Project LIFE Welcomes Two New Staff
Same places; new faces! The Project LIFE team wants to welcome two new IL consultants to our team. Cierra Emory-Clegg fills the vacant role in the Piedmont region, and T Murphy is taking over the Central region. We are thrilled to have two more passionate and strong members on our team.
Although new to UMFS, Cierra has worked with all ages of foster care youth throughout her years at Virginia Department of Social Services. Cierra was able to work alongside local foster families, therapeutic agencies and various service providers to ensure the youth on her caseload received the care they deserved. Cierra believes in encouraging youth to be advocates for themselves and helping their voice be heard is of utmost importance.
T. Murphy joined UMFS in 2020 as a Resource Parent Trainer in the Treatment Foster Care program with Richmond Regional Center. Over the years, she has worked closely with Project LIFE, Department of Social Services and other agencies and programs within the community to support children transitioning in and out of the foster care system. Prior to joining UMFS, she has worked with the adult and child population in different capacities of mental health. T has 23 years of experience in providing mental health services to both adults and youth with the last 11 years, focused on treatment foster care. She is passionate, driven and motivated to support, empower, and assist youth and families grow and create positive, successful change.
Please join me in welcoming T and Cierra!
Currently Hiring For Project LIFE Vacancy
We are currently hiring to fill the position of Independent Living Consultant in the Western Region. The Western position is fully remote, with travel in the region and with some occasional trips to Richmond. We’re looking for someone with knowledge of Virginia’s Independent Living Program, Education and Training Vouchers Program, National Youth in Transition Database, and the Casey Life Skills Assessment. More details and requirements are listed in the job posting. If you or someone you know would be a good fit, please visit the job posting here for more information and to apply.
Statewide Youth Conference
2023 Spring Conference: Dream LIFE Plaza
Dates: May 5-7, 2023 | for Youth in-person at Virginia Beach, VA or Online via Zoom
Plans are underway for the Spring Conference in VA Beach, or online. The in-person application window closed on March 31. We will begin sending status notification emails to all youth with completed applications on April 3. If you missed the in-person window, registration for the virtual sessions is still open through May 1st. Youth aged 14-21, who live in Virginia, and are in foster care or fostering futures, are invited to register. Visit the conference page on our website for links and more information.
Upcoming Statewide Events
Talk it Out Tuesdays Remixed
Date: April 18, 2023 | Time: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. for Youth via Ring Central and continuing the third Tuesday of every month
(RETURNING TO EVENINGS.) Talk it out Tuesdays is back and is “remixed.” On the third Tuesday of the month, youth can take advantage of a safe space to connect with their peers. Youth can bring their own topics to chat about, or the group can talk about the topic of the month. Register once and attend as many as you want! (Note: there is a new meeting link as of August 25, 2022.) Reach out to Melissa with questions.
Upcoming Regional and Hybrid Events
Eastern Region’s Voices Youth Group
Dates: April 10-14, 2023 | Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, VA Beach
Voices is a youth empowerment program for youth in foster care or have been in foster care to equip them with resources and tools to be successful as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. We are looking for youth ages 14-18. The program will offer modules that focus on self-exploration (what are the labels that have been given to them over time and how to let go of the ones that no longer work), self-care, anger management, problem solving with the seven resiliencies, personal integrity (exploring personality and character), goal setting/creating new habits, resilience, forgiveness, and breaking the cycle. The group started on February 7, and continues in March and April. For registration contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northern Region’s Budgeting/Money Management Workshop with Prince William County DSS
Date: April 13, 2023 | Time: 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. for Youth in-person at Woodbridge Va. 22191
All youth ages 14 – 21 in Prince William County DSS’s foster care are invited to participate in this fun interactive IL workshop on permanent connections. Contact Mona Ryerson through email at email@example.com if you need more information for this event.
