Youth Participants Give High Marks to LifeSet Program in Illinois

This brief summarizes findings from interviews with young people who participated in LifeSet. LifeSet is an intensive, evidence-based, youth-centered, and service-focused model developed by Youth Villages to help young people in foster care acquire the skills needed to make a successful transition into adulthood. The model is being implemented by three child welfare services providers in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) contracted with Chapin Hall to evaluate its implementation and its impact on youth outcomes.

What We Did

We interviewed 13 young people who had been enrolled in LifeSet for at least 2 months to understand how they experience LifeSet and how LifeSet is or isn’t supporting their transition to adulthood. We asked them about the reasons they enrolled in LifeSet, the relationship they have with their specialist, the goals they had set for themselves, and the types of help they had received.

What We Found

  • Overall, young people appreciate being in LifeSet and rated it highly.
  • The young people have strong relationships with their specialists with whom they meet weekly.
  • The types of help young people reported receiving from their specialists include: guidance, emotional support, advocacy, life skills development, and assistance with goal setting.

What It Means

Including the voices of young people in the evaluation adds a valuable perspective to understanding the implementation of LifeSet in Illinois. The young people we interviewed feel that LifeSet supports their transition to adulthood. Our impact evaluation will shed light on whether these positive experiences translate into better youth outcomes.

Read the brief

Recommended Citation
Gitlow, E., Jacobsen, H., Kakuyama-Villaber, R., & Dworsky, A. (2023). Youth perspectives: Findings from Phase II of the Illinois DCFS LifeSet Evaluation. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.