Will you soon be 18 and living on your own? Are you now or were you once in care of Children’s Services? Use this quick guide to figure out some basic steps to adult life you can take now.
When you turn 18, you’ll be an adult. Your resources and supports will change. If you put some things in place now, you will find it easier to move into adult life.
Who can help?
Do you have Children’s Services status or are you in care now?
If you are in care, your caseworker will help you make a plan. This will help you find resources to take care of your daily needs.
Were you once in care of Children’s Services or receiving services?
Even if you are not in care anymore, you may still be able to receive support for your basic living expenses. To find out if you qualify, call your caseworker.
- If you don’t know your caseworker’s name, call the office where you used to go.
- If you are living in a different town or region, call a local office.
If you don’t have a caseworker:
- Check the family and social supports provided by the Alberta government.
- Visit 211 Alberta and type “youth transitioning into adulthood” in the search box. You can find counselling services that can walk you through what you’ll need.
- Discover what other supports are available if you are Indigenous.
What basics do I need to think about?
Getting some of the things you need can be as simple as filling out some forms. Other things may take a bit more work. Resources for Youth Counsellors offers links for counsellors and young adults, addressing issues like child welfare, finding shelter, sexual exploitation, and safety awareness. Don’t worry. Your caseworker or a counsellor can help.
As a young adult, you will often be asked for identification (ID). You’ll need ID to cash a cheque, access healthcare, vote in an election, and many other things.
You need government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, to get other kinds of ID, such as a bank card or a copy of your birth certificate.
If you don’t drive, you can apply for another type of photo ID, such as an Alberta ID card. You’ll need a permanent address to do this.
Don’t have a permanent address? Various homeless shelters and emergency agencies may be able to help you get an address for this purpose, as well as money to pay for the ID.
Independence means taking care of your health every day. Part of this is getting help for new problems as they arise.
For basic health services, you’ll need an Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) Card. Find out how to apply.
How to connect with a healthcare provider
If you don’t have a healthcare card, some walk-in clinics don’t require them, such as:
- In Calgary (to age 24): The Alex Youth Health Centre, call 403-520-6270
- In Edmonton: Boyle-McCauley Health Centre, call 780-422-7333
Addiction and mental health
For help and support with substance use, check the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Addiction & Mental Health page. You’ll find helplines, programs near you, and resources created for young people.
You can also click on the Mental Health/Addictions icon at 211 Alberta.
For some issues, such as trauma, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD, you’ll need specific types of support. To find it, use the keyword search at 211 Alberta. Type in the name of your issue and then narrow your search to programs near you.
Mental health issues are increasingly being thought of as a type of disability, which opens up new types of support. If you have a disability, or think you might, learn about programs that can help you before and after you turn 18.
For details about everything from shelters and renting to the pros and cons of roommates, see Finding a Place to Live as a Young Adult.
Where can you get money? How can you spend less on things you need and keep more for things you want? For help with this, read How to Grow Your Bank Account When You’re Just Starting Out.
Food, clothing, and transportation
Go to 211 Alberta and click on the Food and Basic Needs icon. This will provide information on free or low-cost meals, clothing, transportation, and household goods.
Free internet and computer access
You probably already know that many businesses and all public libraries offer free internet. Many also provide free access to computers. For a detailed list, visit 211 Alberta.