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Transitional Living Program provides “adulting” guidance, opportunities for former foster care youth

By January 12, 2024No Comments
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Imagine spending your entire childhood in foster care, only to age out of the system with few or no skills for independent adult living. Where would you live? Who would you turn to for advice and support as you hunt for a job, stretch dollars at the grocery store, and keep yourself clean, clothed, and healthy?

That’s where Lutheran Services Carolinas’ Transitional Living Program comes in. It is creating a network of licensed host homes and support services for foster care clients between the ages 15 of 21 in Buncombe and Haywood County – and it desperately needs more foster families.

“We have over 300 young people in foster care in Buncombe County and only about 200 licensed foster care homes,” says Jennifer Armellini, LSC’s regional manager for transitional living foster care. “In Haywood County, the shortage of foster families is so great that DSS [the Department of Social Services] is having to place local children outside of the county.”

Countless studies show that young people who have been in foster care are more likely to experience homelessness, unemployment, poverty, unplanned pregnancies, and incarceration. This is often related to trauma in earlier life and a general lack of resources, supportive relationships, and access to opportunities. LSC’s Transitional Living Program seeks to level the playing field for these young people.

“Many of our clients are regular kids who just need a place to grow up,” adds Armellini. All prospective foster families are carefully vetted; those who choose to foster clients in the Transitional Living Program are in regular contact with an Independence Coach who works closely with the client and the family to build independent living skills, address emotional and behavioral challenges, and develop resiliency and coping skills. Clients also receive customized employment services to ensure they successfully transition to self-sufficiency.

“In addition to the Transitional Living Program, LSC also licenses homes to take children who are younger than 15 years old,” Armellini notes. “We opened up those parameters in order to serve children of all ages.”

LSC’s Transitional Living Program was established in 2022 with support from Dogwood Health Trust, an Asheville-based private foundation focused on improving the health and well-being of western North Carolinians. To learn more about the program or to inquire about fostering children and young people of all ages, please contact Whitney Burton at or 828.283.0126.

Erin Kidd

Author Erin Kidd

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