KENTUCKY — The Kentucky Department for Community Based Services launched a new program in July to help young people transition out of foster care and into adulthood.

What You Need To Know

  • New program in Kentucky helps youth transition out of foster care

  • Program is a partnership between nonprofit and state of Kentucky

  • Called LifeSet, the program is geared toward 17 to 21 year olds

The nonprofit organization Youth Villages is partnering with the state of Kentucky to start offering a new program called LifeSet.

The goal is to work with young people between the ages of 17 and 22 who are transitioning out of foster care in Kentucky.

"Typically what we do is we work with the youth in, generally speaking, six different domains so things related to helping them attain their education, life skills, budgeting, career and employment," said Caroline Hannah, chief operating officer with Youth Villages. "So helping them kind of explore what they might be interested in doing long term and then building goals so that they can achieve those things. Making sure they're taking care of their mental and physical health, helping them with housing and then also relationship permanency so that they have a support network around them when we're not around them anymore."

Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander says their data shows many youths who are apart of the foster care program in Kentucky generally have faced multiple adversities, but with the additional support of this LifeSet program, he’s hopeful that it can make a difference.

“We’ve seen kids transitioning out of foster care and just transitioning to the streets. We have to provide more opportunities, we have to provide more support. Well, I think about children in foster care, we as a state have said we're going to do better than your family and so, so often we fail in that. So we have to provide the supports, as many supports as possible," added Friedlander.

According to a recent survey of transition-age foster youths from across the United States, found that 65 percent of young people who aged out of foster care had lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. Another 23 percent reported being forced to move or feared losing their housing and lacked resources and connections.

"Those that don't have support, we're often helping to plug them into social situations so that they can establish that support it could be something for their church or their school or athletics or something like that and then how to maintain those relationships in a healthy way,” mentioned Hannah.

For more information on resources for transitioning out of foster care, visit the Kentucky Resources for Independence Success and Empowerment portal here