Reducing Homelessness Among Youth with Child Welfare Involvement: An Analysis of Phase I Planning Processes in a Multi-phase Grant

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), 2013-2024 | Learn more about this project
Types:
Reports
Reducing Homelessness Among Youth with Child Welfare Involvement: An Analysis of Phase I Planning Processes in a Multi-phase Grant
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  • File Size 2mb
  • Pages 131
  • 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 report from Phase I of Building Capacity to Evaluate Interventions for Youth/Young Adults with Child Welfare Involvement At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH) describes the grantees, their plans, and their progress, as well as common themes across the grantees’ program planning period from 2013-2015.

Three related spotlights summarize high level themes from the process study report: overall lessons learned related to supporting grantees in a multi-phase initiative, partnerships, and development of comprehensive service models and planning for summative evaluations.

Three related snapshots of lessons from the field success stories discuss an aspect of Phase I work that was unique to each grantee: conducting case reviews, development and use of a predictive risk model to identify youth at risk of homelessness, and creating and maintaining buy-in for data sharing across agencies.

Research Questions

  1. 1 How did grantees develop partnerships to do the work the grant required?
  2. 2 What were grantees’ experiences with using data to learn about youth at risk of homelessness in their community?
  3. 3 What comprehensive service models did grantees develop under the planning grant?

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). The goal of the process study was to document what grantees accomplished in the process of learning more about the youth and young adults with child welfare involvement at risk of homelessness in their community. The process study focused on three critical activities: developing partnerships to help understand the data, developing a comprehensive service model, and beginning to develop a rigorous evaluation design. The process study presents lessons learned that could inform future multiphase grant opportunities.

The process study has six related documents. Three that are in a series called “In the Spotlight” highlight key areas from the process study: partnerships, comprehensive service models, and lessons learned. The other three, which are in a series called “Lessons from the Field,” describe the experiences of three grantees with data collection and analysis.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • Completing all activities on the time line suggested by the Children’s Bureau was challenging for many grantees. Specifically, data analysis took longer than anticipated, which meant that some grantees began to develop logic models and evaluation plans later than planned.
  • Although the partnership structures that grantees used to implement and manage the work of the grant varied, many consisted of leadership or planning teams and subcommittees organized around outcome areas. The type of lead agency – child welfare agency or community-based organization – often influenced the staffing of planning teams, their level of access to data, and the types of service models proposed.
  • Grantees accessed a wide range of data sources to understand the issue of youth and young adult homelessness in their community. Data included administrative records (such as those related to youth homelessness) and alternative sources to augment information about services and needs (such as youth surveys, focus groups, pilot tests, and case record reviews). Many grantees faced challenges related to data access and quality.
  • Although grantees’ comprehensive service model plans varied in their operational details, they all included a similar set of components—in particular, independent living services and intensive case management.

Methods

The process study and the three related publications in the “In the Spotlight” series are based on reviews of grant applications and semiannual reports, as well as interviews and focus groups conducted during two-day site visits with each grantee made between January and March 2015. The “Lessons from the Field” briefs are first-person accounts by Phase I grantees about their work.

Citation

Stagner, M., M. C. Bradley, L. Klein Vogel, A. D’Angelo, E. Knas, A. Gothro, N. Fung, C. Powers, and J. Worthington. (2017). “Reducing Homelessness Among Youth with Child Welfare Involvement: An Analysis of Phase I Planning Processes in a Multi-phase Grant.” OPRE Report Number 2017-51. 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”
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: March 9, 2018