Youth Villages Lifeset

Program basics

  • Youth Villages' LifeSet program provides intensive, one-on-one support to help young people transitioning out of foster care become successful, independent adults.
  • Highly trained specialists meet with youth in person at least once per week for 6-12 months to provide counseling, referrals, financial assistance, learning activities, and coordination help on educational or vocational opportunities.
  • Participants often receive trauma-informed counseling, cognitive heavioral therapy, and other supports to address needs and enhance well-being.
  • The goals of the program are to help participants secure stable housing, pursue educational or employment goals, develop strong independent living skills, and to build stable relationships.
  • Specialists maintain caseloads of only 8-10 individuals, allowing them to better engage with the holistic needs of every participant. Specialists also travel to the young people they serve, eliminating travel and logistical barriers for participants.

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Promising (Third-highest tier)

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Promising (Third-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare


Target population

At-risk youth

Program cost

Approximately $10,000 per participant

Implementation locations

  • Used in 19 states

Dates active

1999-present

Outcomes and impact

  • In a large randomized control trial, MDRC found that LifeSet participants experienced statistically significant improvements in employment, housing, health, and safety outcomes in the year after enrollment in the program

Keys to successful implementation

  • Champion leader in public child welfare agency who has devoted resources and ongoing attention to the implementation of the program
  • Adherence to provider selection criteria including philosophical alignment and commitment to implement with fidelity from direct providers
  • Coalition of community champions and stakeholders committed to initial implementation and long term funding sustainability of the program
  • Attention to fit within current service array to best identify the local target population and manage referral process
  • Commitment to providing the highest quality of service and owning responsibility for engaging young people
  • Willingness from staff at every level to support young people to identify and reach their goals
  • Inclusion of young people with relevant lived experience in the planning and implementation process
  • Commitment to utilizing all available programmatic data to continuously improve processes, model adherence and program performance

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