North County Lifeline

North County Lifeline is a community-based, human services organization that works to give North County San Diego’s low-income youth and families the tools they need to solve their own problems and become self-reliant.

Location: Oceanside , CA
Year founded: 1973

Description

At North County Lifeline we believe that all youth and their families deserve the opportunity for success.

Lifeline is passionate about helping people in our community overcome the obstacles that prevent them from leading successful and productive lives. We offer more than 40 programs that focus on youth development, behavioral health, human trafficking, child abuse prevention, domestic violence intervention, dispute resolution, and fair housing. Last year, our team served more than 24,000 people and provided intensive coaching or clinical services to more than 7,600 to strengthen coping skills and break the cycle of poverty, violence, and neglect.

Our programs depend on the generous support of organizations like the Jewish Teen Foundation. Lifeline is currently seeking funding to support LifeSpring, our program dedicated to serving the needs of at-risk foster youth who are transitioning from the foster care system to independent adulthood.


LifeSpring - Transition Age Foster Youth Program

About

LifeSpring is a 24 month housing
and intensive case management program that
offers transition age youth the support they need to become self-reliant.
LifeSpring offers youth transitional
housing, one-on-one
individual coaching from a case manager, employment counseling, and
financial assistance.



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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

The mission and purpose of the LifeSpring program is to provide transition age foster youth with transitional housing and the support they need to assist transition to independent adulthood.

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Program Description

LifeSpring offers program services that
address the needs of transitioning foster youth ages 18 to 24:

Transitional Housing – LifeSpring offers youth subsidized housing adjacent to Lifeline’s Vista campus where they receive the full array of North County Lifeline’s services.

Coaching and Counseling – Each youth is assigned a Lifeline counselor who provides daily support  to help them achieve their educational, employment, and financial objectives.

Life Skills Workshops – LifeSpring delivers a workshop series that provides social emotional education, builds employment competencies, and develops social networking skills.

Barrier Busters – Transition age youth do not have families to help them cover unexpected expenses. LifeSpring steps in by assisting with move-in costs and emergency cash.


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Demonstrated Need

Most foster youth are on their own without family support at age 18.

Each year more than 300
youth in San Diego County turn 18 and leave the foster care system. These teens
are expected to make it on their own with little to no support. Not surprisingly,
a significant number of young people – who are usually described as “transition
age foster youth” – immediately face big problems:

  • 36% become homeless within 18 months.
  • 51% are unemployed within two to four years.
  • 50% of all female foster youth become pregnant by age 19.
  • 25% are incarcerated within
    two years. In fact, 70% of California prison inmates are former
    foster youth.

The
challenges of growing up without the support of a mother and father are big
factors that contribute to these shocking statistics; however, it’s difficult
for anyone to be independent at age 18. Most kids raised in traditional
families receive help and financial support from their parents long after they
turn 18 and they don’t become independent until age 26. Young people leaving
the foster care system are even less prepared to be self-sufficient than those
raised in traditional families.

Youth
in our LifeSpring program have experienced difficult
upbringings, oftentimes having moved between multiple homes, schools, and sometimes
cities. Many have mental health issues resulting from a lifetime of trauma,
trust issues caused by a lack of consistent support, educational disadvantages,
and barriers to employment.


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Program Accomplishments

North County Lifeline was created
by a citizen's committee in 1969 to assist youth faced with the issues of drug
use, alienation, and isolation. Incorporated in 1973, Lifeline has since expanded
to provide vital services to disadvantaged populations throughout North County
San Diego. The organization now has 100 employees and over 650 volunteers.

The LifeSpring program was launched in 2013 as a transitional
housing program for up to six transition age foster youth. The program was soon
expanded to include life-skills workshops and counseling services to assist youth
on their path to self-reliance.

In 2014, Lifeline and Cal State University San
Marcos teamed up to create the North County TAY (Transition Age Youth) Collaborative.
The TAY Collaborative now coordinates a network of more than ten service providers
to share referrals, align youth services, establish educational pathways, and
build a youth coalition in North County. Donald Stump, Executive Director of
North County Lifeline, serves as co-chair for the collaborative.

In 2015, Lifeline partnered with the non-profit housing developer,
Community Housing Works, to offer ten units in a new City of Vista apartment
complex as housing for LifeSpring youth. In recognition of this project, Lifeline and
Community Housing Works received a 2015 Ruby Award from the San Diego Housing
Federation. The Ruby Award recognizes Lifeline’s collaboration with Community
Housing Works for outstanding support on an affordable housing development
project. Read more here:http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/apr/24/northcounty-lifeline-rubyaward-foster-housing-coac/

Lifeline’s
human trafficking and youth programs also received the following recognition in
2015:

In
May, Lifeline received the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. The award
recognizes Project LIFE, our program that works to put a stop human trafficking
and child sexual exploitation. Read more here:

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/partnerships_and_outreach/community_outreach/dcla/2014/san-diego

In
August, the Oceanside City Council recognized Lifeline’s Club Crown Heights
soccer team for their first place victory in Oceanside’s annual beach soccer
tournament. Read more here:

http://www.osidenews.com/2015/05/19/crown-heights-soccer-team-wins-championship/


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How do you measure the success of your program?

The success of the LifeSpring program is measured
by the progress our youth make towards self-reliance.

Youth
in the LIfeSpring program establish short-term objectives that build life-skills
and create a path to independence. Short-term objectives are aligned to
housing, employment, education, and financial goals.

Housing – The program provides transitional housing for up to 24 months for youth who maintain a full-time educational program, full-time employment, or a combination of educational programs and employment. Youth in the program must also comply with the terms of their LifeSpring rental agreement. 

Employment and Education – The program focuses initially on improving employment “soft skills” and helping youth find work that meets their immediate budget requirements. Objectives then build to increase the youth’s employability by enhancing job skills and completing educational or vocational programs that create career paths and increase income potential.

Financial Goals – LifeSpring youth develop and maintain a household budget, open bank accounts and learn to manage them, pay their household expenses, and work to increase their income and
credit score.

Each youth’s plan is established as a joint effort with their LifeSpring
counselor. The counselor monitors progress towards short- and long-term goals, ensures
youth maintain full-time productivity, and teaches life skills such as time
management and decision-making. Last year, 100% of youth in the program met the
program’s full-time productivity goal within three months of moving in the LifeSpring
apartments. 

There are three drivers of success for the LifeSpring program.
First, the program resolves the most pressing need for transitional youth
at-risk of homelessness by providing transitional housing. Second, youth are
held accountable for being productive and working toward life goals in order to
stay in the program. Finally, through its mental health and behavioral health services,
Lifeline has the resources on hand to address more fundamental issues if needed.

Specific program
outcomes and measures for each are listed in the Other Questions section of our
application.


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