Casey Life Skills Toolkit
Casey Life Skills (CLS) is a set of free tools that assess the independent skills youth need to achieve their long-term goals. It aims to guide youth toward developing healthy, productive lives. Some of the functional areas that CLS assesses include:
- Daily living and self-care activities
- Maintaining healthy relationships
- Work and study habits
- Using community resources
- Money management
- Computer literacy and online safety
- Civic engagement
- Navigating the child welfare system
Inside the CLS Toolkit, you will find these resources:
- CLS Assessments in PDF and Excel format, giving you several options to administer the assessments and integrating them into your own systems.
- Practitioner's Guide, which shares best practices for administering and scoring the assessments, and more details on how CLS is beneficial for the service provider and youth.
- Resources to Inspire Guide, which lists resources that have been vetted by youth, caregivers and service providers as helpful ways to strengthen independent life skills.
These tools have been revised to ensure that they incorporate the needs of youth in the 21st century. They have been developed in collaboration with foster care alumni, resource parents, service providers and child welfare experts to center the needs and voices of youth. Please see Release Notes below for periodic updates.
CLS is designed to be used in a collaborative conversation between an educator, mentor, case worker or other service provider and any youth between the ages of 14 and 21. It can be used by all youth regardless of whether they are in foster care, live with biological parents or reside in a group home. The tool should be used as a guide to empower youth in their journey to understand and enhance their life skills.
Youth typically will require 30-40 minutes to complete the CLS standard assessment, or 5-10 minutes to complete the CLSA short assessment. The assessment can be administered all at once or divided into the nine subsections. The educator, mentor, case worker or service provider are encouraged to use the CLS Resources to Inspire Guide with the youth after the assessment to create a learning plan and support the development and strengthening of skills.
Both versions of the CLS assessment have been reviewed and revised by a team that has worked with foster care alumni, resource parents, agency staff and life skills experts. We have used a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to help guide these revisions. We have included two new skill areas: civic engagement and navigating the child welfare system. We have also included a new supplement that assesses a youth’s access to formal and informal supports.
Version 1.4 (December 19, 2022)
- 7 new supplemental forms in English and Spanish are available in PDF and self-scoring Excel version (American Indian and Native Alaskan, LGBTQ+, Parenting Infants, Parenting Young Children, Support Systems, Youth Level 1, and Youth Level 2).
- CLS Standard and Short assessment in English and Spanish are available in PDF and self-scoring Excel version.
Version 1.3 (June 8, 2022)
- Revised Demographic section in all assessments to provide the option of “Other” and “Prefer not to Say”.
- Added Spanish version for CLS Practitioner’s Guide, CLS Standard assessment, CLS Short Assessment and CLS social support supplemental assessment.
- Added 6 Supplemental assessments for LGBTQ youth, American Indian and Native Alaskan, Youth level 1, Youth level 2, Parenting youth, and Parenting Infants.
Version 1.2 (January 25, 2022)
- Corrects calculation error in example on p. 13 of Practitioner’s Guide
- Updates link for cooking measurements on p. 13 of Resources to Inspire Guide.
Version 1.1 (December 7, 2021)
- Corrects formula error in the standard assessment results tab cell B9 affecting score calculations for Career and Education planning.
Version 1.0 (November 8, 2021)
- Initial Release of CLS toolkit
Can I use the CLS online assessment after April 11th, 2022?
No, the old Casey Life Skills website is only available until April 10, 2022. After that time, using the new Casey Life Skills Toolkit will be the only way to administer CLS assessments.
Can my old account be used with the new system?
The new, downloadable Casey Life Skills Toolkit does not require you to create or maintain an account, although you will need to fill in contact details and agree to licensing terms in order to access the download. Since the new Toolkit does not use accounts or logins, your old Casey Life Skills account will not be used in the new system.
Will my data for all old CLS assessments be deleted in April or May?
You can preserve your data by downloading it from the old system using these steps: https://www.casey.org/media/CLS-Data-Download-Instructions.pdf. This download tool will be available for you to use until May 9, 2022, after which all data in the old system will be deleted. The earlier, April 11 deadline is when assessments can no longer be created in the old system, but you will still have about a month after the old assessment tool closes down in order to export data.
The new user agreement asks for someone with authority to enter a contract to sign the agreement. It also says it’s non-transferable. So how do front line staff access the toolkit?
The agreement is with the organization that is going to use it. Someone with authority to bind that organization needs to sign it. Once the contract is signed, you will be able to download the toolkit content and use it within the organization (including front line staff). There is no password or username needed. However, you may not share or transfer the content of the toolkit outside your organization.
I'm not able to download the toolkit.
Please review the steps below to see if they address your issue:
- Make sure that you are downloading the Toolkit using a modern browser such as Chrome, Edge, Safari, Firefox, or Opera. Internet Explorer is not supported at this time.
- When completing the form in the download agreement popup, make sure that you have filled in all fields and that you have clicked the box beside "I Accept the Terms of the Agreement Above."
- If you have tried using the download with a supported browser and confirmed that you've filled in all fields on the popup, please contact your internal IT department for further assistance. Some organizations may have security measures in place that prevent you from downloading or decompressing a *.zip file, which is the file format Casey Family Programs is using to distribute the Toolkit.
- Even if you have security policies in place that block these types of downloads by default, your IT department may be able to work with you to develop an exception process -- for example, an IT administrator may be able to download the toolkit themselves and verify that it is safe, then distribute the Toolkit by email or secure file sharing within your organization. Other organizations may choose to fully rebuild CLS in their own survey and assessment tools, which is a permitted use (with attribution and without modification to the questions) under the terms of the new licensing agreement.
