Young people who experience foster care are resilient and capable. Still, they need support as they move toward adulthood.
Nathe’anna’s journey – overcoming health issues, the COVID-19 shutdown and a natural disaster – proves that point. At every turn, she had the support from the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, which chose LifeSet as its model for extension of foster care in 2019.
Youth Villages has expanded LifeSet through partnerships with state agencies and innovative private providers. Last year, more than 1,000 young people participated in LifeSet through a partner program; another 4,000 were helped through direct services.
“LifeSet is a program that gives you a chance, that gives you hope,” said Nathe’anna.
Nathe’anna, the youngest of four children, came into foster care around 7 years old. When she turned 18 in a group home, COVID-19 hit. Then, she had to have gall bladder surgery, alone because of visitor restrictions. LifeSet specialist Kelly Adams was there, through phone calls, offering support and encouragement.
After her recovery, Nathe’anna returned to school virtually. Soon after, her community was struck by Hurricane Ida. There were weeks with no electricity and roads closed. Kelly stayed connected. LifeSet turned into a lifeline. Today, Nathe’anna is working toward becoming an emergency medical technician.
“I watched every one of my brothers and sisters age out of foster care. This program wasn’t around for them, and they had negative outcomes,” she said. “LifeSet is a program that gives you a chance, that gives you hope.”