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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
	Chapter 1. Plain Terminology of the Life Skills Guidebook
		Developmental Progression
		The Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment (ACLSA) consists of four developmental levels. The Guidebook is intended to match those developmental levels: ACLSA-I (ages 8-9), ACLSA-II (ages 10-12), ACLSA-III (ages 13-15), and ACSLA-IV (ages 16 and older). All the Learning Goals for a skill area are listed together because people do not necessarily learn skills in a chronological sequence. For example, an older youth may have missed learning a skill that his/her peers learned at an earlier age. This is particularly true for youth living in out-of-home care who have experienced multiple placements and interruptions in their education. The Learning Goals are also listed together to encourage people in choosing their own goals. Within the Learning Goals, Expectations are listed in order of increasing difficulty. For more information and background concerning the ACLSA and Tools, refer to Appendix D.
		Learning Goals and Levels
	Exhibit 3. Learning Levels
		Resources and Activities
		Learning Styles
			Exhibit 4. Levels of Learning and Learning Styles
		Step 2: Developing Life Skills Learning Plans
			Exhibit 5. Group Life Skills Learning Plan
		Summary: How to Use the Guidebook in Case Plans and Contracts with Learners
	Action Plan
			I’m Getting Ready, Different Ways to Pay Our Bills, M-11.
			Making It on Your Own, Money Orders, p. 92.
			a. Explain the concept of “rent-to-own.”
			b. Identify two advantages for purchasing from “rent-to-own” stores (e.g., allows one to obtain household items with limited funds, allows one to rent all furnishings for an apartment at one place).
			Making It on Your Own, Rent-To-Own Plans, p. 48.
	Chapter 4. Application of Life Skills
	Establishing Mastery Standards
		Menu Planning
		Grocery Shopping
		Meal Preparation
		Kitchen Clean Up and Food Storage
		Home Management
		Home Safety
		Community Resources
	Self Care
	Appendix A: Descriptions of Resource Materials and How to Access Them
	Life Skills Activities for Secondary Students with Special Needs
	$29.95 plus shipping
	The New Making It On Your Own
		Additional Resources
	How To Survive Teaching Health
			Activity Title: _____________________________________________________________________________________________
			Learning Goal: ____________________________________________________________________________________________
			Expectations: ______________________________________________________________________________________________
			Time Required: ____________________________________________________________________________________________
			Materials Needed:___________________________________________________________________________________________
			Appendix C: History and Development of the Guidebook
				Exhibit D. 1. Group Session Activity Element Description
				Exhibit D.2. Tips on Running Groups
		Tips on running groups
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Life Skills Guidebook 1
©2004 by Casey Family Programs.

Life Skills Guidebook


Dorothy Ansell
Joan Morse
Kimberly A. Nollan
Ray Hoskins

Page 2

Life Skills Guidebook 2
2004 by Casey Family Programs.


The Life Skills Guidebook was created with the energy and thoughtfulness of many dedicated child welfare professionals, foster
parents, and youth. The goal of this work is to better prepare people for living on their own. Casey Family Programs believes in
learner involvement and leadership in this process. Casey also believes assessment is core to preparation. The Guidebook was created
to help translate the results of the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment into practice as well as provide a tool for foster parents and
practitioners to teach life skills based on necessary competencies.

From the National Resource Center for Youth Services, Dorothy Ansell, and Joan Morse were integrally involved in this process,
conducting focus groups, writing Learning Goals and Expectations, finding activities to teach Learning Goals, as well as writing and
editing the Life Skills Guidebook. At Casey, led by Kimberly Nollan, Research Services’ Transition Research Team supported this
work by coordinating the overall project, giving feedback, editing, and helping with technical writing. The original team included Kim
Nollan, Richard Bressani, Chris Downs, Margaret Jeffrey, Michael Horn, Jason Williams, Jill Leibold. The current team consists of
Chris Downs, Kelly Sim and Mike Weygint.

In spring of 2004, Casey contracted with Success Technologies to revise the Guidebook. Kimberly Nollan and Ray Hoskins made
significant revisions and additions to the Guidebook, such as expanding the Learning Goals and expectations for 8-10 year olds,
updating and including new resources, and adding mastery standards.

We are grateful to Casey Family Programs Tucson Division staff members who provided valuable ideas and support for this project,
as well as reviewed all domain Learning Goals and Expectations. They included Susan Abagnale, Ana Acuna, Leslie Butler, Amy
Cox, Dixie Ellis, Levonne Gaddy, Joan Hansman, Fredericka Hunter, Cindy Johnson, Bea Kea, Patricia King, Bobbie McNeill,
Marjorie Parks, Yvonne Rodriguez, Rosalyn Riesgo, Leora Sanders, Laura Stockert, Ward Townsend, and Beth Treas. In addition,
Gloria Garcia, Lillie Murray, Regina Taylor, Nicole Killary, Calvin Dacus, and Moniquea Ibarra provided insight and edits to the
Learning Goals and Expectations from caregiver and youth perspectives. We also acknowledge the Youth Enrichment and Success
(YES) Foundation whose participants reviewed all Youth appropriate resources. Thank you also to all those who provided feedback
on an ongoing basis, which was used to strengthen the Guidebook.

We appreciate the support provided by the South Bronx Human Development Organization, which provided access to their extensive
life skills resource library. We also are grateful for the assistance of Kathleen D. Morin, Ed.D., who provided assistance in the editing
the original Learning Goals (competencies).

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Life Skills Guidebook 97
2004 by Casey Family Programs.

Learning Goals Expectations Activities

38. Knows how to complete

a money order.

a. Explain what a money order is and how it is

b. Identify two places where a money order can
be purchased (e.g., post office, bank).

c. Compare the fees associated with a money
order and a checking account.

d. Complete one money order.

