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Project LIFE (Living Independently, Focusing on Empowerment) is a partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and United Methodist Family Services (UMFS). The mission of Project Life is to enhance the successful transition of older foster youth to adulthood by a) increasing the capacity of professionals working with youth to engage in sound, evidence-based practices and b) by promoting permanent connections, effective preparation for transition to adulthood, and meaningful youth input into state and local policies and practices.
Project LIFE serves foster youth, ages 14-21, throughout five regions of Virginia. Each region has an Independent Living Consultant responsible for carrying out the vision, mission, and goals of Project LIFE. The partnership also, seeks to fulfill the goals of the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act and the principles of the Children’s Services System Transformation which emphasizes children’s rights to permanency. Project LIFE collaborates with local departments of social services to provide support, training, and technical assistance to prepare youth for their future.
We believe that all people have strengths and are able to form social bonds, solve problems, exercise self-control, and make a contribution to society. Meeting these universal growth needs is essential for all young people as they transition into adulthood. Recent research has shown that the growth needs identified by the Circle of Courage are hard-wired into the human brain and essential for survival and well-being. With the support of formal and informal services, youth develop resilience by satisfying the following needs:
Belonging, thus building trust and safety;
Mastery, thus recognizing talents and skills;
Independence, thus promoting empowerment; and
Generosity, thus instilling purpose and
greater connection to humanity.
Project LIFE supports and connects youth locally and state-wide by encouraging and delivering activities and training events. Project LIFE reaches out to Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS) to provide hands-on technical assistance, coordinate training activities, and promotes regional youth events.