MEMPHIS, Tenn. (KNWA/KFTA) — On August 23, Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization and a leader in the field of children’s mental and behavioral health, announced that it has partnered with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to offer LifeSet, a program that serves as a bridge from foster care to adulthood.

“We are so pleased to be partnering with DCFS to give Arkansas young people a good start to adulthood,” said Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler. “It’s a reflection on the State’s commitment to giving every young person the opportunity to reach their dreams.”

Youth Villages is a DCFS community partner. The program will be available to youth in foster care between ages 17 and 21 in Northwest Arkansas this year.

An evidence-based program model, LifeSet serves as a bridge to adulthood for youth who turn 18 years old while in foster care, offering one-on-one assistance with the complexities of employment, education, housing, transportation and more, according to a press release.

“DCFS is thrilled to expand its partnership with Youth Villages with a focus on our older youth,” DCFS Director Mischa Martin said. “LifeSet will provide much-needed, intensive support to our young adults in foster care and those transitioning out of care that will set them up for success in the future.”

In 2023, Youth Villages and DCFS plan to expand the program to other regions of the state through a public-private partnership as a part of the non-profit’s drive to “expand effective services for transition-age youth across the country.”

In addition to Arkansas, Youth Villages provides LifeSet through direct services in Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Alabama and Tennessee and through partnerships in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

You can learn more about state resources for youth in foster care transitioning out of care in Arkansas here.