Independent Living Services for Minority Youth with Disabilities: Strategies and Success

Mar 22, 2022 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.


On Tuesday, March 22, 2022 the Minority Youth and Centers for Independent Living (MY-CIL) project held their first webinar. This event was free and open to everyone.

This MY-CIL webinar focused on promising CIL outreach, collaborations, and practice strategies to engage transition-age youth with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, including out-of-school youth. CILs are community-based organizations for people with disabilities. The main objective of CILs is to empower people with disabilities, giving them more control over the decisions that affect their lives. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires CILs to provide five core services:

  1. Information and referral
  2. Independent living skills training
  3. Peer support and mentoring
  4. Individual and systems advocacy
  5. Transition

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act requires CILs to provide services to youth with disabilities who are transitioning to adult life after completing or ending high school. CIL services could be beneficial for minority youth with disabilities who face multiple barriers to living independently as they transition.

Our webinar guest panelists included the CIL director, youth transition director, and two youth consumers from the Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS-IL). SCRS-IL staff discussed their employment and STEM educational initiatives. Youth panelists described their experiences as CIL consumers. We also provided audiences with information about future MY-CIL learning opportunities.

Webinar speakers and panelists:

  • Edgar Cantero, SCRS-IL youth consumer
  • Rudy A. Contreras, M.A., chief executive officer of SCRS-IL
  • Brooke Curtis, associate director for training and publications for the IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance Center at Independent Living Research Utilization
  • Dave Estrella, director of college transitions with SCRS-IL
  • Sharonlyn Harrison, Ph.D., MY-CIL consultant to the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York and leading scholar on CIL services to racial and ethnic minorities
  • Frank Martin, Ph.D., health researcher at Mathematica
  • Samantha Mendoza, SCRS-IL youth consumer


Improving Service Delivery to Out-Of-School Youth from Minority Backgrounds: Case Study Findings from the Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living


MY-CIL is a partnership between Hunter College School of Education; Mathematica and its Center for Studying Disability Policy; the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York; and Independent Living Research Utilization to generate and share knowledge that empowers CILs to better serve out-of-school youth and young adults (ages 14 to 24) from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Discover additional details about the MY-CIL project by visiting the project website.

DISCLAIMER: Funding for MY-CIL is provided by the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project on Minority Youth and Centers for Independent Living at Hunter College, City University of New York. This project is jointly funded under grant number 90DPGE0013 as a cooperative agreement between the Office of Independent Living Programs and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, both in the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Health and Human Services, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.