Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities



Department of Children and Families’ public benefit programs will continue during the partial federal government shutdown. Read the full announcement here.

IL Service Categories

This page defines the Independent Living Service Categories.

Academic support

Academic supports are services designed to help a youth complete high school or obtain a General Equivalency Degree (GED). Such services include the following: Academic counseling; preparation for a GED, including assistance in applying for or studying for a GED exam; tutoring; help with homework; study skills training; literacy training; and help accessing educational resources. Academic support does not include a youth’s general attendance in high school. 

Budget and financial management 

Budget and financial management assistance includes the following types of training and practice: Living within a budget; opening and using a checking and savings account; balancing a checkbook; developing consumer awareness and smart shopping skills; accessing information about credit, loans and taxes; and filling out tax forms. 

Career preparation

Career preparation services focus on developing a youth’s ability to find, apply for, and retain appropriate employment. Career preparation includes the following types of instruction and support services: Vocational and career assessment, including career exploration and planning, guidance in setting and assessing vocational and career interests and skills, and help in matching interests and abilities with vocational goals; job seeking and job placement support, including identifying potential employers, writing resumes, completing job applications, developing interview skills, job shadowing, receiving job referrals, using career resource libraries, understanding employee benefits coverage, and securing work permits; retention support, including job coaching; learning how to work with employers and other employees; understanding workplace values such as timeliness and appearance; and understanding authority and customer relationships. 

Education financial assistance

Education financial assistance is a payment that is paid for or provided by the State agency for education or training, including allowances to purchase textbooks, uniforms, computers, and other educational supplies; tuition assistance; scholarships; payment for educational preparation and support services (i.e., tutoring), and payment for GED and other educational tests. This financial assistance also includes vouchers for tuition or vocational education or tuition waiver programs paid for or provided by the State agency. 

Employment programs or vocational training

Employment programs and vocational training are designed to build a youth’s skills for a specific trade, vocation, or career through classes or on-site training. Employment programs include a youth’s participation in an apprenticeship, internship, or summer employment program and do not include summer or after-school jobs secured by the youth alone. Vocational training includes a youth’s participation in vocational or trade programs and the receipt of training in occupational classes for such skills as cosmetology, auto mechanics, building trades, nursing, computer science, and other current or emerging employment sectors. 

Family support/healthy marriage education

Such services include education and information about safe and stable families, healthy marriages, spousal communication, parenting, responsible fatherhood, childcare skills, teen parenting, and Regulations domestic and family violence prevention. 

Health education and risk prevention

Health education and risk prevention includes providing information about: Hygiene, nutrition, fitness and exercise, and first aid; medical and dental care benefits, health care resources and insurance, prenatal care and maintaining personal medical records; sex education, abstinence education, and HIV prevention, including education and information about sexual development and sexuality, pregnancy prevention and family planning, and sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS; substance abuse prevention and intervention, including education and information about the effects and consequences of substance use (alcohol, drugs, tobacco) and substance avoidance and intervention. Health education and risk prevention does not include the youth’s actual receipt of direct medical care or substance abuse treatment. 

Housing education and home management training

Housing education includes assistance or training in locating and maintaining housing, including filling out a rental application and acquiring a lease, handling security deposits and utilities, understanding practices for keeping a healthy and safe home, understanding tenants rights and responsibilities, and handling landlord complaints. Home management includes instruction in food preparation, laundry, housekeeping, living cooperatively, meal planning, grocery shopping and basic maintenance and repairs. 


Mentoring means that the youth has been matched with a screened and trained adult for a one-on one relationship that involves the two meeting on a regular basis. Mentoring can be short-term, but it may also support the development of a long-term relationship. While youth often are connected to adult role models through school, work, or family, this service category only includes a mentor relationship that has been facilitated, paid for or provided by the State agency or its staff.

Other financial assistance

Other financial assistance includes any other payments made or provided by the State agency to help the youth live independently.

Post-secondary educational support

Post-secondary educational support are services designed to help a youth enter or complete a postsecondary education and include the following: Classes for test preparation, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT); counseling about college; information about financial aid and scholarships; help completing college or loan applications; or tutoring while in college.


Room and board financial assistance

Room and board financial assistance is a payment that is paid for or provided by the State agency for room and board, including rent deposits, utilities, and other household start-up expenses.