The John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood (Chafee program; formerly the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program) was created following the passage of the Foster Care Independence Act (FCIA) of 1999 (Public Law 106-169). The program provides assistance to help youth currently and formerly in foster care achieve self-sufficiency by providing grants to States and eligible Tribes that submit an approvable plan. Activities and programs allowable under the Chafee program include help with education, employment financial management, housing, emotional support, and assured connections to caring adults for older youth in foster care. In addition, the FCIA required that funding be set aside for evaluations of promising independent living programs. In response to this statutory requirement, the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) conducted the Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs, a rigorous, random assignment evaluation of four programs funded under the Chafee program. This study was completed in 2011.
In order to build on the findings of the Multi-Site evaluation and to formalize a plan for future evaluation activities under the Chafee program, ACF awarded a task order contract to the Urban Institute. Subsequently, ACF awarded a contract to the Urban Institute to engage Phase II of this work, which includes conducting formative evaluations of programs of potential national significant in preparation for possible future summative evaluations. Programmatic areas of interest for this work include: employment and college success programs; services for pregnant and parenting youth; supportive housing programs; and the extension of Chafee services to age 23 in eligible states with extended federal foster care. The activities and products from this task order will inform future evaluation activities.