MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 24, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Public agencies in New York and Pennsylvania will expand services to former foster and transition-age youth through public-private partnerships with Youth Villages, backed by local and national philanthropists.
New Yorkers For Children, on behalf of the New York City Administration for Children's Services, and Allegheny County Department of Human Services in Pennsylvania are launching YVLifeSet, an evidence-informed intensive program designed to help former foster and transition-age youth who need the most comprehensive support.
While some youth who age out of state care are resilient and capable, statistics show that without help, many 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.
YVLifeSet, developed by national nonprofit Youth Villages, is an evidence-informed program to assist young adults ages 17 to 22 who need intensive help as they transition to independent adulthood.
"We are proud that New Yorkers For Children, in partnership with ACS, has been selected as a partner for the YVLifeSet program," said ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell. "We are committed to helping every youth in foster care succeed in adulthood. This program delivers an intensive model to help young people with their education, employment, housing and health care, and to establish a support network. We look forward to working with New Yorkers For Children to ensure youth in care can thrive."
The agencies participated in a competitive grant-making process and will receive nearly $3 million over the next three years to begin implementation of the program. The funding comes by way of a national effort by Youth Villages to expand effective services for former foster youth across the country. The funds will serve as a match for local public and philanthropic funds, allowing the jurisdictions to expand their investment in former foster youth.
"Making the transition to independent living is a particularly vulnerable time for youth, and it's crucial to have good supports in place," said Marc Cherna, director of Allegheny County Department of Human Services. "The YVLifeSet model has proven effective in other jurisdictions, and we thank Youth Villages for the opportunity to offer it to those we are serving in Allegheny County."
In Pittsburgh, Pressley Ridge has begun helping its first young people. In New York City, Children's Aid Society will begin the program next month, and The New York Foundling will start YVLifeSet in the spring of 2019. They join the Accelerator YMCA in Seattle, Washington, and Turning Points for Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as YVLifeSet implementation partners.
Youth Villages will provide administrative, training, clinical and research support to implementation partners. The organization provides YVLifeSet directly in Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee.
"These are strong public agency partners for this expansion effort. I've been impressed with the passion of the leadership teams in these jurisdictions," said Patrick Lawler, CEO of Youth Villages. "They've shown a real commitment to helping young people who age out of state services in their communities have a greater chance for long-term adult success. We'll be working closely with them every step of the way going forward."
In the grant-making process, government agencies submitted proposals, and the selections were made based on the strength of program design, the public/private funding match, a commitment to a multi-year implementation and plans for sustainability of the program after the initial funding period. Public agencies interested in applying for funding can find more information at yvlifeset.org.
Youth Villages has helped nearly 12,000 young people through the program since it began in 1999. YVLifeSet is one of the largest programs helping transition-age young people in the country and one of the only to show, positive impacts in multiple areas of a young person's life in a large randomized trial. A five-year study by MDRC showed that YVLifeSet decreases homelessness, increases employment and earnings, increases mental health and decreases domestic violence. The community-based program pairs young people with specialists who are specifically trained in navigating the complexities of the transition to adulthood. Specialists have small caseloads and see young people face-to-face at least once each week, helping them set and achieve their goals around housing, transportation, education, employment, health and relationships through experiential learning.
Learn more at yvlifeset.org.
About Youth Villages
Youth Villages is a national leader in children's mental and behavioral health. Founded in 1986, the organization helps more than 25,000 children annually through programs that involve intensive work with the child and family, as well as a focus on measuring outcomes; keeping children in the community whenever safely possible; and providing accountability to families and funders. With locations across the U.S., Youth Villages' continuum of programs includes intensive in-home services; residential treatment; foster care and adoption; YVLifeSet for transition-age youth; mentoring; and crisis services. 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. Learn more at www.youthvillages.org.
SOURCE Youth Villages