Bridges extends housing and other supportive services to eligible young adults who leave foster care on or after their 18th birthday but are not yet 21 to more successfully transition to independence.
In 2016, Ohio became the 25th state to establish a IV-E extension program when Governor John Kasich signed Ohio House Bill 50. Unlike some states, Ohio did not expand its child welfare system. Instead, a new and distinct program was designed to provide supports to youths aging out of the system and help them successfully transition into adulthood. This is the Bridges Program. The Collaborative is proud to have been selected by ODJFS to administer this program as the arrangement marks the first time that a IV-E extension is managed in a single statewide network.
Bridges is a voluntary program available to young adults between ages 18 and 20 who leave foster care in Ohio and are in school, working, participating in an employment program, or have a medical condition that prevents them from going to school or working. The program provides guidance and support on their personal development path.
The program is designed by ODJFS and informed by public and private agency staff, juvenile court staff and other stakeholders including former foster youth.
Bridges provides the following participant benefits:
Provides assistance in finding and maintaining gainful employment
Ensures there is access to safe, stable and healthy housing
Links to appropriate physical and behavioral health services
Provides guidance in skill-building for lifelong self-sufficiency