Progressive Cincinnati

The topic in Sunday's Forum was the Independent Living program run by Lighthouse Youth Services and Hamilton County. In a nutshell, the program places 17-yr-old foster kids in their own apartment. They are given some financial support, but other than that must operate pretty much on their own. They must hold down a part-time job, manage their income, their rent, their laundry, their meals, and all the while finish their (ideally) last year of high school.

It's a great program, especially when you consider most foster kids, upon turning 18, are "handed bus fare and their belongings in plastic garbage bags, sometimes being chauffeured to the nearest Salvation Army shelter." I know 18 is considered adult in our society, but how many 18-yr-olds do you know who can suddenly live on their own with no family?

I'd heard about Independent Living before from Sarah, who sees some of her kids enter foster care under Lighthouse, and from CityBeat. But this is what I never knew: the Lighthouse Independent Living program started right here in Cincinnati and is now considered a best-practices model being implemented all across the country.

Who knew Cincinnati was so progressive?

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