Older youth in foster care receive additional support and services to meet other people and develop skills to become successful as adults.
What is The LINKS Program?
The LINKS program is the North Carolina Foster Care Independence Program for youth and young adults who have experience in foster care.
In Wake County, youth who participate in LINKS typically meet (in-person or virtual) in the evening hours, to discuss current topics of interest and engage in fun and rewarding conversation and activities. The program provides services and resources to older youth in foster care:
Pre-LINKS Group (ages 9-12)
A 4-H Club for pre-teens and their siblings in foster care. The club offers a safe place for youth to talk with other youth in foster care and develop new skills. Groups are led by adult mentors.
Club meetings are currently running the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month virtually.
Please email or call Emma James for more information and how to enroll your foster child and siblings.
Youth Group (ages 13–15)
Assessments; Goal Planning; tutoring & job exploration; mental health services; school advocacy; self-esteem building; sex education; anger management; drug & alcohol education; positive/healthy peer relationships; food & nutrition; Life Books.
Youth Group (ages 16–21)
Assessments; Transitional planning; Post-high school education planning; Parenting; Employment; Team building; Legal issues; Vocational training; Voter registration.
Additional support for youth ages 18–21
After-care case management services; educational vouchers; housing assistance; After-care support group; Ongoing referrals and assessments to promote continued self-sufficiency.
For more information, contact Kimberly Gibson at Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is Eligible?
Youth ages 9-21 who are currently in foster care.
Programs for Youth in LINKS
NC Reach – A state-funded scholarship offered to qualified applicants for up to four years of undergraduate study at NC public colleges and universities. Available funding is awarded after other public funds and scholarships have been applied. NC Reach provides comprehensive student support, including mentors, care packages and internships.
Apply for NC Reach
Students are eligible for NC Reach if they are:
- Legal residents of North Carolina, eligible for in-state tuition rates
- Adopted from NC Division of Social Services (DSS) foster care after the age of 12, OR, aged out of NC DSS foster care at age 18 (they must have been in care on their 18th birthday)
- Enrolled in one of the 74 NC public community colleges, colleges or universities
- Under the age of 26 (participants remain eligible until their 26th birthday)
Fostering Bright Futures – A program to help youth attend Wake Technical College.
For a foster or former foster child to be eligible to participate in Fostering Bright Futures, they must:
- Be a Wake Tech student and legal resident of any North Carolina county
- Have a High school diploma or GED on file before Fall semester begins
- Be 18 to 24 years of age
- Complete and submit the FBF application by October 15th of each year
SAYSO – Statewide association of youth who are currently or have been in foster care.
Haven House – Wake County non-profit dedicated to helping youth find the help they need. They operate 11 programs for youth.
The Hope Center at Pullen – Wake County non-profit that connects youth aging out of foster care with support and resources they need.
LINKS Facebook Page – Information pertaining to upcoming LINKS events, activities, independent living and social opportunities are posted and updated on the LINKS Facebook Page.