Building Capacity to Evaluate Interventions for Youth with Child Welfare Involvement at Risk of Homelessness: Phase I and II

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families

Former foster youth face significant challenges in the transition to adulthood, including risk of homelessness and unstable housing. To prevent homelessness among youth and young adults with foster care involvement, the Children’s Bureau and Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) initiated a multi-phase grant program.

In phase one, Mathematica provided evaluation technical assistance to 18 grantees as they developed innovative, comprehensive service models to support at-risk youth in making a successful transition to independent adult life. Our work included assisting grantees to analyze data on target populations, develop logic models of the comprehensive service model, and design rigorous evaluations. We also conducted a process evaluation of the planning period. The project helped to strengthen grantees’ evaluation plans, build local evaluation capacity, assess the evaluability of these comprehensive service models, and document the progress grantees make during the planning period. It also provided insight into potential designs and implementation of broader programs intended to reduce homelessness among former foster youth.

In phase two of the study, Mathematica is providing implementation technical assistance to six grantees to support them in initial implementation and preparation for rigorous summative evaluation. Our work includes assisting grantees with developing theories of change and logic models, conducting usability tests of their new procedures and processes, and completing a formative evaluation. The research team is also conducting a process study documenting grantees progress, success, and challenges.