Aftercare Program

Girl-Teen-on-Cell-Phone-187As a member of the Iowa Aftercare Services Network, Children’s Square U.S.A. provides voluntary services and support to young people ages 18-21 who have aged out of foster care or other court-ordered placement.  Aftercare services guide young people toward stability and self-sufficiency in six key areas: education, employment, housing, health, life skills and relationships. Participants meet at least twice monthly with a Self-Sufficiency Advocate (SSA), who partners with youth to help them address barriers and develop skills to achieve their individual goals. In addition, needs-based financial support is available to youth who qualify for the Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) program.

Aftercare services may be contacted several months prior to a young person’s planned exit from the foster care system, State Training School, or court-ordered detention. Aftercare SSAs are available to attend Youth Transition Decision-Making (YTDM) meetings, transition meetings, or other events related to a young person’s transition from care. Involvement prior to discharge helps SSAs build a relationship with eligible youth and facilitates a connection to Aftercare services.

What Services are Available?

The Iowa Aftercare Services Network can help youth:
• Work on a plan for self-sufficiencyiasn-forms
• Find and keep a safe place to live
• Pay for emergency and unexpected bills
• Find a doctor, dentist, or counselor
• Set and reach financial goals
• Go to college and/or get job training
• Find a job or career
• Connect with adult mentors or other community resources or opportunities
• Provide a stipend for an apartment, dormitory or continuation of foster home care for youth eligible for PAL

Who is eligible?

Iowa Aftercare Services Network can help if you are:
• A former foster care recipient who may have received services in a Family Foster Home, a Group Home or through a  DHS Supported Independent Living arrangement.
• At least 18 years old but not yet 21 years old and left foster care at age 17 1/2 or older.
• Currently living in Iowa.

Additional Programs and Components

Preparation for Adult Living (PAL)
Aftercare participants who left foster care after May 1, 2006, were at least age 18, and have a high school diploma or GED may be able to qualify for a monthly stipend to live in an approved living arrangement such as with former foster parents, in an apartment or a college dorm.
To qualify for the stipend, a PAL participant must be attending college, be in a work training program or be working. Regular meetings with a Self Sufficiency Advocate are also required.

Additional Resources

Medicaid Coverage/Title 19 (MIYA-Medicaid for Independent Young Adults)
Youth leaving foster care after turning 18 may be eligible  to continue receiving medical coverage each month until age 26. Be sure to let the Department of Humans Services know every time your address changes. An annual review must be completed to continue this coverage. To qualify you must continue to live in the state of Iowa. You may receive Medicaid even if you choose not to participate in Aftercare.

The MIYA coverage may help pay the cost of medication, health care, substance abuse treatment, or mental health treatment.
College Financial Aid
FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid
The FAFSA is the first step in the financial aid process. Youth use it to apply for federal student financial aid, such as the Pell Grant. The FAFSA can be completed online at

The state of Iowa offers two grant programs to help with college expenses: the Education & Training Voucher (ETV) Grant and the All Iowa Opportunity Foster Care Grant. Grants are free money that do not need to be repaid and are available to students who meet the specific requirements of each grant program. For more information, please visit and click on Scholarships and Grants or call 1-800-383-4222.

Children’s Square U.S.A. provides Aftercare services in 21 counties, Pottawattamie, Mills, Cass, Guthrie, Audubon, Shelby, Harrison, Carroll, Crawford and Monona, Woodbury, Plymouth, Cherokee, Ida, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Fremont, Page, Taylor and Ringgold.

If you live in one of these counties and want more information about Aftercare please call Mary Elks, Transition Services Supervisor at 712-325-5862.

For more information regarding Aftercare services and eligibility requirements, visit or call 800-443-8336 to be referred to an IASN provider.

It’s not about where you’ve been…It’s about where you’re going!