Hamilton County

Benefit Bridge Program

Email address: Hamil_Hemi@jfs.ohio.gov
The Benefit Bridge Program (BBP) can provide up to $7,000 to support former foster youth who emancipated from Hamilton County JFS custody on or after January 1, 2020, or who are still in custody and are 18 or older. This funding can assist with rent, utilities, transportation, car repairs, etc. Please reach out also regarding former foster youth who aged out of care in Hamilton County, and are between 18-26 years old – no guarantees, but the BBP will try to help.


1.) CHOICES Independent Living
4010 Executive Park Dr., Suite 330
Cincinnati OH 45241
(513) 521-8111

Scattered site independent living program that serves youth ages 17-21 who are aging out of the foster care system. Provides supportive services to assist youth during this transition.

2.) Lighthouse Youth Services
401 E. McMillan St.
Cincinnati OH 45206
Youth Housing Opportunities: (513) 861-1111

Provides shelter, housing and resources for homeless young adults, ages 18-24.

3.) Mecum House
2522 Highland Ave.
Cincinnati OH 45219
Crisis Hotline: (513) 961-4080

Provides a safe haven for youth ages 10-17 who are abused, neglected and/or don’t feel safe in their current residence.

4.) My First Place
(855) 577-7284

Supports current and former foster youth (ages 18-21) in securing safe housing, while also providing wraparound services to help with employment, education, transportation, money management and life goals. Participants receive support from a Youth Advocate, an Education and Employment Specialist and a Housing Specialist.


1.) Aftercare
Hamilton County Job and Family Services
222 East Central Parkway
Cincinnati OH 45202

Details forthcoming.

2.) Bridges
Southwest Region, sw.region@cfhcohio.org
(614) 568-6596

Former foster youth who “age out” of the system between 18-21 years old can apply for extended supports. Youth must meet at least one of the following criteria: a.) Enrolled in college or other post-secondary school b.) Participating in a program or activity designed to promote, or remove barriers to, employment c. Employed at least 80 hours a month d.) Incapable of doing any of the above activities due to a physical or mental health condition

3.) Opportunities Knocking
Tatyana Rozhnova: (513) 390-7302
Laquita Howell: (513) 686-0131

Opportunities Knocking TLP is a nonprofit founded by two foster care alumni to provide hands-on life skills preparation and support.

4.) Peoples Church
220 William Howard Taft Rd.
Cincinnati OH 45219

They provide a support network for youth who have “aged out” of the foster care system.


1.) Education and Training Voucher Program
(440) 253-0467

College students with a foster care history can apply for up to $5,000 a year for qualified school related expenses. Funding is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants must complete the online application. You must be a current or former foster student who either:

• was in U.S. foster care on your 18th birthday and aged out at that time
• was in foster care, legal custody or guardianship to a kinship caregiver at or after 16
• was adopted from U.S. foster care at age 16 and older
• will have your foster care case closed between the ages of 18 and 21


Former foster care youth should fill out the FAFSA as an “independent student,” in
accordance with the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act. This enables former
foster youth to be eligible for financial aid. You must fit into one of the following categories:

• An orphan, in foster care, or a ward of the court at any time when you were 13 years of age or older
• An emancipated minor or in legal guardianship
• Verified as an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of homelessness and self-supporting

3.) Ohio Reach
One-time emergency funding payment for former foster youth currently enrolled in a
higher ed institution. Requests can assist with housing, school, utilities etc. and can be
submitted online at the link above.


1.) Cincinnati Works
(513) 744-9675

Their Next Step program offers specialized coaching for young adults who age out of foster care. They provide mentoring, support and assistance in obtaining employment and advancing careers.

2.) Job Corps
1409 Western Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45214
(513) 651-2000

Job Corps is a free education and training program that helps young people learn a career, earn a high school diploma or GED, and find and keep a good job. This program provides free housing. The state of Ohio has three JobCorps Centers, which are located in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton.

3.) Short Term Certificate Funds
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College contact:
Amy Waldbillig, amy.waldbillig@cincinnatistate.edu, (513) 569-1414

Provides up to $2,000 to assist in getting a short-term certificate, in less than one year. This can help you earn money right away. This certificate can be stackable within a degree you might wish to pursue.

Other Needs

1.) Cincinnati Childrens
3333 Burnet Ave.
Cincinnati OH 45229-3026
Contact: sarah.beal@cchmc.org
(513) 636-4614

Operates a HealthHero data hub that contains electronic health records of foster youth.

2.) Medicaid until age 26
Medicaid Hotline: 1-800-324-8680

Youth who “age out” of foster care in Ohio are eligible for Medicaid until their 26th birthdays. Before you age out, your caseworker needs to submit a ODM 01958 form and a Medicaid application. After being initially signed up for Medicaid at age 18, former foster youth must stay in touch with Medicaid, so that they don’t lose services between ages 18-26. If for any reason, you get disconnected, please call the hotline.

3.) Ohio Benefit Bank
This online resource can help apply for food and cash assistance, child care assistance, child support, unemployment and other benefits.

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