Poor Outcomes:Education 33% drop out of high school 25% do not have a high school diploma or a GED by age 23/24 Only 2% graduate from college (compared to 27.5% of general population)Fewer than 16% complete a vocational degreeHousing - 22% experience homelessness and 40% of the adult homeless population spent time in foster careTeen Pregnancy- 48% of females are pregnant by19 Criminal Activity - 33% of males have been incarcerated by age 19
The two programs best equipped to turn those statistics around and assist older youth in foster care were available, but disconnectedWorkforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth ProgramU.S. Dept. of LaborAdministered by 20 Ohio Workforce Investment Boards
These national statistics and the current general disconnection between these two youth-serving programs is unacceptable. We’re sure you agree that we can and must do better. October 2011 Connecting the Dots was launched by ODJFS Director Michael ColbertWe have a new vision for Ohio’s youth.
Tier 1 was completed in January this year13 webinars with over 1,100 registrants Cross-program training on the WIA youth program foster care independent living services and the many self-service web-based tools available to help older foster youth assess their career interests, explore careers, research opportunities and funding for higher education.Tier 2 started this springWe’re now in the second phase, which is implementing a pilot program in five locations: Lake, Cuyahoga, Summit and Hamilton counties plus a four-county consortium including Montgomery and the surrounding counties. The goal of the pilot programs is to develop a coordinated service delivery model that uses all the resources available to serve older youth in the best way to improve the prospects for high school completion, enrollment in higher education, and getting jobs.
We did our research of programs for older youth and those already emancipated from foster care. We learned what did and did not work. We are incorporating the program elements that are proven to result in better educational and employment outcomes.
These are the activities and changes that are already happening in our five pilot locations!Lake County added 15 additional positions for summer work experience for current/former foster youth Montgomery County: hiring emancipated foster youth and training them to assist older youth in foster care with transition servicesWorking with employers with whom they already have a relationship (WIA has funded on-the-job training for the employer) and asking them to provide work experience opportunities for foster youthHamilton County:Contracted with a new service provider with expertise in serving foster youth Summit County:WIA Youth staff are much more actively involved in the multi-agency Emancipation Task Force
Connecting the Dots Initiative
Connecting the DotsFrom Foster Care to Employment and Independent Living Alice Worrell Connecting the Dots Conference August 3, 2012
Program HistoryOriginated Summer, 2011 OH Youth Advisory Board (OYAB) conference with Director Michael B. Colbert Youth Voice: local waiting lists (WIA), youth ill- prepared for independent living; inconsistent services across county linesCall to Action: “Connecting the Dots” Foster Care/Office of Families and Children and Workforce Investment Act (WIA)/Office of Workforce Development to collaborate to address concerns as raised by OYAB
Significance of Connecting the Dots in Ohio Every year in Ohio, 1,000 – 1,300 youth age out of our foster care system
National StatisticsEmployment Less than 50% are employed full timeEducation 25% do not have HS degree or GED by age 23Poverty 33% in households below poverty level (3X national rate)Housing 22% experience homelessnessMental Health 54% report at least one mental health problem 25% experience post-traumatic stress syndromeCriminal Activity 33% of males incarcerated by age 19Health Care less than 33% have healthcare coverageTeen Pregnancy 48% of females are pregnant by19
Old View Services and US Health andHuman Services Programs US Dept of Labor Available… WIA Youth Chafee Funds Program 88 PCSA IL 20 Ohio WIBs Programs Foster Youth and Young …but Adults Disconnected
Connectingthe DotsThe VisionTo dramatically improve the education and employmentoutcomes of youth emancipating from foster care, bettersupporting their transition to adulthood.
Four-tiered Initiative 1.State-wide Cross-program training for independent living and One- training to build Stop WIA youth program staff common knowledge Training for One-Stop youth staff, service providers, and foster youth, parents and case managers on web-based tools for career exploration, educational requirements, (COMPLETED) jobs available, and job search2. Pilot programs at Cuyahoga; Hamilton; Lake; Summit; and a collaboration local level of Montgomery, Greene, Preble, & Clinton counties3. Website for youth Access to transition information (OYAB Ask) 4. Statewide best Phased in approach practice model
Pilots:What were we looking for?Signs of program coordination/integration:• Integrated system design• Blended funding streams• Synchronized policies• Strategic case practice• Meaningful youth involvement (voice)• Collaborative planning
Pilots Will ProvideEffective Program Elements Youth Voice and Engagement (Youth in Transition) Vocational Mentoring Educational Supports (e.g., targeted tutoring) Work Experience (before graduation) Coordinated Delivery of WIA Youth Coordinators and PCSA IL Coordinators
CTD - Contributors Older Youth Additional Partners Supporters Age: 14 – 21 Local Agencies Adult Supporters (17 – 19 for DOL grant) (e.g., Big Brothers Big Sisters, (e.g., foster parents and WIA youth service providers) young adults) All Demographics Corporations and Local University Partners (meet readiness criteria) Companies (for expertise, resources & (work experience and evaluation purposes) opportunities) Across Ohio School Districts Policy makers (pilots sites; in various (e.g., County placement types) Commissioners)
New View No more silos! Integrated system design Blended funding streams Synchronized policies Strategic case practice Meaningful consumer involvement (youth and young adults) Collaborative planning
Changes Already Evident New workforce & employment component to IL services curriculum New job opportunities specifically for youth to promote self-sufficiency Foster youth/parent on Youth Council Priority for foster youth in WIA summer youth program Common service providers Passion for serving foster youth evident in WIA youth program service providers
Program OutcomesYouth who exit Ohio’s foster care system: receive adequate services to meet their needs are educated and employed are connected to available resources demonstrate the ability to weather living/life’s terrains beyond emancipationChange Champions have successfully linked CTD to other commitments (e.g., clothing and shelter, mental health)
Connecting the Dots…Moving ForwardWhat do you think wouldhelp improve educational andemployment outcomesfor our youth?