Connected Youth Initiative

Communities receiving grants

  • North Platte Area (Lincoln County)
  • Grand Island Area (Hall, Dawson, Buffalo, Merrick, Hamilton, Phelps, Kearney, Adams, Clay, Harlan, Franklin, Webster and Nuckolls Counties)
  • Norfolk Area (Madison, Pierce, Wayne and Stanton County)
  • Fremont Area (Dodge County)
  • Central Plains (Custer, Garfield, Blaine, Sherman, Valley and Loup Counties)
  • Southeast Nebraska (Butler, Cass, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Polk, Richardson, Saline, Seward, Thayer and York Counties)

About the Connected Youth model

While each community’s CYI will look different depending on the needs of youth and resources in the area, required components include:

  • Central Access Navigation – A coordinated approach that ensures     CYI participants get access to all of the services they need in a streamlined, common-sense way. By coordinating services and helping youth navigate them through a central access point, the communities can avoid duplication of efforts and effectively track the progress of young people.
  • Opportunity Passport™ – A nationally recognized financial literacy and asset-building program. Participating youth open Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) at a local bank, learn financial literacy skills, and save money for things like tuition, security deposits on apartments, or a car to take them to school and work. Youth savings are matched up to 4-to-1, helping them reach their goals more quickly.
  • Voluntary Youth Services - An array of basic needs services and supports including: health, mental health, housing and transportation resources, assistance in obtaining personal records (birth certificates), parenting resources, nutrition and healthy lifestyles, which are provided by multiple community partners working in unison for youth. 
  • Youth voice – A council of area youth to provide input on how the CYI system should be set up and what services are most necessary. Each of the six CYI grant communities will begin implementing their work plan immediately. WestEd, in conjunction with the University of Nebraska, will serve as a third-party evaluator to ensure fidelity to the original model, assess outcomes and make sure the community efforts are having the desired impact. The model for the new Connected Youth Community systems is a combination of the Omaha Independent Living Plan (2007) and the Social Services Rural Homeless Youth federal demonstration grant (2009). This model uses a collaborative leadership process to focus on the needs of unconnected youth by aligning current community efforts, developing additional resources, creating an evaluation process, and merging statewide actions into the plan.

Each of the six CYI grant communities will begin implementing their work plan immediately. WestEd, in conjunction with the University of Nebraska, will serve as a third-party evaluator to ensure fidelity to the original model, assess outcomes and make sure the community efforts are having the desired impact.
The model for the new Connected Youth Community systems is a combination of the Omaha Independent Living Plan (2007) and the Social Services Rural Homeless Youth federal demonstration grant (2009). This model uses a collaborative leadership process to focus on the needs of unconnected youth by aligning current community efforts, developing additional resources, creating an evaluation process, and merging statewide actions into the plan.

Site Map        Log In