I’m Getting Ready, Different Ways to Pay Our Bills, M-11.
Making It on Your Own, Money Orders, p. 92.
Ready, Set, Fly! Banking #3.

39. Knows and understands

when and how to borrow

a. Recognize when it is wise to borrow money.
b. Describe the benefits, risks and

responsibilities related to borrowing money
from friends, family, and financial institutions.

c. Calculate the effect of interest on a loan.

Ready, Set, Fly! Banking #6.

40. Knows how to apply for

a loan.

a. Identify two or more situations in which loans
may be necessary (e.g., education, car, house).

b. Identify where to apply for a loan.
c. Explain what information is necessary to

complete a loan application.
d. Complete one loan application with


Developing Your Vision, C. 2, Paying for a College
Education, p. 10.

Life Skills Activities for Secondary, IV-20, Applying for a
Loan, p. 254-256.

Making It on Your Own, Getting a Car Loan, p. 53.

41. Knows and understands

the pros and cons of
using credit.

a. Identify three advantages of using credit (e.g.
provides cash in emergencies, allows one to
make purchases over the phone or Internet, is
safer than carrying cash).

b. Identify three disadvantages of using credit
(e.g. can lead to debt, high cost of interest
payments, can take years to repay, end up
paying more than the original price).

Life Skills Activities for Secondary, IV-11, Paying Interest, p.

Ready, Set, Fly! Banking #5.
Ready, Set, Fly! Banking #6.
American Express, Credit Cave –,1641,639,0

Banking on Our Future –
Practical Money Skills –


Page 98

Life Skills Guidebook 98
2004 by Casey Family Programs.

Learning Goals Expectations Activities

42. Knows and understands

how credit cards work.

a. Explain the differences between credit cards,
charge cards, debit cards, and the related fees.

b. Describe the good and bad points of each

I Can Do It, Using Banks, p. 11-13.
I’m Getting Ready, Different Ways to Pay Your Bills, M-11.
I Know Where I am Going, Part II, C. 2, p. 24-25.
Life Skills Activities for Secondary, IV-18, Credit Cards, p.

Making It on Your Own, How a Credit Card Works, p. 46.
Making It on Your Own, Not All Credit Cards Are the Same,

p. 47.
Making It on Your Own, Know Credit Card Terms, p. 47.
Money Pals, Part I, C. 4, Taking It to the Bank, p. 36-44.
PAYA, Module 1, Understanding Credit and Charge Cards, p.

Ready, Set, Fly! Banking #5.
American Express –,1641,639,0

Banking on Our Future –
Practical Money Skills –


43. Knows and understands

the importance of
developing and
maintaining a sound
credit history and credit

a. Explain what a “credit history” and a “credit
rating” are and how they are related and

b. Describe how to develop a sound credit rating.
c. Describe how to find out about one’s credit

d. Describe how your credit history impacts your

ability to make major purchases (e.g., car,

American Express, Credit Cave –,1641,639,0

Money Central, Your Credit Rating -

Practical Money Skills -

Page 193

Life Skills Guidebook 193
2004 by Casey Family Programs.

Appendix D. Running A Group

A successful group session starts with an Opening Activity, moves on to include activities that build group cohesion (Group Activity),

allows time for introspective thought (individual Activity), and ends with an activity that brings closure to the session (Closing

Activity). When designing a group session, facilitators may find this four-step design formula helpful. A more complete description of

each step is found in Exhibit D.1. Additional tips on running groups are in Exhibit D.2.

Exhibit D. 1. Group Session Activity Element Description

Opening Activities- These activities help the group get acquainted or re-acquainted. They are sometimes called ice-breakers or
warm-ups. Even on-going groups need time at the beginning of the session to check-in. Opening activities
may also give focus to the group and assess the group’s knowledge. Activities such as “Bingo”, “Have You
Ever…,” and “Group Juggle,” provide an excellent way to introduce a topic and generate involvement. These
activities are generic in nature and may be used to introduce many skill areas. *

Group Building Activities - These activities require the group to work together, building group cohesion. These activities may be
very short in nature, requiring only 10-15 minutes or take up to 1-2 hours to complete.

Individual Activities - These activities require group members to think about themselves and to share their insights with others.
Individual activities help group members apply, to their own lives, the content that is being presented in the
group. This can be done in the form of worksheets, art projects, and writing assignments.

Ending Activities - These activities bring closure to the group session. They may be used to summarize or reinforce the content
that was the focus of the session. They may also be used to strengthen group spirit and to celebrate the
group’s work. The same ending activity may be used each time thus creating an important ritual for the
group. Good examples of ending activities are “I learned that...,” “Appreciations,” and “Positive

*Ansell, Dorothy I. and Morse, Joan M. Creative Life Skills Activities, Ansell & Associates, 1994.

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Life Skills Guidebook 194
©2004 by Casey Family Programs.

Exhibit D.2. Tips on Running Groups

Tips on running groups
1. Arrive early to greet participants.
2. Create an inviting atmosphere. Put up posters, play music, provide refreshments.
3. Teach to various learning styles (e.g., auditory - lecture, visual - videos, kinesthetic

- small group/moving exercises).
4. Allow time to practice and discuss the skills. Don't over-pack a session. Allow

time for questions.
5. Include peer modeling and coaching: have those who mastered a skill teach those

still learning the skills.
6. Create a group agreement in the early sessions which states codes on conduct,

agency rules, etc. Post the agreement at all sessions.
7. Discuss principles of confidentiality.
8. Test out any equipment (e.g., VCR, tape/CD player) prior to the session.
9. It you are using videos, remember to cue the tapes prior to the session. All VCR's

are different.
10. Design group rituals for beginnings or endings.

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