In 2014, the CES conducted a feasibility study to analyze the need for an Independent Living Program for youth “aging out” of foster care. As a result of the study, the CES discovered that there is no apartment-based Independent Living facility in AR with both housing and a life skills training/mentoring program. With approximately 5% of Arkansas’ foster youth “aging out” each quarter, the feasibility study showed that the lack of safe and stable housing options, and independent living support for these youth is resulting in suicide, homelessness, or incarceration.
In 2015, the Children’s Emergency Shelter Foundation purchased a 24-unit apartment complex adjacent to the current CES property. The goal for this apartment complex is to set up an Independent Living Program (ILP) designed to serve young adults, ages 18 and older that are preparing to “age out” or have already “aged out” of foster care.
As the feasibility study proved, the need to provide an Independent Living Program is one that Arkansas’ foster youth greatly need. The CES has the financial stability, expertise, and knowledge to help foster youth successfully transition into independence. The CES Independent Living Program will greatly impact the lives of the participants and ultimately set them on a path for independence so they become contributing members of society.