What happens after you leave foster care or the juvenile justice system?
Nebraska's Connected Youth Initiative offers an array of services and resources designed to assist young people in and transitioning from systems of care - such as foster care and probation - as you work toward self-sufficiency and interdependence.
To access any of the services included on this website – plus so much more – contact the Central Navigator in your area. Text “HELP” to 402-226-5842 or 308-280-8383.
CYI Coaching Services
You have access to a CYI Coach that will partner with you to achieve your goals!
CYI Coaches are available in every Nebraska county to partner with you and meet with you 1:1 to set goals, develop skills, and access resources that will help you be successful and thrive. YOU are in the driver’s seat, and YOU determine how much you want to engage in Coaching. You can connect with your Coach as much - or as little - as you need until your 26th birthday, but the relationships are forever!
You can access CYI Coaching by contacting the Central Navigator in your area.
Chafee Independent Living Services
Were you in foster care at age 14 or older?
There is an Independent Living Coach waiting to partner with you!
This 1:1 coaching support (kind of like have a case manager that is also your cheerleader) is available to young people that are currently in - or were in - foster care and are younger than age 23. It is voluntary and YOU are in control and choose your own goals. Your coach is there to help you successfully transition to interdependence after living in foster care.
You can access Coaching by contacting the Central Navigator in your area.
Preparation for Adult Living Services (PALS)
Have you heard of PALS?
PALS is 1:1 coaching support - provided by an awesome CYI partner organization called Central Plains Center for Services - that provides help and guidance to navigate the challenges of becoming independent.
Each of you have different goals and a PALS Coach will partner with you to help you achieve your goals.
You can access PALS Coaching Services by contacting the Central Navigator in your area.
Bridge to Independence (B2i) Extended Foster Care
Are you going to age out of Nebraska foster care soon?
The Bridge to Independence Program – also called B2i – can help you move successfully into adulthood by giving you support, health insurance and living costs until you turn 21.
If you are on track to age out of foster care in Nebraska or have already aged out of foster care or were discharged into independent living, you can enroll in the Bridge to Independence Program when you turn 19. Instead of a caseworker, you will work with an Independence Coordinator whose job is to help you reach your goals and be by your side. As long as you are eligible, you can join and leave the program at any time. The choice is up to you. But, to participate in the program, you have to be in school, working, and/or participating in a job program, or have a medical condition which makes you unable to work. You also have a right to an attorney, who will work for you to make sure you are getting everything you need.
Talk with your caseworker, GAL, or CYI Coach about it! To check if you are eligible and to sign-up, contact DHHS at 402-471-3121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Ward Personal Record Request
Need your personal record or a former ward status letter?
Former Nebraska state wards can receive personal records that are kept by the Division of Children and Family Services at Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Former wards can also request verification letters to show they were a Nebraska state ward. Verification letters are requested for grants, housing, financial aid and other programs.
Ready for the road?
Financial support is available to help pay for your driver’s education. You may be eligible to receive financial support to cover this cost if you were in foster care at age 14 or older and currently between 16 and 23 years of age.
You can access Driver’s Education financial support by contacting the Central Navigator in your area or contacting Central Plains Center for Services directly.
Medicaid for Former Foster Youth
Getting peace of mind about health care helps you focus on school, careers, and important areas to build a successful adult life.
Youth who were in foster care at the age of 18 or 19 may be eligible to receive health care coverage until they turn 26.
Youth meeting these eligibility requirements will receive full Medicaid benefits which includes physical health, mental health, vision, and dental coverage.
- Be age 25 or younger
- Received Medicaid at age 18 or 19 (If you're not sure if you received Medicaid benefits at this age, call ACCESSNebraska at (855) 632-7633)
- Were in foster care for at least one day, and under the responsibility of Nebraska or a Nebraska Tribe at the age of 18 or 19
- Not be eligible for or enrolled through another Medicaid category, including: 1) Parent / Caretaker Relatives, 2) Pregnant Women or 3) Blind or Disabled
If you believe you are eligible, you can apply HERE!
Support for Expectant and Parenting Youth
- Home Visiting: Home Visiting is a free, voluntary program that supports parents and families just like you! Nebraska Home Visiting is a network across the state; for more information call 402-471-1938 to get connected to a program near you or contact the Central Navigator in your area.
- Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies: 24/7 parenting helpline that you can call at 1-800-862-1889.
- Women, Infant and Children (WIC): WIC serves pregnant and postpartum young women and children up to age 5. They can provide you with food vouchers, health screens and lead tests. Call 1-800-942-1171 or visit http://www.signupwic.com/ for additional resources. You can also receive assistance in applying for WIC by contacting the Central Navigator in your area.
- Nebraska Total Care: Start Smart for Your Baby® is a program for pregnant women and new moms. It is designed to customize the support and care you need for a healthy pregnancy and baby and it will not cost you a thing.
- Health Care Coverage Enrollment Assistors - Nebraskans can sign up for health coverage with the help of Enrollment Assisters. Enrollment Assisters, from local Navigators and Certified Application Counselors (CACs), can answer specific questions about applying for Medicaid and the Health Insurance Marketplace. Assisters can also assist with your application for these programs. Find an enrollment assister near you.
- Medicaid to Age 26 - The Affordable Care Act makes sure that Americans have affordable health insurance coverage. One part of the ACA focuses specifically on youth who were formerly in foster care. Many young adults who were in foster care at age 18, or aged out of foster care at 19, may be eligible to receive Medicaid coverage until they are 26. Apply for Medicaid.
- Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska - As of October 1, 2021, Medicaid expanded to cover Nebraskans who previously did not qualify. Those being paid up to $1,481/month for a household of 1 and $2,525/month for a household of 3 may be eligible. All Medicaid expansion enrollees have access to all Nebraska Medicaid benefits, including dental, vision, and over-the-counter drug coverage.
- Health Insurance Marketplace
iFoster helps kids and young people in foster care access resources and opportunities across the country.
Becoming an iFoster member can help you! As a member, you are eligible to receive free or discounted stuff like laptops, cell phones, eye exams, tutoring, event tickets, and much more. iFoster has several programs for members including things like:
- Digital Locker to help manage your important documents and appointments
- Jobs Program for self-directed jobs training and connections with major employers like Starbucks and CVS to get first in line for interviews
- AmeriCorps program to serve at sites in California
- Online Foster Care Community to connect with other young people and organizations
- Resource Portal
- Tech Program
JOIN iFoster! It's free!