One population particularly prone to homelessness is adolescents who have had experiences with the child welfare system.

Tumbleweed administers the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program in Yellowstone County for youth in, or previously in, the foster care system and provides supports to help them transition to a healthy and successful adulthood.

The Chafee Program is for current and former foster care youth who want to become successful, healthy, independent adults. Tumbleweed helps these youth achieve the best possible version of themselves as they become independent persons (grown up; adults). Whatever their dreams and goals are, Tumbleweed will be there to help them on their path to success.

This Program is completely voluntary. Eligible youth can choose when they want to participate and what aspects of the Program they want to participate in. The Program is free and gives incentive funds to youth along their path to success. These incentives support their education, extracurricular activities, college and tutoring. They are also given to support employment, transportation needs, housing and emotional support and assure connections to caring adults.

Eligible youth participants include youth 14-21 who are likely to remain in foster care until age 18, 16-year olds who have left foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption, and young adults 18-21 who have “aged out” of the foster care system. Nationally, after reaching the age of 18, 20% of the youth who were in foster care become instantly homeless.