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Table of Contents
                            Funders Page
List of Exhibits
Executive Summary
Chapter 1: Introduction and Background
Chapter 2: Local Context and Service Environment
Chapter 3: Youth Villages and the Transitional Living Program
Chapter 4: Study Recruitment and Enrollment
Chapter 5: Implementation of the Youth Villages Transitional Living Program
Chapter 6: Participation in Transitional Living Program Services
Chapter 7: Discussion
Appendix A: Sample Treatment Plan
About MDRC
Document Text Contents
Page 1







Michelle Manno
Erin Jacobs
Julianna Alson
Melanie Skemer

March 2014

Page 2


Mary Jo Bane
Thornton Bradshaw Professor of

Public Policy and Management
John F. Kennedy School of

Harvard University

Robert Solow
Institute Professor Emeritus
Massachusetts Institute of


Rudolph G. Penner
Senior Fellow and Arjay and

Frances Miller Chair in
Public Policy

Urban Institute

Ron Haskins
Senior Fellow, Economic Studies
Co-Director, Center on Children and

Brookings Institution

James H. Johnson, Jr.
William Rand Kenan Jr.

Distinguished Professor of
Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Director, Urban Investment
Strategies Center

University of North Carolina

Lawrence F. Katz
Elisabeth Allison Professor of

Harvard University

Bridget Terry Long
Professor of Education and

Graduate School of Education
Harvard University

Josh B. McGee
Vice President of Public

Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Richard J. Murnane
Thompson Professor of Education

and Society
Graduate School of Education
Harvard University

Jan Nicholson
The Grable Foundation

John S. Reed
Retired Chairman

Michael Roster
Former General Counsel
Stanford University
Former Managing Partner
Morrison & Foerster, Los Angeles

Cecilia E. Rouse
Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of

Public and International Affairs
Katzman-Ernst Professor in the

Economics of Education
Professor of Economics and

Public Affairs
Princeton University

Isabel V. Sawhill
Senior Fellow, Economic Studies
Co-Director, Center on Children and

Brookings Institution


Gordon L. Berlin
President, MDRC

Page 81


Numerical scores for each of the key practice elements are tallied to determine the level
of fidelity to that element, with zero equal to no fidelity and 100 equal to complete fidelity. Con-
cerns about a state’s or a region’s model fidelity are documented, and recommendations for im-
provement are provided in writing and in conversation with the leadership of the region or state.

Discharge Planning

Transitional Living is typically available to a youth for nine months, though some youth
participate for slightly longer.21 The TL Specialist, clinical consultant, and clinical supervisor
typically discuss the appropriateness of discharge approximately eight months after a youth is
enrolled in Transitional Living. Youth who are meeting their goals and are stable (housing is
reliable, youth has resources and supports in place) are likely to be discharged in their ninth
program month, if not before, while youth who continue to experience instability or who need
additional support stay in Transitional Living for up to several more months, until they are more
prepared for independence. Some youth voluntarily stop participating partway through regard-
less of the goals they achieve. TL Specialists employ a variety of techniques to find these
youths, such as calling, texting, trying to contact other adults in the youth’s life, or driving by
places the youth is known to frequent. When TL Specialists lose contact with a young person
for one month, they send a certified letter requesting contact. Youths who do not contact the TL
Specialist within two weeks are officially discharged from the Transitional Living program.

Youth Villages and the Transitional Living program are very prescriptive in their model. Specif-
ic quality control and model fidelity standards are built into the fabric of Youth Villages and its
programs that work to maintain its culture. However, as Chapter 5 lays out, TL Specialists have
a good deal of flexibility in the way they achieve their goals. The next chapter describes the
study recruitment, assessment, random assignment, and enrollment processes used for the Tran-
sitional Living Evaluation, and a more detailed description of Transitional Living services is
presented out in Chapter 5.

21An exception to the nine-month timeline is made for participants in the Youth Villages Scholars pro-

gram. Youth who successfully complete one semester of college are eligible to apply for this highly competi-
tive program. Select youth maintain involvement with Transitional Living until they earn their first college
degree and receive significant financial aid for education, and until Youth Villages facilitates connections with
a formal mentor and other resources.

Page 161


Tierney, Joseph P., and Jean Baldwin Grossman. 2000. Making a Difference: An Impact Study of
Big Brothers Big Sisters. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures.

Timmons-Mitchell, Jane, Monica B. Bender, Maureen A. Kishna, and Clare C. Mitchell. 2006. “An
Independent Effectiveness Trial of Multisystemic Therapy with Juvenile Justice Youth.” Jour-
nal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 35, 2: 227-236.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2012. The AFCARS Report: Preliminary FY 2011
Estimates as of July 2012. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families,
Children's Bureau.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2011. The AFCARS Report: Preliminary FY 2010
Estimates as of June 2011. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families,
Children's Bureau.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2012. Employment Status of the Civilian Non-
institutional Population by Age, Sex, and Race. CPS Tables, Household Data, Annual Averag-
es. Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. General Accounting Office. 1999. Foster Care: Effectiveness of Independent Living Services
Unknown. Washington, DC: Health, Education, and Human Services Division.

Youth Villages. 2011. “Day Foundation Announces $42 Million Legacy Challenge Grant to Youth
Villages.” Press release, August 2. Web site:

Page 162

About MDRC

MDRC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social and education policy research organization dedicated
to learning what works to improve the well-being of low-income people. Through its research
and the active communication of its findings, MDRC seeks to enhance the effectiveness of so-
cial and education policies and programs.

Founded in 1974 and located in New York City and Oakland, California, MDRC is best known
for mounting rigorous, large-scale, real-world tests of new and existing policies and programs.
Its projects are a mix of demonstrations (field tests of promising new program approaches) and
evaluations of ongoing government and community initiatives. MDRC’s staff bring an unusual
combination of research and organizational experience to their work, providing expertise on the
latest in qualitative and quantitative methods and on program design, development, implementa-
tion, and management. MDRC seeks to learn not just whether a program is effective but also
how and why the program’s effects occur. In addition, it tries to place each project’s findings in
the broader context of related research — in order to build knowledge about what works across
the social and education policy fields. MDRC’s findings, lessons, and best practices are proac-
tively shared with a broad audience in the policy and practitioner community as well as with the
general public and the media.

Over the years, MDRC has brought its unique approach to an ever-growing range of policy are-
as and target populations. Once known primarily for evaluations of state welfare-to-work pro-
grams, today MDRC is also studying public school reforms, employment programs for ex-
offenders and people with disabilities, and programs to help low-income students succeed in
college. MDRC’s projects are organized into five areas:

• Promoting Family Well-Being and Children’s Development

• Improving Public Education

• Raising Academic Achievement and Persistence in College

• Supporting Low-Wage Workers and Communities

• Overcoming Barriers to Employment

Working in almost every state, all of the nation’s largest cities, and Canada and the United
Kingdom, MDRC conducts its projects in partnership with national, state, and local govern-
ments, public school systems, community organizations, and numerous private philanthropies.

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