Youth At-Risk of Homelessness: Design for an Impact Study of “Pathways to Success”click to download
A Coach-Like Case Management Program for Youth and Young Adults in Foster Care:
Preventing homelessness among young people who have been involved in the child welfare system remains an urgent issue for child welfare policymakers and practitioners. Housing stability is essential for achieving self-sufficiency and promotes health and well-being, particularly during the transition to adulthood. A combination of disadvantages places youth with a history of foster care, especially those aging out of care, at a higher risk of homelessness compared with their peers.
To expand the evidence base on interventions to prevent homelessness among youth and young adults who have been involved in the child welfare system, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the Youth At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH) multiphase grant program. YARH grantees received funding to develop interventions for youth and young adults with child welfare involvement who are most likely to experience homelessness. The grant program specifies three target populations: (1) adolescents who enter foster care from age 14 to 17; (2) young adults aging out of foster care; and (3) homeless youth and young adults, up to age 21, with foster care histories.
The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation contracted with Mathematica in the first two phases of YARH to provide evaluation technical assistance to grantees, support them in articulating and refining the design of their service models, assess the evaluability of each service model, and disseminate the knowledge developed. ACF is now in the third phase of YARH (or YARH-3) and is conducting a rigorous summative evaluation of a policy-relevant comprehensive service model developed and refined during the first two phases of YARH.
This summative evaluation conducted under YARH-3 will examine the effect of Colorado’s Pathways to Success comprehensive service model. Pathways is an intensive, coach-like case management model for youth and young adults in foster care. A large, cluster quasi-experimental impact study design will be used to test the effectiveness of Pathways in 37 counties in Colorado.
The Pathways impact study will provide evidence of program effectiveness on a large number of policy-relevant outcomes, including stable housing, education, employment, permanent connections to caring adults, and social-emotional well-being. It will show the effectiveness of Pathways at short- and long-term follow-up periods and estimate the extent to which the program is more or less effective for key subgroups. Finally, the study will link features of program implementation (for example, dosage, quality, or adherence of the program delivery) to youth outcomes. This report describes the design of the Pathways impact study. A separate report describes the implementation study design for the Pathways evaluation (Keith et al, 2021).
Issue(s): Child Welfare
Focus Area(s): Foster Care & At-Risk Youth, Public Benefits Programs
Author(s): M.C. (Cay) Bradley, Menbere Shiferaw, Russell Cole
Issues & Focus Areas
- Child Support
- Child Welfare
- Early Childhood & Education
- Economic Security & Healthcare
- Father Engagement & Healthy Relationships
- Gender-Based Violence