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The History of Utah Youth Village

The mission of Utah Youth Village is to heal and elevate lives through proven family solutions.

In 1969, there were no programs for struggling girls in Utah.

Girls who were reacting to abusive families were either warehoused in inadequate foster homes or placed in detention. Nothing was available to help them reclaim their lives and recover from their abuse.

Lila Bjorklund changed that by creating what was initially called Utah Girls’ Village. Later, in 1988 our name was changed to Utah Youth Village because we started to serve as many boys as girls.

For 25 years, Lila worked 40-50 hours a week, without compensation, to give struggling children of all ages and backgrounds the loving adult relationships and learning opportunities necessary to change their lives.

The charity Lila founded, Utah Youth Village, is one of Utah’s largest, most respected charities serving thousands of individuals a year in therapeutic foster homes, in-home services, a fully-accredited therapeutic boarding school, mentoring, and intensive online parenting resources.

Although Lila has passed on, her legacy of unflinching advocacy and love for children remains in the changed lives of all Village children and families.


Lila B. Bjorklund

Past Leadership

Gary L. Crocker

Shanna Draper, MA


Village Leadership Team

Teaching Family Model

All of the programs at Utah Youth Village are based on the principles of the Teaching-Family Model. As a milieu-wide treatment approach, “The Teaching-Family Model is probably the most described and researched residential care model in the literature.” (Ingrid James, Therapeutic Residential Care for Children, pg. 149 (2015)). The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices and the California Evidence-based Clearinghouse categorize the Teaching-Family Model as an evidence-based practice. The website for the American Psychological Association states, “The Teaching-Family Model is one of the few evidence-based residential treatment programs for troubled children.” For more information on the Teaching-Family Model and the Teaching-Family Association, please visit The Federal Government has recognized the Teaching Family Association as an approved Accrediting body.

Jeffery Story

Jeffery is an amazing kiddo who was placed in our Sorenson Family Home a few years ago. He came to us after a very difficult past including losing both his parents very early in his life. Jeffery bounced around from several different settings before coming to our Family Homes division. Six months after coming into our care, Jeffery made incredible progress. He eventually blossomed into an amazing and happy child. Jeffery went on to live with his aunt following his successful graduation from the Sorenson Home. He is one of many kiddos our Family Teachers made a positive difference on during his time with us. Please enjoy his story in this video presentation.