Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Wilderness and Adventure-Based Therapeutic Outdoor Services (WT) 16: Transition to Independent Living

Youth transitioning to independence are prepared with positive experiences and skills to move successfully to living and managing on their own.
NA The organization has a contract that does not include independent living services or the organization does not serve youth transitioning to independence.
2020 Edition




Youth who participate in Wilderness and Adventure-based Therapeutic Outdoor Services expand individual capabilities, develop self-confidence and insight, ameliorate symptoms, and improve interpersonal skills and relationships.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Transition planning procedures
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth or families served
  • Review case records

WT 16.01

The organization prepares youth for a successful transition by providing:
  1. transfer or termination of custody information as applicable;
  2. information about rights and services to which the person may have access due to income level or a disability;
  3. information on availability of affordable community based healthcare and counseling;
  4. court and welfare systems information;
  5. child care services information; and
  6. support through community volunteers or individuals who have made a successful transition, as appropriate.

WT 16.02

During the transition process, and prior to case closing, the organization works with youth to:
  1. explore a range of housing options;
  2. evaluate risks and benefits of various options; and
  3. practice household management when possible.
Examples: Housing options may range from supported living to fully independent living environments.

WT 16.03

For every youth transitioning to independence, the organization ensures that basic resources are in place, including:
  1. a source of income;
  2. affordable health care;
  3. adequate living arrangements;
  4. access to at least one committed, caring adult; and
  5. access to positive peer support.

WT 16.04

The organization assists youth in obtaining or compiling documents necessary to function as an independent adult, including:
  1. an identification card;
  2. a social security or social insurance number;
  3. a resume, when work experience can be described;
  4. a driver’s license, when the ability to drive is a goal;
  5. medical records and documentation, including a Medicaid card or other health eligibility documentation;
  6. an original copy of the youth’s birth certificate;
  7. religious documents and information;
  8. documentation of immigration, citizenship, or naturalization, when applicable;
  9. death certificates when parents are deceased;
  10. a list of known relatives with relationships, addresses, telephone numbers, and permission for contacting involved parties;
  11. previous placement information; and
  12. educational records, such as a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, and a list of schools attended.