Youth Villages Life Set

Every year, thousands of young men and women age out of the foster care system lacking the stability and life skills to prepare them to live as productive adults. Many of these youths will find themselves without a high school degree and unable to secure gainful employment, which can lead to homelessness, poverty and entry into the criminal justice system. This session highlighted innovative approaches states are taking to protect foster care children and provide hope to those who find themselves rapidly aging out of the foster care system.

Aging Out of Foster Care
Friday, December 11, 2015

Sponsored by the CSG Interbranch Affairs Committee

Presentation by Patrick W. Lawler, CEO, Youth Villages and
Mary Lee, Youth Villages 


Experience of Chelsea Clark



Speaker Biographies:  

Lawler leads Youth Villages, one of the largest private providers of services to troubled children and their families in the country. Under his leadership, Youth Villages has established an array of specialized treatment programs operated by an effective team of more than 2,700 employees in more than 70 locations across 12 states and the District of Columbia. As part of his work, Lawler collaborated with Tennessee's Department of Children's Services to establish the Youth Villages Continuum of Care, a nationally recognized service approach. In 2006, Lawler was recognized as one of “America's Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report in conjunction with the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Lee coordinates National YVLifeSet for Youth Villages, where she helps provide the most vulnerable young adults, some of whom are aging out of foster care, with the skills necessary to achieve their life’s fullest potential. At Youth Villages, Lee helped to establish the YV Scholars program, which offers young adults in YVLifeSet the additional support to meet their educational goals that may have seemed previously unattainable. One of Lee’s greatest achievements was helping ensure foster youth adopted from state custody would not have to choose between being adopted by a forever family and pursuing higher education, like she did. Her story inspired the Fostering Adoption to Further Student Achievement Act (nicknamed the Mary Lee Act). Earlier this year, Lee was honored by the White House as a Foster Care Champion of Change for making a difference in her community.