This brief discusses trends in youth employment and workforce development to set the context for efforts to improve economic outcomes for New York City (NYC) foster youth. Several common measures have moved in positive directions in recent years. The number and rate of youth disconnected from school and work has dropped as has the youth unemployment rate, while hourly wage rates have risen. These improvements mask some troubling trends showing youth participating in more part-time as opposed to full-time work and stagnant earnings. NYC has a robust set of youth workforce initiatives, including several targeted at foster youth. Workforce experts credit these programs for contributing to improvements, but the absence of greater gains among youth during the tightest labor market on record is cause for concern.
This brief focuses on trends among students in New York City’s (NYC) public schools to provide context for the efforts made to increase the educational advancement of NYC transition age youth in foster care. The high school graduation rate overall increased steadily over the past decade in NYC, consistent with NY State, and national trends. Additional markers of educational progress such as rates of attendance, dropping out, and college enrollment demonstrate significant improvements. Though NYC public school students have made significant progress overall, racial disparities remain.
The method used to calculate high school graduation rates for the general population is not applicable to foster youth, who often stay in foster care for short periods. As a result, NYC developed several alternate measures to track educational performance for this group over the past several years. Spurred in part by federal legislation, New York City initiated several new educational policies and services that impact foster youth. This brief touches on postsecondary outcomes such as college persistence and job readiness, which could be an additional area to explore in future briefs.
This brief focuses on teen pregnancy and births in New York City (NYC) to place the measures used in the Foster Youth Initiative in context. Consistent with national and statewide trends, the most widely used measures of teen pregnancy and birth rates show marked and sustained declines in NYC over the last ten years. Still, areas that have high rates of child maltreatment investigations have teen pregnancy and birth rates that can be twice as high as the citywide rate. This brief discusses trends in NYC, the potential impact on NYC’s foster care system, and a measure that may help track trends among NYC youth in foster care.
This first policy brief focuses on the state of child welfare in New York City in 2018 and draws upon several sources including media and advocacy reports; experience with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS, the city’s child welfare agency), other city agencies, and contracted service providers; and attendance at the January 22, 2018 forum entitled Toward a 21st Child Welfare System. The memo begins with a short discussion of the system’s strengths and looming challenges followed by a description of some of the strategies ACS uses to grapple with challenges faced by transition age youth (TAY). The memo then describes the topics of future policy briefs.
During the last eight years, the city launched three innovative policy initiatives that use information technology and administrative data to integrate HHS processes in an effort to strengthen cross-agency policy development, increase the quality and efficiency of service delivery, and improve the outcomes of HHS clients. The city established an interagency research team in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, developed an online procurement and management system for health and human service agencies, and systems to coordinate the delivery of services. Significant progress has been made in moving the city closer to a modernized service system that integrates information across agencies, uses data to drive policy more effectively, makes informed decisions, and measures the outcomes of these services consistently and frequently.
This brief first outlines some of the problems with fragmentation that the policy initiatives aimed at addressing. Next, it discusses the challenges these efforts have faced and the strategies used to tackle them. And finally, it looks ahead at lessons learned and forthcoming issues that will need attention. To produce this brief, the authors reviewed documents provided by the Mayor’s Office, interviewed key government and provider staff, and drew on their own professional experiences designing and evaluating health and human services and programs.