Foster Youth Demonstration Project Final Evaluation Report

Author(s): Lynn, Irene; Barnow, Burt; Buck, Amy; Badeau, Sue; DiLorenzo, Paul

Organizational Author(s): Casey Family Programs; Institute for Edu. Leadership; Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Resource Availability: Publically available

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Summary

Underscores the importance of having a caring adult in a young person’s life who can guide and support the youth.

Description

This demonstration project was conducted in five states and six cities with the highest concentration of foster youth per capita in the country. The program sites provided academic preparation, job preparation, and college preparation as well as a variety of support services to participants. In this third and final report, “one of the most significant findings to emerge from the data was that youth who receive services for more quarters are much more likely to attain a positive outcome than youth who receive the same service for fewer quarters” (p.x). Most notably, “no single program component rose to the same level of importance in a young person’s life as having a caring adult who guided and supported the youth through this transition period” (p.iv). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “A multisystem approach is needed, as no single agency can meet all needs….[and]…require more partnerships than the sites have generally been able to create” (p.39).

• “Staffing, including specialists who work directly with the youth, is resource-intensive but highly valued by the youth.... Some sites employ former alumni of care. Youth participants are encouraged to know there are individuals who have shared their experiences and will not give up on them” (p.39).

• “The sites lacked complete data and comprehensive outcome measures. The sites were unanimous in observing that the DOL data reporting system was confusing at best and that the measures did not fully reflect youth outcomes, particularly around part-time employment and milestones in the youth‘s development” (p.40-41).

• “Some program models are better defined than others, and these tended to be more successful in leveraging other services. Programs that start out as demonstration projects, such as these, use what they learn to refine and improve their service models” (p.41).

• “Sites value and need well-defined, intensive technical assistance. Sites unanimously found little value, aside from encouragement, in the technical assistance provided through DOL. Sustained technical assistance was inconsistent—it started and stopped and started again—and the resources weren‘t sufficient to support in-depth assistance” (p.42).

• “Sustainability is an elusive goal. None of the sites have yet created a credible plan for sustainability. This was evidenced by the significant jolt that occurred within all of the sites when DOL discontinued their funding support. This action took the sites by surprise and many were still refining their model. Although Casey Family Programs has assumed funding, few sites have taken the opportunity to generate a sustainability plan” (p.43). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

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Publication Date: 2008
Posted: 1/8/2018 12:54 PM
Posted In: Workforce System Strategies
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