LINKS is the North Carolina Foster Care Independence Program for youth and young adults who have experienced time in foster care.

The 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.

In Wake County, youth who participate in LINKS typically meet once a week in the evening hours, to discuss current topics of interest, and engage in fun and rewarding conversation and activities.
 
Who is eligible?
All youth who are/were in WCHS custody between the ages 13–21.
 
 
Program Services

Youth ages 13–15
Assessments; Goal Planning; Tutoring & vocational exploration; Mental health services; School advocacy; Self-esteem building; Sex education; Anger management; Drug & alcohol education; Positive peer relationships; Food & Nutrition; Life books.
 
Youth ages 16–21
Assessments; Transitional planning; Post-secondary education planning; Parenting; Employment; Team building; Legal issues; Vocational training; Voter registration.
 
Youth ages 18–21
VPA Agreement; After-care case management services; ETV; Transitional Housing assistance; After-care support group; Ongoing referrals and assessments to promote continued self-sufficiency.
 
Foster Care 18 to 21 / Voluntary Placement Agreement
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.

Educational Training Voucher
A state-administered, federally funded financial assistance program that offers students up to $5,000 per year for college or vocational training.
Apply at statevoucher.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.
 
NC Reach
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. 


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Program Highlights
Fostering Bright Futures
Fostering Bright Futures Fellowship (FBFF) program is a public-private partnership that addresses the overwhelming need for a comprehensive support structure to assist foster youths in making the transition from the Wake County Foster Care System to independent young adulthood.

Making Proud Choices
STD, HIV and Pregnancy Prevention Curriculum, designed to reduce the incidence of unprotected sexual interactions in adolescents to assist in making responsible choices about the sexual health.

Transitional Support Group
Support group, training, and service referral for youth who have transitioned from foster care to acquire needed items to become self-sufficient.

Transitional Planning
Identify and develop specific activities for youth ages 16–21, to prepare for discharge from foster care.
 
LINKS Target Outcomes
Sufficient Economic Resources Safe & Stable Place to Live
Academic/Vocational Skills Sense of Connectedness
Avoid Illegal/High Risk Behavior Postpone Parenthood
Access Physical/Mental Health Services
Normalcy

 
 Community Partners
WCHS Faith Partnership
  
What if I opted out of LINKS and then later changed my mind?
 
Not to worry!  You can still participate in LINKS, as long as you are still eligible.

 

If you are interested in joining LINKS and are eligible, please contact:

Kimberly Gibson, LINKS Coordinator
220 Swinburne St., Raleigh

919-212-7856

Kimberly.Gibson@wakegov.com