For this program annual eligibility determination is required. If you are exiting foster care, your case manager will assist ensuring your health care coverage continues. If you find you do not have coverage, you may apply via an application on the HHS website. For more information about benefits or to apply for coverage, visit:


Rent Assistance

The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) oversees a direct rent subsidy component of the Iowa Aftercare Services Network. This program is designed for aftercare participants who do not qualify for the PAL stipend. The IFA may be able to subsidize an apartment up to $450/mo. Youth are responsible for paying the remainder of the rent. The goal is for IFA aftercare participants to have some type of income and be working toward self-sufficiency.
More info on Rent Assistance


Friends Grants

IFAPA has received special money from Chafee Funds for teens (age 14 and older) in foster care that can only be requested through June 30, 2017. This special grant can be accessed through IFAPA's Friends of Children in Foster Care Program. These grants will be available for up to $500 per youth for items such as: extracurricular activities, educational tutoring, senior photos, prom attire, class rings, camps, etc. This funding is for all teens (14 years and older) in a foster care placement including shelter, foster family homes, group care, & supervised apartment living. To apply for this special funding, please complete a FRIENDS APPLICATION and submit to IFAPA.

Iowa Youth Dream Teams

Iowa has eight Community Partnership for Protecting Children (CPPC) sites involved in the Transitioning Youth Initiative (TYI) that have created shared decision-making teams to focus on issues that youth face as they “age out” of foster care and transition into adulthood. Through the TYI efforts, the Iowa Youth Dream Team (IYDT) planning process has been developed. The process is a youth-centered practice model that empowers youth to take control of their lives and dreams. Supportive adults and peers create a team that helps the youth make connections to resources, education, employment, health care, housing and supportive personal and community relationships. Through these connections and relationships, young people are better able to gain access to and take advantage of the resources, knowledge, and skills to support themselves and realize their life’s dreams.
Youth that want to start an Iowa Youth Dream Team, will visit with a Formal Facilitator to get to know one another, put together an “All About Me” presentation to share with their team, and decide who the youth wants to invite to be team members. Iowa Youth Dream Team’s first gathering involves:

The gatherings are lead by the youth with the support of a Formal Facilitator and “best” friend. A “Coach” may emerge from the team as a natural adult support and team coordinator after the “formal facilitator” steps out.
The youth can decide how many gatherings to have depending upon their needs and wishes. The hope is that long-term relationships will be developed between the youth and the team members.
Currently, youth living in or supported by the 8 CPPC sites involved in TYI can request an Iowa Youth Dream Team. Beginning this fall and winter four additional areas of the state will begin the start-up phase.  Right now in most of the eight areas, IYDTs can be funded as a Family Team Meeting (FTM) for youth under age 18 who are in the system.  The criteria for the formal facilitator is that they attend our one and a half day training and are coached, evaluated, approved, and are also HHS approved FTM facilitators. 
To find contact information for the various community partnership sites, click here.


Casey Life Skills Assessment (CLSA)

Casey Life Skills Assessment (CLSA) is a free tool that assesses the behaviors and competencies youth need to achieve their long term goals. It aims to set youth on their way toward developing healthy, productive lives. Iowa utilizes this assessment as a “tool” to identify life skills strengths and needs for youth in out of home placement starting at age 16. Examples of the life skills CLSA helps youth self-evaluate include:

CLSA is designed to be used in a collaborative conversation between an educator, mentor, case worker, or other service provider and any youth between the ages of 14 and 21. It is appropriate for all youth regardless of whether they are in foster care, live with their biological parents, or reside in a group home.

Youth typically will require 30-40 minutes to complete the CLSA. Their answers are available instantly for you to review with the youth in a strengths-based conversation that actively engages them in the process of developing their goals.

HHS has created a short webinar for you to view that will explain the process of how to have your youth take the CLSA, and how to use the results of the assessment to continue to work with the youth on improving their life skills for chances of a more successful transition to adulthood. To view recording go to the HHS Service Training website: . Use the navigation bar at the top of the screen and go to Resources and scroll down to Webinars and then Click on Casey Life Skills Assessment for Providers.

Please view the Instruction Sheet for easy reference when you have a youth that needs to complete the Assessment.


Iowa State Bar Association

On Your Own - Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities as an Adult
"On Your Own" is a website that provides valuable legal information for teens and young adults. When you turn 18 years old, you are now a "legal" adult. You can now vote, make contracts, and be registered for Selective Service. But you will also be treated as an adult in court. So you need to understand, respect, and obey the law. This website lists some of the many laws/legal issues that you need to understand. It is important to remember that if you find yourself in trouble there is help available. You are not alone.



FosterClub's Transition (to Adulthood) Toolkit
Things People Never Told Me (Advice for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care)
It's Transition Time - Don't Leave Foster Care Without These 21 Things
Permanency Pact (life-long, kin-like connections between a youth and a supportive adult)
Preparing for My Transition to Adulthood
Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood: Guidance for Foster Parents
(Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway)
Supporting Youth Who Transition Out of the Foster Care System at Age 18
(Source: Coalition for Children Youth & Families - Wisconsin)
Free Life Skills Training from Vstreet
Telling Your Money What to Do - The Young Adult's Guide to Budgeting Their Money
IEP Transition Planning: Preparing for Young Adulthood
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability/ Youth Involved in Foster Care
50 Ways to Help Youth Transition to Adulthood
Resources for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood
Camellia Network



College Planning / Scholarships


Additional Online Resources






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