Centers for Independent Living and Their Involvement with Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities

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Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation






IOS Press

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BACKGROUND: Transitioning from high school to adult life is one of the most challenging times for all youth; however, this step to adulthood presents additional demands to individuals with disabilities. The role of adult service providers, such as Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in the transition process for youth has become more and more prevalent. Yet, little is known about the involvement of CILs and their partnership efforts with local education agencies (LEAs). OBJECTIVE: This study explores the extent to which CILs are involved with serving transition-aged youth and collaborate with LEAs. METHODS: This study consisted of a national survey. The sample included 198 CIL representatives from 38 states, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands that serve transition-age youth with disabilities. RESULTS: Based on the study findings, it appears that CIL professionals see secondary transition as a priority; however, participation in transition initiatives and collaborative partnerships with LEAs remains relatively low. Furthermore, although the majority of study participants perceive CIL and LEA coordination as extremely important, almost a quarter of them report actual practices as poor or non-existent. CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with previous research on the importance and extent of CIL secondary transition services. Further research that would lead to practice-based initiatives to improve the secondary transition for youth with disabilities is needed. Obtaining CIL professional perceptions on promising practices and existing collaborative vehicles to promote better collaboration is sorely needed.

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