Older Youth Learning Collaborative: a plan to develop strategies and system interventions that increase permanency and well-being for older youth

Through the Older Youth Learning Collaborative (OYLC), Casey Family Programs is supporting the development of practice strategies and system improvements for older youth in foster care that can be spread nationally. The project is 18 months in duration and provides an opportunity for intensive learning across child welfare systems and Casey Field Offices, coordinated technical assistance, strategic data analysis and access to top experts in the field.

Target Population

The overall target population is older youth in child welfare ages 11 to 21. Jurisdictions participating have identified subpopulations of youth based on data, including but not limited to: crossover youth, youth who have been in care over two years, youth in congregate care settings, youth with developmental disabilities, youth with significant mental health needs and youth that are pregnant and parenting.

Participants

Participating jurisdictions were selected based on data analysis and assessment of site readiness and capacity. The participating sites are: Austin, Texas; Connecticut; Tennessee; San Diego, California; Colorado; and Michigan. The Casey Family Programs’ Strategic Consultant is the primary contact for the jurisdiction and oversees all aspects of technical assistance. In addition, a cross-functional resource team serves as a consistent set of advisers providing additional supports in planning and implementation. The OYLC draws heavily on the combined expertise of the Child and Family Services and Systems Improvement participants.

Strategies

Jurisdictions are developing logic models to guide planning and implementation. Emphasis is on interventions that are evidence-based and/or evidence-informed. Areas that have been identified for technical assistance include: crossover youth practice model, trauma informed care, pregnant and parenting youth, predictive analysis, practices that promote permanency, reducing use of congregate care and Title IV-E waiver support of older youth work.

Outcomes

The overall outcome for the project is to develop and identify strategies and systems interventions that increase permanency and well-being for older youth. Jurisdictions have identified outcomes specific to their project including; decreasing time youth are in foster care, decreasing number of youth in congregate care, increasing kinship support and placement and decreasing juvenile justice involvement.

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