Montana Chafee Foster Care Independence Program
The Montana Foster Care Independence Program (MCFCIP) is a part of the Child and Family Services Division of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
Youth in foster care face unique and difficult challenges as they turn eighteen and leave the foster care system. Studies indicate that they are less likely to finish high school and become self-supporting. They are also more likely to be homeless or to become parents at a young age. The MCFCIP strives to assist youth in the foster care system by offering benefits to eligible youth in order to avoid these circumstances.
The services offered by the MCFCIP are intended to help Montana foster youth get the life skills they need to make a successful transition into adulthood. By assisting youth in achieving self-sufficiency and obtaining future goals, the MCFCIP enables youth in the foster care system create a healthy lifestyle and a successful future.
To be eligible for the MCFCIP, a youth must be:
- Between the ages of 14-21, currently, or previously, in foster care, and likely to "age out" of the foster care system; or
- Adopted or placed into guardianship from foster care after reaching age 16.
- Obtaining a graduation equivalency degree, or GED;
- Obtaining a high school diploma;
- Accomplish other educational achievements;
- Acquiring volunteer experience;
- Satisfactory school performance;
- Enrolling in life skills groups;
- Enrolling in other activities intended to increase life skills and employability; and
- Obtaining full- or part-time employment.
Stipends are available for youth ages 14 to 21 whose transitional living plans indicate they need help paying for:
- Secondary school educational expenses, such as tuition, tutoring, books, or driver’s education;
- Vocational training, including apprenticeships;
- Job readiness assistance, such as preparing a resume, buying appropriate interview clothing, haircuts, etc.;
- Travel costs to school or job sites; and
- Setting up a dormitory room or apartment, including purchase of furniture, kitchen supplies, deposits, etc.
For more information about the Foster Care Independence Program, contact the Child and Family Services Division at (406) 841-2469 or email Samantha Mistar.