INTRODUCTION; Acknowledgements 


GETTING INFORMATION: The public library and its resources; the Internet: Key search engines; social networking; protecting yourself online; information overload

DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS: Documents you might need and how to get them: Birth certificate, photo ID, social security card, and others; protecting your identity

HOUSING AND UTILITIES: Shelters and other temporary housing; renting basics; assistance with housing costs; utilities (heating and cooling, phone, TV, water); getting essential furniture and equipment

TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVEL: Local and long distance public transportation; personal transportation: bicycles; buying or renting a vehicle; insurance; licenses

MAIL AND PACKAGES: Post office boxes: Mailing options, packages, money orders: UPS, FedEx


EDUCATION: Finishing high school; post- high school options; assessing the quality of a school; paying for your education

JOBS AND CAREERS: Employer and employee responsibilities; career planning; finding openings; job applications, resumes and interviews; unemployment insurance

MONEY AND BUDGETING: What to do with your money and how to manage your financial needs: Income, banking, budgeting, bill-paying, borrowing & lending; public assistance; taxes; protecting yourself from theft and scams


HEALTH AND SELF CARE: The elements of physical and emotional health; lifestyle issues: Smoking, alcohol and drug use; addiction

GETTING HEALTH CARE: Health insurance basics; help for those without insurance; basic health care services; evaluating health care providers; resources for information about specific health problems

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Communication basics; sending and receiving messages; conversations; conflicts; apologies

BOUNDARIES AND RELATIONSHIPS: Why boundaries? Types of boundaries; relationships, healthy and risky; boundaries in relationships

RIGHTS: What is a “right?” U.S. rights: Children’s and parents’ rights; victims’ rights; the United Nations and rights

ABUSE AND NEGLECT: Types of maltreatment; how to help a victim or possible victim; abuse and neglect investigations


PARENTING AFTER THE CULT: Ideas for helping children with you to adjust to their new life; suggestions for staying in touch with children you left behind; basic information about custody issues.

TEENAGERS ON THEIR OWN: Age of majority; services and shelters; legal issues; Child Protective Services and court involvement


MAINSTREAM CULTURE: Movies, music, the media; sports, hobbies and pastimes; fine arts; religion and spirituality; shopping

CIVIC LIFE: How to get the most out of being an American: Getting government to work for you; influencing government decisions; voting; jury duty



The Public Library 
Free computer use

The reference librarian

Research tools

Newspapers and magazines

Books, CDs, videos, and DVDs

Classes and lectures

The Internet


Search engines

Google and Yahoo


Checking reliability


News, books, and magazines

Social networking sites

Protecting yourself

Sharing information

Checking others’ information

Information overload 

Documents You Need

Proof of Identity and U.S. Citizenship

Birth certificate

U.S. passport

Certificate of Citizenship

Certificate of U.S. Naturalization

Proof of Identity for Non-U.S. Citizens

U.S. civilian-issued ID

Foreign passport

U.S. Military ID card

Social Security Card

Photo ID

Proof of Address

Proof of Legal Residence in the United States

Authorization to Work in the United States

Replacing a High School Diploma


Immunizations and Medical Records

Tips for Dealing with State and Federal Agencies

Protecting Your Identity