Reducing Homelessness Among Youth with Child Welfare Involvement: Phase II Implementation Experiences in a Multi-Phase Grant
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
The following factors helped or hindered grantees in meeting grant requirements and implementing their models:
- Leaders facilitated implementing the models by (1) having in-depth knowledge of the services and supports; (2) meeting with partners regularly to promote support for the model; and (3) engaging stakeholders at all levels, including leadership at state or county child welfare agencies, service providers, and referring entities.
- Grantees that established a committed coalition of partners during the YARH-1 planning phase began enrolling and delivering services to youth more quickly and consistently compared to grantees that had not successfully engaged partners prior to implementation.
- The grant activities were helpful for engaging partners and establishing a shared vision of the model, identifying and resolving implementation challenges, and facilitating communication during implementation.
- In all models, youth were assigned a youth practitioner who supported them until they graduated from the model. These youth practitioners used various methods to support youth to address past trauma, build life skills and confidence to self-advocate, engage natural and formal supports, and access community resources.
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.
The purpose of this report is to highlight the findings and challenges that the YARH-2 grantees and their partners faced in their efforts to implement their models. Additionally, share findings about strategies the grantees used that supported implementation of their models, as well as other factors that facilitated implementation.