The WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center, in partnership with the Nebraska Center for Justice Research at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, were recently named the external evaluators for the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Connected Youth Initiative (CYI).
The Foundation is engaging in an effort to help unconnected youth in 40 rural counties of Nebraska become contributing, independent citizens. Unconnected youth are defined as young people between 14-24 who are currently or have been in the Nebraska foster care system, have had contact with the child protective services, have had contact with the juvenile justice system (but are not on probation), or are homeless or near homeless.
CYI, co-funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund, will support six subgrantees in implementing the initiative across the 40 rural counties.
It is anticipated that the evaluation will be a five-year study in total, with development and formative evaluation work during the first 20 months to assist the Foundation in developing an overall approach to the process and outcome evaluation and working with subgrantees to create a unified evaluation strategy to carry out over the final 40 months of the study. The evaluation will ultimately examine outcomes across a number of domains, including:
1) personal and community engagement,
4) daily living/housing and transportation,
5) physical and mental health,
6) permanence, and
7) economic stability.
“The Connected Youth Initiative is a program that is well aligned with the mission of the Justice & Prevention Research Center”, says Senior Researcher, Trevor Fronius. “We’re privileged to work with a group of passionate stakeholders who will engage vulnerable and disenfranchised youth to promote positive youth development, health and well-being, and prevent high-risk behaviors through a collaborative, multi-agency initiative to drive change in these communities.”