Oct 07, 2015


Youth Villages Transitional Living (YVLifeSet) is a program for youth ages 18 to 24 who have left foster care or juvenile justice custody as teenagers or were aging out at age 18. The program is intended to help these young people make a successful transition to adulthood by providing intensive, individualized, and clinically focused case management, support, and counseling. A two-year random assignment study found that youth assigned to the program experienced an increase in earnings, an increase in housing stability and economic well-being, and improved outcomes related to health and safety.


Target population: Youth ages 18 to 24 who have left foster care or juvenile justice custody as teenagers were aging out at 18

YVLifeSet aims to help young people within the target population make a successful transition to adulthood by pairing them with a case manager, called a “TL Specialist.” Together, the youth and case manager develop an individualized treatment plan. Services are then provided during hour-long one-on-one sessions once a week. Services are expected to last 9 months for most youth who successfully complete the program. Case managers use a common treatment manual to provide youth with evidence-informed tools, counseling, and action-oriented activities. Program participants are offered access to educational and vocational coordinators, services such as a 12- to 20-week course of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, referrals to community services such as General Educational Development classes or housing services, and access to flexible funds to pay for unforeseen expenses that affect their self-sufficiency. Youth are also encouraged to participate in monthly group social and learning activities with other program participants.


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

Evaluated population: A total of 1,322 youth ages 18 to 24 who were living across the state of Tennessee and had left foster care or juvenile justice custody as teenagers or who were aging out at age 18 were included in the evaluation sample, 788 assigned to the treatment group and 534 assigned to the control group.

At the time of random assignment, 52 percent were male, 90 percent were aged 18 or 19 years old, 51 percent were white/non-Hispanic, and 37 percent were black/non-Hispanic.


Program staff recruited participants primarily via referrals from Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) Office of Independent Living staff, independent living specialists, or family service workers, as well as targeted outreach to organizations serving the study-eligible population and through more broadly disseminated marketing materials.

Outcomes were measured by asking each participant to complete a survey one year after study entry. The response rate for this survey was 84 percent. The survey covered outcomes in six key domains: education, employment and earnings, housing stability and economic well-being, social support, health and safety, and criminal involvement. In addition, the evaluation team collected administrative data on postsecondary enrollment from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Of participants assigned to the treatment group, 99 percent participated in at least one face-to-face Transitional Living service. Program participation in the treatment group dropped to 81 percent three months after group assignment and 50 percent nine months after assignment.


Researchers found that participation in YVLifeSet program had a positive impact on earnings (ES = 0.12), housing stability (ES = -0.16), economic well-being (ES = -0.13), mental health (ES = -0.13) and involvement in a violent relationship (ES = -0.16). The program did not lead to statistically significant improvements in education, social support, or criminal involvement. Researchers found the program to be equally effective across all of the subgroups studied.



Manno, M., Jacobs, E., Alson, J., and Skemer, M. (2014). Moving into Adulthood: Implementation Findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation. MDRC, New York, NY.


Contact Information

Youth Villages Operations Center

3320 Brother Blvd.

Memphis, TN 38133



Young adults, Males and Females, Clinical/Provider-based, Case Management, Employment/Earnings, Other Self-Sufficiency, Other Mental Health, Dating Violence

Program information last updated on 10/07/15