What is LINKS?

LINKS is a federally funded program for youth between the ages of 13 and 20 (eligibility end on a youth’s 21st birthday) who are currently in or have been in foster care.  LINKS is designed to build a network of relevant services with youth so that they will have ongoing connections with family, friends, mentors, the community, employers, education, financial assistance, skills training and other resources to facilitate their transition to adulthood.


Any young person between the ages of 13 and 20 who is currently in or was in the custody of the Robeson County Department of Social Services after his/her 13th birthday.

Foster Care 18 to 21

Foster Care 18 to 21 is a program that offers youth opportunities to continue foster care placement and transition to independence with county child welfare agency supervision.  There are some young adults who may not be ready to exit foster care upon turning 18 years of age, and may choose to stay in Foster Care 18 to 21 as long as certain requirements are met.  Young adults who exit foster care at age 18 are also able to return to the Foster Care 18 to 21 program at a later date as long as they have not reached their 21st birthday.




SaySo (Strong Able Youth Speaking Out): A statewide association of youth ages 14 to 24, who have been or currently in the foster care system. Their mission is to improve the foster care system by educating the community, speaking out about needed changes, and providing support to these youth. More information is available at:

Education and Training Vouchers (ETV)

The NC ETV Program offers funds to foster youth and former foster youth (must have been in custody after age 17) to enable them to attend secondary education institutions. Students may receive up to $5000 a year between their 17th and 23rd birthday as they pursue higher education. The funds may be used for tuition, books or qualified living expenses.

NC Reach

Financial assistance for youth who aged out of foster care (at age 18) or who were adopted after age 12 (if they are attending one of the NC state colleges or universities including community colleges). Funding for tuition, books, fees, housing, etc.


Any youth who aged out of foster care at age 18 is eligible until their 21st birthday (must apply to all programs). Apply at your local DSS or contact your LINKS Coordinator at DSS. 

Transitional Funds:

Funding for youth, eligible to be used in achieving positive outcomes. Examples include: tutoring, work uniforms, furnishing apartments, bicycles for transportation to/from work, etc.

Housing Funds:

Available for rent deposits, rent or down payments. Youth must currently be between 18 and their 21st birthday and have turned 18 while in custody of the Department of Social Services.


LINKS brochure

Aging Out of Foster Care System Video


If you are interesting in finding out more about our LINKS program or Foster Care 18-21 please contact:

Lavonda McLaughlin-LINKS Coordinator

(910) 671-3798

Ashley Gibson-LINKS Supervisor

(910) 671-3787