BATON ROUGE, LA — The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has been awarded a $3 million matching grant to expand services for transition-age foster youth through implementation of the Youth Villages YVLifeSet model.
DCFS is one of four agencies receiving matching grants after participating in a competitive grant-making process and will receive the funds over three years.
The funding comes by way of a national effort by Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization, to expand effective services for transition-age foster youth across the country.
"We are honored to be partnering with some of the country's most dynamic child welfare leaders and forward-looking agencies to support transition-age foster youth across this country," said Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler. "Together we can demonstrate that with the right support these resilient young people can achieve their goals and become successful adults."
While many youth who emancipate from state care are resilient and capable, statistics show that without help, they are more likely than their peers to be homeless, unemployed or incarcerated. These young adults are more likely to have significant mental and/or behavioral health issues than other young adults. Many will face challenges with relationships, family planning and achieving stability.
The community-based YVLifeSet program pairs young people with specialists who are trained in navigating the complexities of transitioning to adulthood and in directly delivering clinical interventions. Specialists have small caseloads and meet with young people at the location of the youth's choosing, face-to-face weekly, helping them set and achieve their goals around housing, transportation, education, employment, health and relationships through experiential learning.
Youth Villages will train DCFS staff in the YVLifeSet model and provide administrative, clinical and research support.
"The YVLifeSet program will help ease the move to independent adulthood for our youth transitioning out of foster care and those at risk of aging out," said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. "YVLifeSet has a powerful track record of working with youth in other states, and we're excited to implement the program as part of Louisiana's efforts to extend foster care through age 21."
For more information, read the full press release from Youth Villages.
Youth Villages is a national leader in children's mental and behavioral health bringing help and hope to more than 27,000 children, families and young people across the United States this year. The organization offers a continuum of evidence- and research-based programs, including residential treatment, foster care, adoption, crisis services and its two national models: YVIntercept, which offers intensive in-home services, and YVLifeSetTM, which gives former foster youth a good start on successful adulthood. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and was identified by The White House as one of the nation's most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations.