Evaluating Programs for Foster Youth Transitioning to Adulthood

Roughly 600 young adults “age out” of New York City foster care each year, meaning they reach the age of adulthood without being reunified with their parents, adopted, or in a subsidized guardianship with relatives. Few young people face greater challenges: youth who age out of foster care have high rates of homelessness, unemployment, poverty, criminal justice system involvement, and other negative outcomes.

Funded by the District Attorney of New York under its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII), Action Research is evaluating three programs designed for youth who are transitioning out of the foster care system. This quasi-experimental study provides an opportunity to learn about the challenges providers face in implementing the program models, and how well the programs meet their goal of helping transition age youth live independently and avoid negative outcomes. The study will also examine the cost effectiveness of the programs. Action Research is using a mixed-methods approach, analyzing administrative and survey data as well as conducting interviews and focus groups with youth and staff, to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the CJII-funded innovative programs. This evaluation will provide critical information to stakeholders in NYC and across the nation on how to best serve transition age youth.