Nebraska Children and Families Foundation: Connected Youth Initiative

Program/Intervention: 
Connected Youth Initiative
Implementing Organization: 
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Intermediary(s): 
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Summary: 

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation implemented the Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) to help young people aged 14 to 24 from adverse backgrounds transition towards a positive adulthood. CYI uses a collective impact approach to create systems change in rural Nebraska communities and serves young people in Nebraska through the following essential CYI elements:

  • Opportunities for youth leadership and advocacy
  • A financial literacy and asset-building program
  • Support services funds for young adults to access an array of basic needs services and supports in emergency instances
  • Goal-oriented coaching to develop skills, access services, and support self-sufficiency in the transition to adulthood

Study Goals:

The goals of this study are to demonstrate the impacts of the CYI model and to understand implementation in a rural context.

Research Questions:

The evaluation includes both implementation and impact research questions. The research questions include:

  • Impact Questions:
    • Compared to similar young people who do not participate, to what extent does CYI improve the following for the young people who participated:
      • overall well-being
      • access to stable housing
      • access to stable employment and education
      • other domains of well-being
  • Implementation Questions:
    • How prepared are the communities to implement CYI, and what is their capacity around data collection?
    • What contextual factors about the community, partners, and region influence the implementation of CYI?
    • What are the variations in how CYI is implemented in communities (e.g., services offered, services accepted, participation)?
    • What challenges are the subgrantees facing in the implementation of the CYI model?
    • What positive effects are subgrantees seeing?
    • To what extent, if any, has the focus on collective impact increased the sustainability and capacity of the collaboratives?

Findings:

The evaluation’s findings include the following:

  • Impact Findings:
    • CYI achieved multiple positive outcomes for young people who engaged in programming and services.
    • Overall, CYI participants are statistically more likely to report:
      • More safe and stable living situations,
      • Greater financial stability,
      • Increased perceived hope, and
      • Decreased emergency care utilization.
  • Implementation Findings:
    • Young adults engaged with the CYI through 16 different types of combinations, though coaching was the most common component utilized across all.
    • At a systems-level, staff indicated that setting the CYI model within a collaborative infrastructure often generated greater awareness and understanding of the unconnected youth population within the community.

For more information, download the full report and report brief.

CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Youth Development (SIF)
Age(s) Studied: 
13-17 (Adolescent)
18-25 (Young adult)
Focus Population(s)/Community(s): 
Opportunity Youth
Outcomes Category(s): 
Financial Literacy
Housing
Employment
K-12 Success
Post-Secondary Educational Support
Access to Care
Study Type(s): 
Impact
Implementation
Study Design(s): 
Quasi-Experimental (QED)
Level of Evidence: 
Moderate
Researcher/Evaluator: 
WestEd
Year Published: 
2020
Date Posted Online: 
May 1, 2020
Study Site Location (State): 
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