State agencies finance and administer a range of services - from foster care for abused and neglected children to prisons to long-term care of the elderly. How can large public agencies and small community organizations plan better to meet the needs of the people they serve? Traditionally, useful and timely data for planning purposes have been in short supply. Recent research linking data across a number of public agencies has highlighted some significant findings about state services and the people who use them.
Nearly one in five U.S. youths will run away from home before age 18. Almost 30 percent of these youth will do so three or more times, greatly increasing their risk of violence, crime, drugs, prostitution, STDs, and many other problems. Employing new methodology to yield estimates not available elsewhere, this paper follows a nationally representative sample of 12-year olds through their 18th birthday to discover how many youth run away from home, the number of times they ran away, and the age they first run away. Female and black youth are found to run away the most often.
Low high school graduation rates and sharply declining employment rates continue to plague disadvantaged youth, especially young men. We review the evidence base on programs and policies such as youth development for adolescents and young teens; programs seeking to improve educational attainment and employment for in-school youth; and programs that try to "reconnect" those who are out of school and frequently out of work, including public employment programs. We identify a number of programmatic strategies that are promising or even proven, based on rigorous evaluations, for disadvantaged youth with different circumstances.
Much of today’s literature on youth programs emphasizes the importance of evidencebased approaches. The Urban Institute’s evaluation found Reclaiming Futures to be a promising strategy, however, many of the features that may be responsible for the positive system changes seen in the Reclaiming Futures initiative were inspired by practices not yet tested thoroughly by evaluators. This report examines two such components of the Reclaiming Futures initiative: positive youth development and cultural competence.
A shocking percentage of American youth run away from home by age 18, according to a new snapshot of runaways to be published by the Urban Institute, and many do so before turning 14. Roughly half of all youth who leave home without parental permission or knowledge do so more than once, with girls more likely to be repeat runaways.Many runaways become homeless because family reunification is not an option. Other young people end up on the street or in a shelter because they are abandoned by their parents, are forced to leave home, age out of foster care, or are released from the juvenile justice system.
Nearly 15 percent of all households and 39 percent of near-poor households were food insecure in 2008. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called the Food Stamp Program) is the cornerstone of federal food assistance programs and serves as the first line of defense against food-related hardship. Using SIPP data, this paper measures SNAP’s effectiveness in reducing food insecurity using an instrumental variables approach to control for selection bias. Our results suggest that SNAP receipt reduces the likelihood of being food insecure by roughly 30 percent and reduces the likelihood of being very food insecure by 20 percent.
In this study, we report the costs and benefits of the Reclaiming Futures initiative. The national evaluation of Reclaiming Futures found strong evidence that the systems change initiative created a foundation for improving substance abuse interventions for youth. Results from the stakeholder surveys found improvements in the target communities in treatment delivery and effectiveness, cooperation and information-sharing among youth service providers, and family involvement in youth care.
The 16th annual Fact Book is a comprehensive data source for indicators of child well-being in the District of Columbia. It tracks the progression of child well-being over time, as well as differences in child well-being across wards and races/ethnicities. It is organized to reflect the six citywide goals for children and youth in DC: children are ready for school; children and youth succeed in school; children and youth are healthy and practice healthy behaviors; children and youth engage in meaningful activities; children and youth live in healthy, stable, and supportive families; and all youth make a successful transition to adulthood.
While HOPE VI has changed the face of public housing, it has not been a solution for the most vulnerable families. The Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration, an innovative model for serving these residents, provides them with intensive family case management, along with relocation, employment, financial literacy, mental health and substance use supports. This report focuses on one of the major challenges to serving vulnerable families: identifying which clients require the full intensive services. We develop a typology that provides a template for delivering wraparound services to public and assisted housing settings, including vouchers and units integrated into mixed-income developments.
Federal and state budgets are under unprecedented pressure: deficits are ballooning, programs are being cut back, and tax rolls are anemic, or worse. As part of the federal government's response to the severe recession, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) cushioned state budget cuts, particularly in education, and included investments in children and families -- yet next steps after ARRA are unknown.
New research by Urban Institute and Brookings Institution analysts reveals how children -- collectively and at different ages -- fare in the federal budget and how federal and state spending mesh. Drawing on these forthcoming reports, a panel of distinguished experts will begin a vital and timely exchange on how the nation can, amid severe fiscal and budgetary challenges, make the wisest public investments in its children.