In 2018, Child Trends became the Foster Youth Initiative’s Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) partner. The role of Child Trends includes facilitating continuous learning and supporting the incorporation of evaluation findings back into the strategy, as well as strengthening the field by disseminating what we learn. The evaluation framework developed by Child Trends tracks progress toward the goals of the initiative by identifying grantee and Foundation contributions and highlighting opportunities to further collective progress.

Currently in its second phase (2017 – 2022), the Initiative strives to improve education and employment outcomes for transition age foster youth (foster TAY), ages 16 – 24, in Los Angeles County and New York City. The Initiative has three objectives:

  1. Strengthen systems and policy for foster TAY.
  2. Expand and share knowledge with the field.
  3. Advance innovative foster TAY programs.

Guided by these objectives, the Initiative has advanced systems reform in six issue areas: education (grades 8 – 12); post-secondary education; employment; placement; focused interventions (including reproductive health education, pregnant and parenting youth, and crossover youth); and coordination of data and the many systems that touch the lives of foster TAY.

In this inaugural report, Child Trends describes the Initiative’s current context and areas of recent progress, and offers recommendations for further advancing its goals to support foster TAY.