Central Region’s Parenting Together Group
Date: April 19, 2023 and continuing monthly | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for Youth in-person at UMFS, RVA
Any Virginia youth, aged 14-23, who has experienced foster care and is a parent, or soon to be parent, to a young child is invited to attend this peer support group. This group will learn together in a safe space while relating with other peers in the same stage of parenthood. Attendees can bring their child(ren) with them to this group, and will be connected to resources, local experts, and prizes/gifts. If you would like to attend or have questions, please contact T at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eastern Region’s Guy Code Group
Date: April 20, 2023 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for Youth in-person in Eastern Region
IL aged males in the Eastern Region are invited to attend to this group. Attendees will connect with their peers, receive support, and learn new IL skills. Register for this group by clicking the button below, or contact Melissa Lee at email@example.com with questions.
Northern Region’s Week of LIFE Workshop Series
Dates: February 20-24, 2023 | Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. each night for Youth and Professionals in-person and online, in Northern Region
Save the dates for Northern’s Week of LIFE! All youth ages 14 – 21 in Virginia’s foster care system are invited to participate in these fun, interactive IL workshops throughout the week. More events will be added as they are confirmed. Contact George Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 804.239.1044 if you need more information for these events.
Northern Region’s Independent Living Coordinator’s Committee (ILCC) Meeting
Date: April 18, 2023 | Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. for Professionals via Ring Central
All Northern DSS agencies and private providers are invited to attend this ILCC to discuss independent living needs for youth transitioning out of foster care. This meeting will cover topics related to transitioning youth into adulthood and will be joined by Monica Cabell with VDSS to share statewide updates. Contact George through email at email@example.com or at 804.239.1044 if you plan on attending to get the link for this meeting, or if you need more information.
FAB LIFE Financial Literacy workshop with the College Place
Date: April 19, 2023 | Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, NOVA
Youth will be able to make informed financial decisions and take control of their money during this hands-on workshop. Dinner will be provided for all participants.
Art and Joy: Art Therapy Workshop
Date: April 21+22, 2023 | Time: Friday: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Saturday – 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for Youth at UMFS, NOVA
These workshops will provide techniques and coping skills for youth through their artistic output. All art supplies will be provided, along with dinner/lunch.
Northern Region Permanency/Permanent Connections Workshop with Loudoun County DSS
Date: April 24, 2023 | Time: TBA for Youth at Ashburn, VA
All youth ages 14 – 21 in Loudoun County DSS’s foster care are invited to participate in this fun, interactive IL workshop on permanent connections. If you are in this DSS and would like to attend, contact Lyle Davidson through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Events and Resources
VDSS Youth Services (IL) Updates Corner
Statewide VDSS Check-ins
Date: April 4, 2023 and continuing the first Tuesday of every month | Time: 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. for Professionals via Ring Central
These check-in calls are open to all DSS agencies to discuss independent living needs and updates with the VDSS IL team’s Letha Moore-Jones and Monica Cabell. These meetings will be held every first Tuesday of each month, starting March 7, 2023, and will run through May 2, 2023. You do not need to register for these check-ins. You can click here at the scheduled time to attend virtually, or contact George at email@example.com or at 804.239.1044 to receive the dial in information to join by phone, or if you have any questions.
Medicaid for Youth in Foster Care Training
Date: April 11, 2023 | Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. for professionals virtually
This training is open to all DSS foster care workers, LCPA staff, CSA Coordinators, foster parents, and other stakeholders interested in learning about Medicaid and Managed Care for youth in foster care. Training focus areas include Medicaid services overview, the partnership between MCO and DSS, MCO role in assisting DSS, care coordination, services available to youth in foster care and will end with a discussion & questions. Direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UMFS Scholarship Program
Deadline: May 31, 2023 | for Eligible Project LIFE Youth
The UMFS Scholarship Program is open to all students who have been part of any UMFS program, including Project LIFE, for at least 6 months. The program provides scholarships for the following: Vocational education and training, Colleges or universities, including community college, UMFS Courage to Succeed program expenses. Recipients are selected from completed applications by the UMFS Scholarship Committee annually. Applications, found on the website below, are due by May 31, 2023, and more information can be found here: UMFS.org/scholarships.