Youth Homes has 10 comprehensive group care beds on the Ross campus where youth focus on developing independent living skills in an effort to prepare to move into a supervised apartment living (SAL) setting. Our Pre-Independent Living/Ongoing Transition (PILOT) program focuses on personal responsibility and the development of skills in education, employment, finances, time management, community integration and daily living.

The PILOT program is organized with a phase structure. There are specific program objectives attached to each phase which address basic skills in treatment plan objectives, educational goals, employment goals, independent living and community involvement. Beyond that, the specific needs of the children are taken into consideration and formulated into their individual phase system. All children entering the program begin on the Bronze Phase and continue working on individualized goals to move on to the Silver Phase and eventually the Gold Phase. Youth on the Gold Phase are nearing readiness to live independently.

PILOT program staff take an approach to dealing with behavior concerns that forces the issue of personal responsibility. Children accepted into this program have shown the ability to deal with frustration and other emotions with little or no need for physical assistance from staff members. The program’s focus is to give them as realistic a view of independent living as possible while still providing the support and treatment of a residential program.

We believe transitional planning is a critical part of treatment and discharge planning and that it is impossible to effectively do one without the others. Through our experience in developing and implementing the PILOT program, we have gained invaluable insight into how to best get these transitional processes in place. Through collaborative relationships with other human services providers in communities and through an understanding of the issues and concerns of children as they experience transition, we have been able to successfully transition children to independent living, to their family homes and to adulthood upon leaving foster group care.