Connected Youth Initiative Social Innovation Fund Evaluation
In 2015, the Corporation for National and Community Service awarded a Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant to Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. The grant was used to expand the Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) model to additional rural communities across the state.
WestEd, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency, completed an independent study of CYI in 2020 as part of the SIF grant. A key feature of the study was its use of a rigorous, quasi-experimental design, which observes differences in outcomes between a treatment and comparison group. The study’s primary research question was: to what extent does CYI improve dimensions of well-being for the young persons who participated compared to similar young people who did not participate?
Relative to their peers who were not sufficiently engaged with the Connected Youth Initiative, the study found that young people who participated in CYI had:
- 3.8x greater odds of having a safe and stable living situation
- 1.8x greater odds of having enough funds for expenses
- 4x greater odds of having a savings account
- Estimated 13% improvement in perceived hope
- Up to 71% lower odds of multiple ER visits
Additionally, implementation study findings highlighted that:
- Young adults engage with CYI in a wide variety of ways, with sixteen different types of programming/services combinations
- Some communities indicated that setting the CYI model within a collaborative infrastructure often generated greater awareness and understanding of the unconnected youth population within the community
Click here for more study details, including the full report and study limitations.
Transitional Services Survey
Beginning in October of 2015, surveys assessing the wellbeing of older youth in Nebraska have been collected across the state twice annually (April and October). Originally based on the Opportunity Passport™ Participant Survey designed by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, the Transitional Services Survey was developed and finalized via a collaborative process involving key stakeholders from across the state. The primary purpose of the survey is to understand how unconnected young adults in Nebraska are faring at a point in time, though Transitional Services Survey data has also been leveraged for other evaluations.
The Transitional Services Survey administration was paused in 2021 due to a redesign of survey instruments used to evaluate the Connected Youth Initiative model.