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Leaving Care and Stepping Into Adulthood

If you are between 16 and 24 years and can’t count on family support, here are some steps you can take toward becoming an independent adult.

Maybe you are already on your own. Or maybe you have been in care or had Children’s Services status. When you turn 18, you may not be able to use many of the programs and supports you’re using now. That makes this a good time to plan your next steps and learn what resources are out there for you as a young, independent adult.

Make a career plan

Planning a career doesn’t have to be a ton of work. Don’t think of it as figuring out what to do with the rest of your life. That’s too much, and too far in the future. Life happens, and things change. But if you have an idea of what you want to happen for the next 5 years—or 10 if it’s not too daunting—you’re off to a good start. Working out a few goals is a great step into adulthood and career planning.

Find someone to talk to

At any age, the first step in making changes is finding someone to talk to about your plans, challenges, and hopes. Talk to someone you trust and respect, preferably someone a little older. This could be a family member, caseworker, community program worker, Elder, teacher, or almost anyone else who has a bit more life experience and a broader perspective than you.

If you’re under 18 and you have a caseworker, use them as a resource. They can help with your transition plan and provide a useful sounding board for your ideas. More importantly, they can make sure you’re accessing programs you need before you reach the cut-off age of 18.

Don’t remember your caseworker’s name?

Imagine your next 5+ years

Will you still be in school? Will you have a child, or a ticket for a skilled trade, or both? To start planning your career, think about what the videos in this article have to say about dreams and how you can follow yours.

My Choices, My Work, My Life is a workbook full of stories and exercises that can help you move closer to your vision of life.

Once you’ve identified your dreams, go back to Career Planning: Make Your Dreams a Reality. Explore what you’ll need to do to turn your dreams into smart, achievable goals.

Remember, you don’t have to do this by yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone you trust who has a little more experience under their belt.

Get to know yourself

CAREERinsite’s Know Yourself section can help you think about what you want out of life and work. The quizzes and exercises will help you figure out your:

The Know Yourself quizzes are a fun way to discover who you are. Sign up for a free account (top right corner) so you can save your results and store information about your career goals, education plan, and job search.

If you like it and find it useful, try taking some of the other tests you can find online, like the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator, Enneagram, Big 5 Personality Test, or the Values and Motives Inventory.

Make some decisions

Once you’ve set a few goals and explored who you are, you can decide if all of this means you want to explore education and training, look for work, or choose something else. Again, your caseworker, family member, Elder, or teacher can help you.

Information to help you transition

If you’re looking for specific services and resources, the following pages can help:

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