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Youth Villages YVLifeSet

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A community-based program that assists young people with histories of foster care or juvenile justice involvement in making a successful transition to adulthood by providing intensive, individualized, and clinically focused case management, support, and counseling. Specific goals include improved family relationships, increased high school graduation, decreased illicit substance use, and decreased intimate partner violence.

Program Outcomes

  • Employment
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Mental Health - Other

Program Type

  • Academic Services
  • Alcohol Prevention and Treatment
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Training
  • Community, Other Approaches
  • Counseling and Social Work
  • Drug Prevention/Treatment
  • Employment - Vocational
  • Foster Care and Family Prevention
  • Leadership and Youth Development
  • Skills Training

Program Setting

  • Community (e.g., religious, recreation)
  • Social Services
  • Transitional Between Contexts

Continuum of Intervention

  • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)


  • Late Adolescence (15-18) - High School
  • Early Adulthood (19-22)


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Katja Russell
3320 Brother Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38133
(901) 251-4811

Program Developer/Owner

  • Timothy Goldsmith, Ph.D.
  • Youth Villages

Brief Description of the Program

YVLifeSet, formerly known as Transitional Living, which is operated by the social services organization Youth Villages, is an independent living program for youth in need (e.g., transitioning from foster care or juvenile justice custody). The program lasts 9 months for most youth who successfully complete the program and involves intensive, individualized, and clinically focused case management, support, and counseling. At entrance, each person receives an assessment and individualized treatment plan. The bulk of the services are then provided during hour-long, weekly sessions with a case manager, who typically serves only eight youth at a time.

See: Full Description


Relative to a control group, the program increased (Valentine et al. 2015):

  • Earnings
  • Housing stability
  • Economic well-being
  • Mental health
  • Reduced intimate partner violence

In the long-term follow-up (Skemer and Valentine 2016), relative to the control group, the treatment group reported greater likelihood of:

  • Earning $2,500 or more after year 1 and 2

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

The analyses did not examine differences in program effectiveness by gender or race.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Favorable attitudes towards drug use, Gang involvement, Substance use, Youth employment*
  • Peer: Interaction with antisocial peers, Romantic partner violence*
  • School: Low school commitment and attachment, Poor academic performance, Repeated a grade
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Academic self-efficacy, Coping Skills, Problem solving skills, Prosocial behavior, Prosocial involvement, Refusal skills, Skills for social interaction
  • Peer: Interaction with prosocial peers
  • Family: Attachment to parents

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

See also: Youth Villages YVLifeSet Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

Training Certification Process

A highly structured two-week staff training-and-development process includes an initial 4-day clinical training, clinical supervisor training, on-the-job training, and training staff on utilizing various evidence based practices, or EBPs, that are commonly employed throughout treatment. Ongoing training support includes quarterly clinical booster trainings, weekly clinical consultation, weekly team supervision, weekly individual supervision and development, and field supervision. All of the supervision and consultation components are specified in the YVLifeSet Program Model.

Week One:

The first week includes a four-day clinical partner training dedicated to YVLifeSet. Staff will gain knowledge about the admission and eligibility criteria of YVLifeSet youth. These criteria are based on the YVLifeSet program model utilized during the Randomized Controlled Trial. Staff will also be trained on the Pre-Admission Assessment/Psychosocial document, which is the initial screening tool used to gather a wide range of information regarding a young person at the onset of treatment. The remainder of the week consists of various counseling techniques that are often used with young people such as identification of behavioral drivers, selection of appropriate clinical interventions to target these behaviors, and creation of comprehensive service plans. Staff will gain access to the on-line clinical intervention portal and will learn to use these interventions and resources with young people.

Week Two:

The second week of training begins with a one-day individual clinical supervisor group supervision training. Group supervision is the process by which service plans and intervention direction are reviewed and is a collaborative process for the team of specialists, led by the supervisor. In this training, supervisors will learn how to review service plans, understand what type of feedback to give, and how to create a collaborative atmosphere for group supervision in order to facilitate team engagement. The remainder of week two consists of various on-the-job training activities to include multiple modules containing practical information, such as how to document appropriately, safety in the community, and further instruction on various aspects of the YVLifeSet program. Finally, instruction is provided on utilizing various evidence based practices, or EBPs, that are commonly employed throughout treatment.

On-going Training:

Beyond the initial 2 weeks of training, staff receive training in the form of clinical quarterly one-day on-site boosters, designed to increase staff understanding in various skills and ideas related to working with young people.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

The study recruited youth from ages 18 to 24 who had been in foster care or juvenile justice custody (both part of the Department of Child Services) in the state of Tennessee. The 1,322 young people enrolled in the evaluation were randomized to a treatment group or a control group receiving a list of social service resources available in the community. Posttest data came from a survey and administrative data on college enrollment, both obtained 12-14 months after random assignment (Valentine et al., 2015). Additional administrative records were collected two years after random assignment (Skemer and Valentine, 2016). A total of 1,114 of the 1,322 sample youth completed the survey.


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