As a Center for Independent Living, BCIL provides its five core services to people of all ages, including those under 22. Services are aimed at empowering young people to make a smooth transition from youth to adult services. While the five core services are the same, BCIL youth staff work with the consumer to tailor services to the unique needs of youth and their families. Unlike other programs, there is no age requirement and BCIL will work with youth to prepare for life after high school, and continue to work with them after educational services have ended to support them in their transition to the adult world.
The services that BCIL provides include:
Information & referral connects youth to
- options for life after high school
- resources for obtaining in-home services
Skills training specifically help youth to
- set short-term and long term goals
- learn to access community services and resources
- learn to navigate more easily in a world with unpredictable barriers
- learn to self-advocate for legal rights, benefits, and services
Advocacy supports youth to
- speak for themselves
- advocate for needed services and supports, including assistance in the process of developing an Individual Education Plan (IEP)
- become involved in systemic changes
Peer mentoring provides a team approach to address
- self-esteem building
- self-confidence building
- living with a disability
While services for adults are often focused on understanding and connecting to benefits, services for youth focus on developing self-advocacy skills that will assist the young person in being successful in their school and community. Goals worked on with youth include obtaining a driver’s permit, applying to college, being a driving member of their IEP team, finding summer employment or programs, accessing the RIDE and other transportation systems, and understanding their rights as a person with a disability are a few examples of what youth have chosen to work on.
BCIL has staff dedicated to working with young people and have greatly increased the number served by forming relationships with several school systems and various agencies. BCIL also has two programs dedicated to transition age youth – the Transition to Adulthood Program and the Transition Internship Program.