About LifeSet

The largest program in the country showing positive impacts for this population across multiple areas

Since 1999, LifeSet has helped more than 9,000 young people aging out of state custody or other care arrangements successfully transition to independence. Participation in the LifeSet program is voluntary. Specially trained LifeSet specialists meet with LifeSet participants at least once a week—and more often when needed—in community settings, including their homes, at school or on the job, at a doctor’s office or wherever is most convenient for the young person. Specialists are available 24/7 to help the young adult. Young people typically participate in the program for six to 12 months, based on individual needs.

What does it mean to be set for life?

Our LifeSet specialists help former foster youth and other vulnerable youth ages 17-22 identify their goals and guide them each step of the way as they:

  • Strive to finish high school or earn a GED
  • Apply for college and scholarships and begin a college career
  • Find suitable and stable housing
  • Learn money management skills
  • Find and maintain employment
  • Apply for medical insurance and seek physical and mental health services
  • Access community resources
  • Build and maintain healthy relationships
  • Learn about sexual health and well being, with a focus on pregnancy prevention
  • Develop strong parenting skills
  • Establish life-long connections with caring adults

A Different Kind of Program

Another unique aspect of Youth Villages’ LifeSet program is that the family (or other support system) is considered a vital part of the young adult’s path to success. When possible, Youth Villages helps young people reconcile with viable family members. Additionally, LifeSet specialists assist young adults in developing new relationships and lifelong connections with caring adults.

The intensity and comprehensiveness of Youth Villages’ LifeSet services set this program apart from other services. LifeSet specialists use evidence-based practices and research-driven interventions such as trauma-informed care and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy to help participants overcome their challenges and meet their goals. A randomized controlled study of LifeSet — the largest study of this population to date — showed that the program is one of the only services that benefits young people in many areas of their lives.

Core components that distinguish the LifeSet program and help ensure its success include:

  • Intensity: Small caseloads of eight to 10 young adults per specialist with a minimum of one face-to-face session per week as well as other communication throughout the week.
  • Comprehensive services: Specialists help youth achieve their goals with education, employment, housing, permanency, basic independent living skills.
  • Youth-driven: Young adults have input into their service plans, goal development and the group activities.
  • Training and supervision: Staff receive extensive on-the-job training as well as weekly group supervision and consultation with quarterly boosters and other training as needed.
  • Formalized program model that uses evidence-based interventions as clinically necessary.
  • Program evaluation: Youth Villages checks in with young people six, 12 and 24 months after they’ve completed the LifeSet program.
  • Philosophy: We do whatever it takes. Specialists are expected to achieve success with a high percentage of the young adults; the case outcomes are the specialists’ responsibility.
  • Collaboration: The LifeSet program works closely with other support systems to help ensure consistent and effective services are provided.