1.     I’m in a foster home/group home/shelter right now, why should I participate with the PAL Program?

Great question!  What’s in it for me?  I can think of 1,000 reasons! There are many reasons to participate with the PAL Program.  The major reason is for the benefits!  By attending life skills training classes while you’re still in care, you not only get information and skills you will need when you become an adult, but you become eligible to receive a transitional living allowance.  Currently this allowance is $1,000 dollars payable in payments not to exceed $500 dollars per month.

2.     I’m turning 18 in a few months and can’t wait to get out of foster care; what should I be doing?

Simple answer – PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!  You’ll need to know where you’re going to be living, where your money is coming from, and what you want to do for a living.  While the answer is simple; it’s not always easy to do.  That’s why you should put the system to work for you.  You should have a Circle of Support staffing done (ask your foster care worker), and work closely with your PAL Coordinator to make sure you’ve had all your classes.  Have a plan and make sure everyone is doing what needs to be done to put the plan into action – this includes things you need to do.

3.     I recently turned 18 – what now?

If you don’t know who your State PAL Coordinator is, contact us and ask for a referral to an Aftercare Case Manager, who will setup a time to meet to consider your options is – call us at 713-250-7000!

4.     I hear that some youth get money to help out when they turn 18 – what’s that all about and how do I get mine?

Strangely enough, what you heard is TRUE!  Eligible youth between 18 and 21 who aged out of foster care can receive After Care Room and Board Assistance.  Assistance is based on the availability of funds which may be used  for rent, rental deposits, utilities, and food/groceries.

5.     My worker is telling me I’ve got to find a place to live – HELP!

HELP is the keyword, ask your State PAL Coordinator or Aftercare Case Manager. There are many living arrangements you may choose from. Some youth continue living in the foster home, rent a room from a friend or former foster family, live in a college dorm, apartments, and transitional shelters. You don’t have to be on the street – there are places to stay.

6.     I was staying with a friend’s family, but now things have changed and I’ve got to move – where can I go?

Things change and sometimes it can disrupt your plans. Don’t panic – we’re here to help. There are many living arrangements available. While it may be necessary to stay in a transitional shelter for a short period, we can assist you in putting together a plan that will put you on the path to independence and a place of your own.

7.     I’m over 18 and have been living with friends for a while now. I really need to go to the dentist. Is there any help available?

The State of Texas has extended Medicaid benefits to former foster care youth beyond the age of 18. If you have your Medicaid card contact Medicaid and find a doctor in your area and make an appointment. If you don’t have your Medicaid card, contact your Aftercare Case Manager and they can assist you in getting your Medicaid started up again. It’s a great benefit – use it!

8.     I dropped out of high school in the 10th grade. Now, I think I’m ready to get my diploma or GED. What do I do?

Good idea! Individuals who graduate or have a GED earn more money. Individuals who go to college make even more money. Call your Aftercare Case Manager and/or come into the HAY Center. We can get you into the correct educational program, and in many cases, help pay for it.

9.     I hear that other former foster youth get to go to college for free. Is this true?

TRUE! Youth who aged out of the Texas foster care system can receive a tuition waiver to attend any state supported school in Texas, if they apply before the age of 25. With additional financial aid to help with other expenses, that means it’s FREE!

10.     What’s E.T.V. and can I get it?

It just keeps getting better! E.T.V. (Educational Training Voucher) is money available to help pay for educational expenses not covered with the tuition waiver. To find out more, contact your Aftercare Case Manager or State PAL Coordinator. You must apply and actually receive assistance prior to age 21.

11.     Since I turned 18, the only job I’ve been able to get pays too little. I need to make more money! How can HAY Help?

It costs money to live on your own, but all too often entry- level jobs don’t pay a lot of money.  We can help you get the training, education, and skills necessary to get a better job.  There are many informational workshops, center partners, and training programs available to get you to the next level.  Come see us.

12.     I’ve got a friend who was in my group home who now lives in his own apartment. He says that PAL is helping pay his rent. Is this true? How can I get my own place too?

TRUE again! Eligible youth who aged out of foster care can receive After Care Room and Board Assistance to help pay deposits and rent. Contact your Aftercare Case Manager to find out more.

13.     What’s the HAY Center all about?

The HAY Center is a place where current and former foster care youth can receive services part of the PAL Program. All life skills training and aftercare services are housed at the HAY Center. In addition to PAL Aftercare Services, the HAY Center houses many community-based partners who offer services to youth. Activities, Programs, Classes, and Services are all here under one roof! The HAY Center is a fun, youth focused place!

14.     Who can I talk to about making plans for my future?

There are many caring adults who are willing to help you reach your full potential. Start early in the planning process, and keep your options open. Take advantage of the Circle of Support planning sessions while still in care, and make sure you are involved in your plan and follow-up to make sure things are taking place on schedule. Your State PAL Coordinator, the in-care case manager, aftercare case manager will also help you make plans and assist you in making it a reality. You’re in charge – so make it happen!