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Division of Mental Health Services

Office of Children and Youth (OCY)

Youth In Transition to Adulthood

For more information, please contact: Susan Steckel at 615-253-8377 or
The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services funds two programs specifically for youth in transition to adulthood: K-Town Youth Empowerment Network and Emerging Adults.

The K-Town Youth Empowerment Network is a mental health initiative in Knox County, Tennessee, serving youth transitioning to adulthood with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and their families. K-Town offers an effective approach to delivering mental health services and system transformation through an enhanced culturally competent, family-driven, youth-guided, community-based and coordinated system of care. Employing local youth and caregivers as care coordinators with support from mental health consultants, and partnering with parents and youth at all levels, K-Town will serve a minimum of 400 youth ages 14-21 with serious emotional disturbance or serious mental illness and their families over the course of the grant funded period (2009-2015). K-Town is a partnership between TDMHSAS, Tennessee Voices for Children, Helen Ross McNabb Center, Centerstone Research Institute, youth, family members, and local child-serving agencies.  For more information about K-Town, please visit their website at or call (865) 523-0701, Ext. 1.

The Emerging Adults Program provides a comprehensive array of supportive housing and habilitation services for youth ages 18 to 25 living with mental illness or co-occurring substance abuse disorder and who have recently graduated out of the state’s foster care system and/or adolescent residential recovery for mental illness or co-occurring disorder.  For more information about the Emerging Adults Program, please contact Bob Currie at

Office of Children and Youth staff also participate on the statutorily mandated Youth Transitions Advisory Council (YTAC) in support of statewide efforts to address the needs of youth exiting the foster care system and general emerging adulthood issues.  YTAC is administered by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.  For more information about the YTAC, please visit

Office of Children and Youth Links