Are Project LIFE services free?

Yes. Project LIFE is a partnership of UMFS and the Virginia Department of Social Services.  Its funding comes from the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP), a federal program that helps youth who are or have been in foster care achieve self-sufficiency.

Who is eligible for services?

Youth and young adults ages 14 to 21 who are currently in foster care in Virginia or who were adopted after the age of 16 are eligible for services. Some services are also offered to alumni of the foster care system.


How can I connect the youth on my caseload to Project LIFE?

Contact an Independent Living Consultant in your region or make a referral.


Does Project LIFE provide transportation to events?

If a youth needs help getting to an event, have him or her contact an IL consultant who may be able to connect you with someone in the area who is attending the event and could assist with transportation.


What kind of training can Project LIFE provide our staff?

Project LIFE’s scope of service allows us to provide many types of trainings for adults.  Services include training in the Independent Living Program, the NYTD survey, Permanency, Youth Adult Partnership, Transitional Living Plans and the Casey Life Skill Assessment.  For a full list of training opportunities, please contact an Independent Living Consultant in your region or contact the Project Manager. You can also visit Project LIFE’s services  page for more details.


Can Project LIFE come to my agency/program and train the staff or youth?

The structure of Project LIFE has changed since its first contract with VDSS.  As a result, we are using a regional approach to training adults and youth. That means we will offer trainings to an entire region or clusters of local agencies/programs that are in close proximity to each other.  In the near future, Project LIFE will begin offering webinar trainings. For most people, this will eliminate the need to travel.


How can youth attend a youth conference?

To attend a conference, a youth must be:

  • Between the ages of 14 and 21.
  • Currently in foster care or adopted after the age of 16.
  • Interested in leadership and advocacy.

The youth and and worker must fill out a three-part application:

  1. Youth Questionnaire – to be filled out by the youth
  2. Registration Form – to be filled out by the LDSS worker or the youth (if the youth is 18 years of age or older)
  3. Character Form – to be filled out by the LDSS worker

Project LIFE staff will review completed forms and youth will be accepted to the conference based on demonstrated interest in the focus and goals of the conference and recent conduct. The youth will be notified by a Project LIFE staff person if they have been accepted. Visit the Statewide Conferences section for more information.


The child I am working with has been adopted.  Can he or she still participate in Project LIFE services?

Youth adopted after their 16th birthday are eligible for all services Project LIFE offers and can also attend the two Statewide Conferences  held each year in the Spring and in the Fall.


Where can youth learn about the rights of youth in foster care?

The guide for VA Youth is a great resource for information about the rights of youth in foster care.