Independent Living Services for Children and Youth with Disabilities
On April 14, 2017, Bob Williams, Director of Independent Living Administration, provided additional explanation regarding services by Centers to youth, related both to the more traditional IL services and to the new core service of transition, specifically to youth and young adults with disabilities as they transition to postsecondary life once they are no longer receiving a secondary education. The full text of the letter and guidance can be found on our website. Here are some key points.
- Centers for Independent Living (CILs) must provide independent living (IL) core services to individuals with a significant disability, regardless of age, income or disability type. This includes services to children and youth with disabilities. Recent changes to the law and regulations have not changed this general requirement.
- In the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) Congress added new IL core services that target specific populations. This includes a focus on youth who are out of school. The text of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Sec. 7 (17) (E) says that centers are to:
(iii) Facilitate the transition of youth who are individuals with significant disabilities, who were eligible for individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)), and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school, to postsecondary life.
- WIOA defines youth with a disability to mean “an individual with a disability who is not younger than 14 years of age; and is not older than 24 years of age.” ACL adopted this definition in the final IL regulation. This differs from the definitions that others might choose, including NCIL who defines a youth as someone through age 26.
- IL services are available to pre-school children, youth who are in school, and youth who are out of school. To help understand the full spectrum of services available, it is essential to recognize the distinction between the core transition services for out-of-school youth with significant disabilities and other IL services provided to pre-school children and youth who are still in school.
You will need to determine how the service provided to a youth with a disability should be captured and reported on the annual performance report. A service provided to a child or youth with disabilities too young for or enrolled in a secondary education program would NOT be captured and reported as a new youth-in-transition core service. The service would be captured and reported as another IL service. A service provided to a youth with disabilities who is no longer in a secondary school and satisfies other regulatory criteria, may be captured and reported as a new core service. The FAQ sheet includes a chart to better clarify how youth should be counted when reporting their services.
- The Act remains unchanged in IL services CILs may offer pre-school and youth in school. Services include: “training to develop skills … (that) promote self-awareness and esteem, develop advocacy and self-empowerment skills, and explore career options” and other “services to children”. (Section 7 (18)(B)(xvi) and (xvii).
WIOA adds new core services to the Act that include: “Facilitate the transition of youth who are individuals with significant disabilities, who were eligible for individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)), and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school, to postsecondary life.
We will examine this further in the next post to this blog.