Lessons from a Federal Initiative to Build Capacity to End Youth Homelessness

August 31, 2017
Topics:
Abuse, Neglect, Adoption & Foster Care, Youth Services
Projects:
Building Capacity to Evaluate Interventions for Youth/Young Adults with Child Welfare Involvement At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH), 2013-2019 | Learn more about this project
Types:
Reports
Lessons from a Federal Initiative to Build Capacity to End Youth Homelessness
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  • File Size 491kb
  • Pages 4
  • Published 2017

Introduction

In September 2013, the Children’s Bureau awarded 18 grantees two-year planning grants to develop a comprehensive service model to prevent homelessness among youth and young adults with child welfare involvement. This related brief from Phase I of Building Capacity to Evaluate Interventions for Youth/Young Adults with Child Welfare Involvement At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH) discusses lessons learned from working with the grantees, focusing on the application of the capacity strategy described in Framework to End Youth Homelessness: A Resource Text for Dialogue and Action. A companion brief, Analysis of Data on Youth With Child Welfare Involvement at Risk of Homelessness, discusses the work Phase I grantees completed based on the data strategy of the Framework.

 

Purpose

Youth and young adults with child welfare involvement face significant challenges in their transition to adulthood, challenges that increase their risk of becoming homeless. The Children’s Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families developed a multiphase grant initiative to build the evidence base on what works to prevent homelessness among youth and young adults who have been involved in the child welfare system. This program is referred to as Youth At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH). Eighteen organizations received funding for the first phase, a two year planning grant (2013-2015). Grantees used the planning period to conduct data analyses to help them understand their local population and develop a comprehensive service model to improve youth outcomes related to housing, education and training, social well-being, and permanent connections. Six of those organizations received funding to refine and test their comprehensive service models during the second phase, a three-year initial implementation grant (2015-2018). Framework to End Youth Homelessness: A Resource Text for Dialogue and Action provides a foundation from which communities can address homelessness among unaccompanied youth. Phase I grantees used the data and capacity strategies in the framework to develop a plan for ending homelessness among the youth and young adults with child welfare involvement in their communities.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • A successful capacity strategy depended on the ability of grantees to obtain and analyze high-quality data. Data provided the foundation from which communities could identify areas of strength and areas where additional services were needed.
  • Grantees required significant support, guidance, and technical assistance to obtain data and develop capacity. They needed technical assistance for program development and implementation, creation of data-sharing agreements, building partnerships, methods of data analysis, and evaluation design and planning.
  • Building strong partnerships with key stakeholders is crucial to successful data analysis and capacity building. Stakeholders need to come from both public and private organizations.

Methods

Data for this brief come from grant applications, semiannual progress reports submitted by Phase I grantees, and two-day site visits with each grantee between January and March 2015. Documents were coded to identify themes regarding building capacity, in particular the capacity activities discussed in the framework.

Citation

Klein Vogel, Lisa and M. C. Bradley. (2017). The USICH Youth Framework in Action: A Federal Initiative to Build Capacity. OPRE Report Number 2017-55. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Glossary

OPRE
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
Phase I
Grants awarded in 2013 by the Children’s Bureau to 18 communities in response to the funding opportunity announcement “Planning Grants to Develop a Model Intervention for Youth/Young Adults with Child Welfare Involvement At Risk of Homelessness”
USICH
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
YARH
Youth At Risk of Homelessness, acronym used to represent the initiative funded by ACF to support communities in addressing homelessness among youth and young adults with child welfare involvement
Last Reviewed: April 29, 2019