- Whichever path you choose, it's important to begin developing these new IT processes as soon as possible, since the old Casey Life Skills website will not accept any new assessments after April 10, 2022.
Can I use the new toolkit online?
The new CLS toolkit is a downloadable set of PDFs and XLTX files that are intended to be used in desktop applications rather than online. The XLTX versionworks with Microsoft Excel and has the ability to score the assessment automatically (all the results can be viewed in the ‘result’ tab). The PDF version can be printed and hand scored. All hand scoring instructions are available in the Practitioner’s Guide. The new licensing agreement for the CLS Toolkit does permit your organization to import the CLS questions (unaltered, and with attribution) into your own online survey or assessment tool. Building a new online version of CLS is a technical project that would most likely need to be undertaken by the administrators of your tools. Although Casey Family Programs is no longer participating in building online versions of CLS, we can offer some limited support if your IT department has specific questions about adopting this approach.
Are there bar graphs available in the new toolkit?
The old Casey Life Skills reporting features are being retired, since it would not be possible for Casey Family Programs to provide these reports without storing your agency's sensitive youth data. However, the new Excel spreadsheets included in the downloadable Toolkit do contain a tab called Results where youth responses are tabulated and depicted in a similar bar graph as well.
Where do we enter the new CLS assessment answers on the website?
The newest version of Casey Life Skills is only available as a downloadable PDF or Excel spreadsheet -- it is not being incorporated into the old Casey Life Skills website. To download the new Toolkit, go to https://www.casey.org/casey-life-skills. Please note that the old Casey Life Skills website is only available until April 10, 2022. After that time, using the new Casey Life Skills Toolkit will be the only way to administer CLS assessments.
Will I be able to email youth using the new system?
The old Casey Life Skills website included a feature that allowed you to email youth links to create accounts, take assessments, and view their results. Providing this service required Casey Family Programs to store personally identifiable information about youth. This online mailing functionality is being retired by April 11, 2022, in order to allow your organization to control how youth information is stored and used.
You can now use the Toolkit to send the same type of information to youth using your own systems, rather than using Casey Family Programs' systems to send and receive information on your behalf.
After you have downloaded the Toolkit and extracted its files, you may simply send youth a copy of the Excel spreadsheet version of the assessment as an attachment to one of your standard emails. After they have filled in the spreadsheet, they will be able to save the file and send it back to you as an attachment or upload it to a file sharing system owned by your organization. The spreadsheet also contains a Results tab that you and the youth can use to view and discuss their scores. Please consult with your IT department if you have questions about how best to securely send and receive Excel files.
Does Casey Life Skills offer a curriculum that addresses areas for improvement identified by the assessment?
Casey Family Programs has recently updated a list of recommended resources that you can use to follow up with youth who have taken the assessment. We have also provided a Skills worksheet that can help you and the youth develop a plan for their life skills development. These recommended resources are collected in our Resources to Inspire Guide, which you can find inside the new downloadable Toolkit. We have also provided suggestions in the Practitioner's Guide on how best to use the assessment results to help strengthen youth skills.
Is training available on administering Casey Life Skills?
Information on how to administer Casey Life Skills and how to score the assessment are contained in our Practitioner's Guide, which you can find inside the new downloadable Toolkit. If you still have practice-related questions after reviewing the guide, please fill out the "Feedback and support" form at https://www.casey.org/casey-life-skills, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it possible to compare the results of two assessments taken by the same youth?
We do not currently offer reports that can compare two assessments taken by the same youth over a period of time. However, our new Toolkit (https://www.casey.org/casey-life-skills/) does include Excel versions of the assessments that you can administer to youth. Once you have collected their responses in this new format, you can create new reports using Excel.
Can I use the new XLST version of the assessment with online spreadsheet applications such as Google Sheets?
The XLTX assessment files included in the Toolkit were created and tested in Microsoft Excel, which is available for both Windows and Apple devices. It is possible to open the files with Google Sheets. In Google Sheets, you may go to File > Open > Upload, then select the CLS file you would like to upload. When using Google Sheets for multiple assessments we recommend you use File > Make a Copy to generate a new, duplicate spreadsheet from a blank master file before distributing the survey link to a new respondent.
Please note that our technical support is not intended to be a recommendation for the adoption of any particular product, and you will still need to make your own judgement regarding the security and privacy of tools like Google Sheets following your organizational policies for managing youth data.
I don’t have access to Microsoft Excel. Is there another program I can use instead?
The XLTX assessment files included in the Toolkit we created and tested in Microsoft Excel, which is available for both Windows and Apple devices. If you don't have access to Excel, however, there are free and open-source spreadsheet programs that will also work (for example, LibreOffice), with some differences in user experience. If you can't find an alternative spreadsheet program that you're willing to install on your device, we would recommend using the PDF format of Casey Life Skills, which can be printed and filled out by hand.
Can I upload the survey to an alternate survey platform such as Qualtrics or Survey Monkey?
Yes! The terms of the new licensing agreement allow you to upload CLS assessments into the survey platform of your choosing for non-commercial purposes, provided that you do not alter the questions and that you attribute Casey Family Programs as the developer of the survey. Please review our new licensing agreement for further terms.
At this time we are only offering CLS in an XLST or PDF format. If you would like to upload CLS using the native file format of another survey tool, the easiest way to accomplish this would most likely be to use Microsoft Excel to manipulate the XLST version of the assessment provided in our Toolkit and save your work as a CSV formatted for the platform you are targeting. At this time, we are not able to create CLS in alternate file formats, but we will try to help answer specific questions if you run into issues while creating your surveys.