Independent Living Program

CHD’s Independent Living Program is a voluntary program serving young adults between the ages of 17-22 years referred by the Department of Children and Familes. Independent Living is a scattered-site program, meaning each youth is placed in his/her own apartment throughout the Greater Springfield, Massachusetts area. The program offers guidance in acquiring skills that will help young adults make the transition to independence and self-sufficiency. Clients are provided with individual apartments, basic utilities and assistance in daily living expenses. Multiple individual visits are made with each client weekly by their assigned caseworker. These weekly meetings assist with independent living skills and connect clients with community resources. Participants are required to attend school, work and save a portion of their earnings.

Areas of focus include:

Education – GED, High School Diploma, career training, college financial aid (FASFA, Scholarships, Community Resources)

Work Readiness – Development of a resume, obtaining job references, job hunting, completion of applications, interviewing skills and developing a positive work ethic

Daily Living Skills – Nutrition, personal & environmental hygiene, sexual health, parenting skills, mental health and money management

Case Management / Treatment Planning – Advocacy with state and federal agencies, advocacy with the court system, advocacy with mental health providers

Crisis Intervention – 24-hour emergency support services

One former client tells her story:

My mother went to jail when I was 17 so I got put into DSS custody, and through them is where CHD came in.  They had this independent living program, and there were rules I had to follow that I didn’t like.  I remember hating the program and hating the woman who really changed my life. She was the first person who ever gave me structure and rules, and I had to follow things that—I grew up doing what I wanted, when I wanted.  There was never anybody to tell me what to do.  So I remember it just being really hard for me.  Like, who do you think you are telling me what to do?  Like, I can do what I want.  But, really, having that structure was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I had part of the rules where that I had to go to school, and I had to put a portion of the money that I was making at work aside, so that way I would have something when I got out of the program.  And the school, again, I wouldn’t have known how to fill out an application or what to do or where to go.  There was nobody in my life that had ever done those things before to be able to show me.  So she really held my hand and walked me through the process and got me in school.  And it was then that I realized that not only did I like it, but it was something I was actually good at and could excel at, and people were proud of me and I felt proud of myself…. Thank you for showing me a life outside of the one I knew.”

246 Park Street, West Springfield, MA 01089-(413)781-6556