Centers for Independent Living Services for Children and Youths


Centers for independent living originally were set up to serve adults with disabilities and that age group remains their core reach.

Purpose and Anticipated Benefits

The goal of this project was to learn more about the services for children and youth provided by centers for independent living to better reach underserved populations.


Susan Parker-Price, Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas, called 300 centers for independent living. About one-third of the staff responded, which represented input from 37 states.




Telephone survey questions


Parker-Price found centers for independent living served the following age groups: birth to four (57%), elementary school age (84%), and middle and high school youth (93%).

Because centers reported they mostly dealt with schools and school districts with those under age 18, Parker-Price suggested that the high numbers of older children may be linked with the school system, especially when the family and school conflicted. More than 90% of the surveyed staff had relevant peer experience to serving children and youth; 78% had an education, social work, or human services college degree.

When asked what they needed to better work with youth, 88% said more training and products. As for family members, they wanted information on applying normal child development to children with disabilities, advocacy, Individual Education Plan process, funding, and transition.


Parker-Price, S. (2000, Winter). We asked the question: Are ILCs serving children and youth? Research and Training Center on Independent Living Forum [newsletter article].