About This Program

Target Population: Young adults between the ages 17 and 22 who are leaving the foster care, juvenile justice, and/or mental health systems

For children/adolescents ages: 17 – 22

Program Overview

YVLifeSet provides intensive in-home support and guidance to young adults leaving the foster care, juvenile justice, and/or mental health systems, as well as to others who find themselves at this stage in life without the necessary skills and supports to make a successful transition to adulthood. Program success is defined as a young adult’s maintenance of stable and suitable housing, avoidance of negative legal involvement, participation in an educational/vocational program, and development of life skills necessary to become a successful, productive citizen. The program not only assists with young adults who are “aging out” of state custody, but also works with the young person’s family and support systems to ensure a more successful transition.

Program Goals

The goals of the YVLifeSet program are:

  • Maintenance of stable and suitable housing
  • Avoidance of negative legal involvement
  • Participation in an educational/vocational program
  • Establishment of permanent relationships with caring adults
  • Development of the life skills necessary to become a successful, productive citizen

Essential Components

The essential components of the YVLifeSet program include:

  • Low caseloads - YVLifeSet specialists work with 8 to 10 young adults at a time.
  • High intensity - YVLifeSet specialists have a minimum of one face-to-face contact with young adults weekly and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Individualized - Young adults determine the goals they want to pursue and specialists work with them in their own environment, seeing them at their home, work, school, or wherever is convenient for the young person. The program can begin while youth are still in custody and residing in a foster home by starting to address any concerns that exist around making a successful transition into adulthood.
  • Importance of family - Despite the disruption of relationships with their family of origin due to their entry into state custody, young adults who have aged out of care often find themselves wanting and/or needing to reestablish those relationships in a way that provides meaningful support and assistance. YVLifeSet specialists work with young adults to make connections and achieve healthy and supportive relationships with their family (however they define it).
  • Structured program model - YVLifeSet has a clearly defined logic model, specified assessment practices, a list of interventions customized to focus on each youth’s particular need (such as increasing emotional regulation, alleviating behavioral struggles, and strengthening cognitive processes; providing psychoeducation about trauma; and providing goal-directed, client-centered counseling for eliciting behavioral change), and a structured supervision and consultation model that ensures the specialists’ adherence to the program model and provides intensive support to YVLifeSet specialists as they work with the young adults.
  • Individual and system-focused services - Services are aimed not only at the individual but at all the areas (systems) that may affect the young adult (e.g., community, peer group, family, school, and work).
  • Multiple and individualized outcomes approach - Based on each young person’s individual circumstances and needs, YVLifeSet specialists help young adults find and maintain employment, find affordable and safe housing, continue their education by applying for scholarships and pursuing state funding when available, accessing health care and organizing a support network.
  • Partnerships - YVLifeSet specialists collaborate with other programs/agencies to ensure that young adults are able to access all needed supports to reach their goals.
  • Evaluation and review - Adherence measures are gathered annually and quantify, from multiple sources and views, clinical and operational implementation of the key practice elements

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

YVLifeSet directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Youth who are aging out of the child welfare system
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: YVLifeSet specialists work not only with the individual young person, but in all areas (systems) that may affect the young adult (community, peers, family, school, and work). Based on each young person’s individual needs, circumstances, and goals, specialists help young adults create a sustainable support network among family, friends, and service providers. Specialists collaborate with staff at other programs/agencies to ensure the young adults are able to establish the supports necessary to achieve their goals.

Recommended Intensity:

Generally at least one weekly hour-long face-to-face session plus other calls/text throughout the week as needed; crisis prevention and intervention available 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Recommended Duration:

6 to 12 months, with an average participation of 7 to 9 months

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Adoptive Home
  • Birth Family Home
  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • Foster/Kinship Care
  • School


YVLifeSet includes a homework component:

YVLifeSet specialists will assign a variety of tasks to youth as homework, depending on the young person’s goal and the interventions that the specialists has selected. For example, a young person who is transitioning out of congregate care and into an independent living setting may be assigned to complete rental applications, work on a budget, and generate a list of potential housing options. For youth entering a new educational setting, homework assignments may include identifying their academic advisor, developing a list of questions for that person, and then practicing via role play how to engage in the conversation.


YVLifeSet has materials available in a language other than English:


For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

The most important resource necessary to successfully deliver this program is high quality and well-trained staff. With a low caseload of 8 to 10 young people per specialist, as well as a high level of supervision and clinical consultation (4 to 5 specialists per clinical supervisor; 7 to 8 teams per clinical consultant), personnel are the key to achieving positive outcomes for young people. Since YVLifeSet is a community-based program, needs for office/meeting space are minimal and can be met in a variety of ways. Specialists at Youth Villages document their work with young people in an electronic medical record system that captures most of the data necessary to monitor program performance and model fidelity; although systems may vary, a core set of data elements, as well as strong processes to monitor program implementation is a key resource requirement for the program.

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Qualifications for YVLifeSet positions are as follows:

  • Specialist – master’s degree in social science field preferred, bachelor’s accepted with experience
  • Clinical supervisor – master’s degree in social science field preferred, bachelor’s accepted with experience; experience in training and providing YVLifeSet services required
  • Clinical consultant – master’s degree and licensure (or working toward finalization of licensure requirements) required, as well as extensive experience providing YVLifeSet services (Please note that partners may use Youth Villages staff for this function until they have trained clinical consultants in place)

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Training is provided onsite of the YVLifeSet specialist and clinical supervisors and includes access to the on-line clinical intervention portal.

Number of days/hours:

The initial training provided to partners occurs over two weeks. The first week is dedicated to YVLifeSet 4-day comprehensive clinical training. The second week begins with a one-day group supervision training that is delivered to the supervisors only. The remainder of week two consists of training for both the supervisor and staff on utilizing various evidence-based practices that are commonly employed throughout treatment and in essential on-the-job training activities. Beyond the initial 2 weeks of training, specialists receive quarterly booster trainings provided by a Youth Villages clinical consultant.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for YVLifeSet.

Additional References

Manno, M., Jacobs, E., Alson, J., & Skemer, M. (2014). Moving into adulthood: Implementation findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living evaluation. New York, NY: MDRC.

Valentine, E. J., Skemer, M., & Courtney, M. E. (2015). Becoming adults: One-year impact findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living evaluation. New York, NY: MDRC.

Contact Information

Katja Russell
Title: Managing Director
Agency/Affiliation: Strategic Partnerships
Website: www.youthvillages.org
Phone: (901) 251-4949
Fax: (901) 251-5003

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2016