This case study describes how federally-funded technical assistance helped the Children's Services Council (CSC) parlay lessons learned from past programs serving disconnected youth into a more expansive effort to align funding for this population across all county systems and services.

This case study describes how the CSC in South Florida did just this, leveraging and pooling multiple funding streams to maximize impact for disconnected youth.

In many communities, leaders come together to collectively set desired academic, workforce, and social and emotional outcomes for disconnected and youth at risk of disconnection. All too often, however, these leaders do not discuss how to build a collaborative resource development strategy or plan where they can coordinate local, state, philanthropic, and federal resources to support youth in a comprehensive, integrated way.

Broward County partners supported multiple programs that provided academic and college and career preparation supports to the desired youth between ages 14 and 24. The CSC LEAP (Literacy, Enrichment, and Academic Pursuits) high school afterschool program, funded by the federal 21st CCLC program, provided students with the academic support they needed to earn their high school diploma.

Innovative Concepts (iCon), funded by WIOA dollars and offered by the Broward County Public Schools, prepared youth that were no longer enrolled in high school for high-skill jobs through paid work experience as well as with life skills and leadership training. However, the students participating in LEAP wanted access to job training and the iCon youth needed additional academic support to be successful in the job training programs. The pieces of a support system for youth were there—but they did not work together to effectively serve the multiple needs of their participants. The community took charge to bring these parts together, creating an integrated, comprehensive support system.

Major Findings & Recommendations

Lessons Learned from Broward County:

  • Engage a workgroup comprised of cross-sector representatives in your issue of interest to guide the fiscal mapping process.
  • Plan to use a mixed-method approach to data collection; interviews help clarify survey responses.
  • Generate consistent definitions of fiscal mapping parameters from service providers to ensure you are collecting comparable data.

The subsequent analysis of funding data revealed that funds explicitly supporting diversion are limited. This discovery prompted a broader conversation around how the community can better support disconnected youth. Additionally, CSC discovered that the majority of diversion funds are devoted to residential-based and community-based intervention services, indicating the need to bridge a significant gap in prevention services. To address this gap in services, the CSC will issue a request for proposals in 2018 to fund additional, more coordinated, prevention-based services for teens in Broward County. This process, with the support of engaged and invested stakeholders, will also serve as the basis for a broader fiscal mapping project in the coming year that aims to highlight the full extent of services for youth in the juvenile justice system—and encourage the coordination of diverse funding streams to bridge additional gaps.