Lessons from the Field: Using Continuous Quality Improvement to Refine Interventions for Youth at Risk of Homelessness
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
The Children’s Bureau, within the Administration for Children and Families (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), is funding a multi-phase grant program referred to as Youth At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH) 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. YARH focuses on three populations: (1) adolescents who enter foster care from ages 14 to 17, (2) young adults aging out of foster care, and (3) homeless youth/young adults with foster care histories up to age 21.
Eighteen organizations received funding for the first phase of YARH, a two-year planning grant (2013–2015). Six of those organizations received funding for the second phase of YARH, a four-year initial implementation grant (2015–2019). These organizations are refining and testing comprehensive service models to improve outcomes for youth in housing, education and training, social well-being, and permanent connections.
In this brief, local evaluators working with two YARH grantees, Alameda County, California, and the Colorado Department of Human Services, describe how their teams used continuous quality improvement (CQI) to learn from the initial implementation of their model interventions and refine them.