Independent Living Skills for Adolescents


The Independent Living Skills program provided by Orion Family Services is designed to teach and enhance a variety of living skills. The ultimate goal is to help an adolescent become self-sufficient. The program emphasizes interdependence, the ability to live harmoniously with others. Interdependence is a higher skill because it requires cooperation, compromise, assertiveness, confrontations, negotiations, and sharing.

Independent living skills can range from the obvious skills of opening and maintaining and a checking account, apartment hunting, and doing laundry, to the more complex skills of problem solving, career development, and personal relationships. We believe that the best way to learn is through doing. As much of the skill training as possible takes place in the community. We encourage youth to learn about banking by talking to bank employees, or about finding an apartment and signing a lease by talking to landlords. We try to create learning situations that are the "real thing."

Participants complete short surveys that helps identify their independent living needs and plans of action. In addition, adolescents identify areas of living that are important to them, such as finding employment or pursuing higher education. Staff members meet with participants weekly, or more often if necessary. This is a voluntary program, and will succeed only if participants are interested in gaining additional skills and receiving assistance to meet their goals.

The staff at Orion works closely with county social workers to inform them of participants’ levels of involvement or to help secure resources that might be helpful in achieving goals. Personal details disclosed during the course of this program are kept confidential, unless participants grant permission for the sharing of information. Questions regarding confidentiality can be addressed with staff at any time.

For more information please contact Samantha Clevenger at or 608-225-2108.