Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Students with Disabilities

Taft College - Transition to Independent Living Program

Jeff Ross, TIL Coordinator, Student Support Services

661-763-7776 or jross@taft.org

Target population: The Transition to Independent Living Program (TIL) is an educational experience for developmentally disabled adults.

Goals: To develop independent living skills in developmentally disabled adults. Description: The TIL program is an on-campus live-in program for developmentally disabled adults. The program stresses the importance of teaching people to accept responsibility for decisions and choices they make. The program occupies 30 rooms in the Seventh Street residence hall on the Taft Community College campus, which is one of two residence halls on the campus. Participants for the program are selected from referrals made primarily by California Regional Centers (outreach centers for the California Department of Developmental Services), the Department of Rehabilitation, and high schools. Guidelines for making a referral are available from the TIL Program Coordinator or the Intake Coordinator. An applicant who meets the requirements for entry will be scheduled for an on-site evaluation. Upon admission to the TIL Program, the student moves into a residence hall room and begins learning independent living skills. The students participate in the program an average of 22 months, and all students have a 90- day probation period.

Staff works with each student to establish realistic long-range and short-range goals. Individual Program Plans are then written to assist students in attaining these goals. Instruction is offered in the following areas: meal preparation, money management, shopping, housekeeping, use of appliances, safety, communication, transportation, personal care, and interpersonal relationships.

Instructional hours are from 1 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. A Community Integration Program is run on weekends. Students are responsible for paying a dorm rental fee that includes meals served in the Taft College cafeteria and all utilities except telephone. Students are eligible for graduation when they complete the required course work and independently demonstrate the learned skills. At that time the TIL staff assists graduated students in transitioning into an independent living situation in their home community. The TIL program tracks all graduates for a ten year period to measure outcomes of the students and the program.

Staffing: Staff for the TIL program include a program coordinator, assistant to the coordinator, program director, director's assistant, instructors, instructional aides, transition specialist, and security personnel.

Facilities, equipment, materials: The TIL program provides the same level of support as any other student service, however the dedicated use of 30 on-campus dormitory rooms and use of the college cafeteria by the program is unique and essential to the success of this program. Please refer to the suggestions for replication below, which address the current testing of a similar Taft College program that does not require access to dormitory rooms and cafeteria.

Costs, funding source: Funding comes from three sources. 1) The student pays for dormitory and cafeteria costs. 2) The Chancellor's Office pays for educational services funding. 3) The Regional Centers pay for three distinct programs which include: the payment of 30 hours per week per student at the rate of $15.74/hour for operational TIL expenses, the funding of a weekend community outreach program, and a transitional program to assist students entering the program, and for students graduating from the program.

Outreach and marketing: The primary source of students is word of mouth regarding the success of the program. However the Program Coordinator regularly conducts presentations on the program within the community, across the state, and frequently makes national presentations of the program.

Evidence of effectiveness: The program has been graduating students since 1997. An astounding 93% of graduating students have moved on to independent living status, and 83% are employed. Most individuals in similar circumstances are eligible for Supported Living Services (SLS) assistance in the amount of 120 hours per month.. TIL program graduates average 20 hours per month of assistance, and 30% of TIL graduates require no SLS assistance.

Suggestions for replication: The Program Coordinator emphasizes that Regional Centers across California are very willing to work with Community Colleges in setting up such programs. Also, Taft College is currently in year one of a two-year program to test/evaluate an adaptation of this program that does not include students living on campus in college dormitories. To date the testing has been very successful. Transportation and personal responsibility for time management have become much more important components of the piloted course curriculum.