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Illinois DCFS receives $4.5 million grant to help older youth prepare for adulthood

Illinois has been awarded a $4.5 million grant from Youth Villages to expand services for transition-age foster youth in Cook County and in Southern Illinois.

youthvillageslogo“Many of our young people in Illinois are reaching adulthood in foster care without the family support other young people have on what is always a complex journey to adulthood, even in the best of circumstances,” said B.J. Walker, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. “We are delighted at the chance to work with Youth Villages, which has the experience and expertise to fill this need for young people in foster care with a nationally proven program that allows the youth take the driver’s seat on their journey.”

DCFS will work with two private agencies in Cook County, UCAN and Lawrence Hall, and with Hoyleton Youth and Family Services in the Southern Region to implement Youth Villages’ nationally recognized program, YV LifeSet, to help youth transitioning to adulthood develop greater resilience and capabilities for success. The grant is for a three-year period.

Hoyleton is based in Fairview Heights.

While many youth in foster care are capable and resilient as they enter adulthood, statistics show that without help, they are more likely than their peers to be homeless, unemployed or incarcerated. They are more likely to have significant mental and/or behavioral health issues than other young adults. Many will face challenges with relationships, family planning and achieving stability.

The grant to the Illinois DCFS will help these young people make better plans and decisions for their future. The grant is the largest of four grants totaling $10 million being awarded to four of the nation’s child welfare agencies.

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