In response to calls from state and local providers of youth services for a more efficient and integrated system to serve disconnected youth, the U.S. Congress (2014) authorized the Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3) in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Under the Act, up to 10 P3 pilots could be awarded to states, local, or tribal governments to pool funds from at least two Federal discretionary programs and, as needed, to apply for waivers from the programs’ requirements. Through the Act, five agencies—the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—awarded the first cohort of nine P3 pilots in October 2015.
Subsequent authorizations expanded P3 to include the U.S. Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development. These agencies, along with the Office of Management and Budget, designed P3 to test the hypothesis that awarding flexibilities to states and localities to pool funds and to obtain waivers would reduce barriers to providing effective services for disconnected youth. This evaluation was intended to test the hypothesis that awarding flexibilities to states and localities to pool funds and to obtain waivers would reduce barriers to providing effective services for disconnected youth.
Major Findings & Recommendations
In this implementation evaluation, the following findings emerged from the nine Cohort 1 pilots’ early experiences operationalizing the P3 authority:
- Pilots that were starting to make system changes were led by agencies that frequently convened and coordinated with local youth-serving organizations. These lead agencies were able to bring together partners from across different program areas, such as education and labor.
- All pilots brought together a diverse set of partners. Pilots indicated that government and community partners were willing to work across their different program areas, such as education and labor, to coordinate their youth-related services.
- Not all leaders of pilots’ grantees and their partners had a full understanding of the available flexibilities. They reported that a clearer understanding was essential for pilots to successfully blend or braid existing funding streams to support the youth intended for services and to remove other programmatic barriers that limit how these funds support youth-related services.
- Five pilots had proposed in their applications to create shared data systems, but, in the first year, none accomplished this goal, largely due to logistical and privacy concerns. Two decided not to pursue shared systems, and three reported that they were continuing local discussions to develop such systems. In the meantime, for purposes of P3, all pilots developed workarounds to share data about their participants and for reporting.