SAIL Program

Information for young people and their families  

Knowles Centre offers five different programs for young people. For youth age 16 and over living in a foster home, group home or treatment centre, we offer the SAIL (Supported Advancement to Independent Living) Program to help them transition to living as self-sufficient, empowered young adults in the community.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the SAIL Program at Knowles Centre:
What is the SAIL Program? How does it work?

The SAIL Program is the name for Knowles Centre’s Supported Advancement to Independent Living Program.

The SAIL Program assists youth ages 16 and up to gain the skills they need to live on their own when they leave care. Youth are paired with a trained Support Worker who assists them to build their skills and to find and move into an apartment of their own. Youth are part of the SAIL program and receive help from the Support Workers until they reach their 18th birthday or are discharged from care.


Do I qualify for this program?

Youth who are 16 to 17 years and are in the care of a child and family service agency can be referred to the SAIL Program.


How much time does it take?

There is no set time for anyone to complete the program.

You will spend up to 3 to 4 hours a day (15 to 20 hours a week) with your Support Worker. Together, you will take part in activities that help you learn new skills. During this time you will still be living in your foster home, group home, shelter, or treatment centre. You may need more or less time depending on how often you meet with your Support Worker and how you develop your new skills.

Once you move into your own apartment, your Support Worker will continue to meet with you regularly until you graduate from the program or no longer in care of a CFS agency. Most youth will begin when they are 16 or 17 years old, and can expect to be in the program for about 1 year.


What will I learn in the SAIL Program? What kinds of things will I do with my Support Worker?

The SAIL Program is designed to fit you. That means you can spend more time on the skills where your have more to learn, and less time where you already have some competence.

The areas we will cover include:

The SAIL Program focuses on these key areas:


  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Money management and consumer awareness
  • Food management
  • Self care
  • Housekeeping
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Education and employment
  • Emergency and safety skills
  • Community resources
  • Legal issues
  • Pregnancy, parenting and child care
  • Interpersonal skills


Together with your Support Worker you will practice the skills you need. That might mean cooking in a real kitchen, learning how to do laundry using washer and dryer, visiting different apartments, stores, banks, community resources, etc.

Once you are living in your apartment, you will attend a group meeting twice a month with others in the program. These meetings will focus on topics such as recreation activities, substance use, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy prevention, and anger management. They will also give you a chance to get to know others in the program, share tips and talk about your experiences.


Do I have to go?

All youth who are leaving care and will be living on their own should take steps to prepare for this new part of life. You can discuss with your social worker/legal guardian whether the SAIL Program is right for you. Ideally all youth in the program will be motivated to attend and ready for the challenge of living on their own.


Do I have to be a client at Knowles Centre to take part?

No. SAIL accepts youth in to the program from other treatment centres, foster homes, shelters, group homes, etc.


Do I have to pay for the program?

No. Your CFS agency will cover the cost while you participate in the program.


How can I take part if I have to go to school?

School is important. Support Workers will work around your school schedule.


Why can’t I stay at Knowles Centre/my foster home/my group home?

Places like youth group homes and treatment centres like Knowles Centre are for people under age 18. Young people may sometimes stay in a foster home past their 18th birthday when they remain in care on an "extension".

Most youth will “age out” of care when they reach the age of 18. As this time approaches, you and your social worker should discuss what your options are and come up with a plan together.

If the SAIL Program is right for you, we can help you to prepare for living on your own.

If you still need some of the services you used while in care, your SAIL Support Worker will help you find other agencies that help young adults.


Do I have to take part in the program if I already know how to live on my own?

It’s great if you feel prepared to live on your own already but you will likely still gain lots of good information from the SAIL Program. If you already have a lot of the skills needed, you will be able to move through the program quickly.


Will you tell me where I have to live?

No, you will have the final say in where you live. Your SAIL Support Worker will help you find a place that is affordable, safe and comfortable. The number of available apartments is often limited, so the SAIL staff will connect with local landlords to help find suitable places for young adults to live.


What if I want to live outside of Winnipeg?

Currently, the SAIL program focuses on living arrangements in the Winnipeg area.


How will I get to the SAIL Program?

Your Support Worker will pick you up from your foster home, group home, treatment centre, etc. for the first few meetings. After that you and your Support Worker will arrange to meet at a safe place in the community. Transportation will be mostly by bus, and tickets will be provided to you.


Will you help me find work?

Your Support Worker will help you prepare to find work. You will also learn about the various resources in the community that help youth find work.


Will you help me go to college or university or training school? Will you pay?

You and your support worker will explore your options for college, university or training school. Unfortunately the SAIL Program cannot cover the costs of these programs. However we will help you explore options to help with these costs.



Who will pay for my apartment? Furniture? Food? Clothing? Other expenses?

While you are in the SAIL program your CFS agency covers the costs of rent, furniture, food, clothing and other expenses. Money is paid to the SAIL program, who will work with you to budget, plan and shop for the things you need.


How will you teach me to cook, wash my clothes, etc.?

During the first stage of the SAIL Program you and your Support Worker will practice these skills using a real kitchen and laundry facilities, etc. so that you will know how to do these things when you are living in your apartment.


What if I don’t do well living on my own? What if I need more help?

SAIL staff are here to support you. You will only move into your own place when everyone feels you are ready and able to manage. If problems come up after you are on your own we can give you extra support until you are able to manage better.


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