Reconnecting Youth

Reconnecting Youth

Addressing the needs of disconnected youth is critical to America’s future. The President’s FY 2013 Budget proposes an Inter-Agency Disconnected Youth Initiative that would provide for increased flexibility for States and localities and modest funding for the Federal partners.

Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3)

Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth offer a unique opportunity to test innovative, cost-effective, and outcome-focused strategies for improving results for disconnected youth. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (see p. 409 of the linked PDF) first provided authority to the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services along with the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and related agencies to enter into up to 10 Performance Partnership agreements with states, regions, localities, or tribal communities that give them additional flexibility in using discretionary funds across multiple Federal programs. Since 2014, P3 has expanded to include certain programs from the Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development. Pilot sites will commit to achieve significant improvements for disconnected youth in educational, employment, and other key outcomes in exchange for this new flexibility. For P3, statute defines disconnected youth as individuals between the ages of 14 and 24 who are low income and either homeless, in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system, unemployed, or not enrolled in or at risk of dropping out of an educational institution.

The resources below provide more information on P3 opportunities. Questions can be directed to disconnectedyouth@ed.gov.

Reconnecting Youth

Disconnected youth1 are often defined as young people ages 14-24 who are homeless, in foster care, involved in the justice system, or are neither employed nor enrolled in an educational institution.  Across the U.S., there are approximately 6.7 million youth that exhibit one or more of the above risk factors and touch multiple systems.2

The economic burden of disconnected youth is significant, as these young people not only fail to meet their personal potential, but also cost the U.S. billions of dollars every year in lost earnings, incarceration costs, and expenditures on social services. Moreover, siloed administrative and reporting requirements can make it unintentionally difficult for providers to give youth the comprehensive, effective services they need.

To address issues faced by disconnected youth and the entities serving them, the 2013 Budget included proposals for Performance Partnership Pilot3 authority and targeted funding. The Interagency Forum on Disconnected Youth (IFDY) was established in March 2012 as an out-growth of these budgetary proposals. The IFDY is committed to improving educational, employment and other key outcomes for this population through interagency and intergovernmental collaboration. Learn more about the shared goals and approach of the IFDY to support and reconnect disconnected youth and see additional action steps being taken by Federal agencies and interagency groups.

A Request for Information (RFI) on disconnected youth was published by the Department of Education in the Federal Register in June 2012. The RFI yielded 171 responses from a wide range of organizations and individuals. View a summary of the key themes that were identified and the approach used for analyzing the responses.

Hear from Youth

Hear what young people have to say about what youth need to become healthy and productive adults. Read a summary of the input provided by youth during a series of listening sessions held to gather input toward the development of a strategic plan for youth.

Collaborations Working to Reconnect Youth and Prevent Disconnections

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is a community-based program that leads, trains, and mentors young people between the ages of 16 and 18 who are unemployed and have left school so that they may become productive citizens in America's future. Results from a three year evaluation showed that ChalleNGe participants are more likely than their control group counterparts to have obtained a GED certificate or high school diploma, to have earned college credits, and to be working. Participants’ earnings are also 20 percent higher than control group members’ earnings. Collaboration between the ChalleNGe program and the Corporation for National and Community Service’s AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) supports leadership opportunities for disadvantaged and out-of-school youth serving in their programs.

Project U-Turn is a citywide collaborative effort to address the dropout crisis in Philadelphia. Project U-Turn identifies and examines the problem, promotes the crisis as a system-wide issue rather than an education issue, involves and sustains a diverse array of partners, and works to both prevent students from dropping out as well as re-engage those who have already dropped out. Learn more.

Partnership for Results is a model of local governance designed to implement a broad spectrum of evidence-based programs for the benefit of youth at risk. Operating in Cayuga County in Central New York, it has improved outcomes for children and youth and their families since its founding in 2000. Evaluation results indicate reductions in substance abuse, arrests, juvenile detention expenditures, and foster care placements. Partnership for Results has been associated with increases in standardized test scores, particularly for elementary schools serving low-income children.

The Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development coordinates and aligns state policies and practices to support positive youth development and increase high school graduation rates.

Navicate (formerly Linking Learning to Life, Inc.) supports a collaboration of schools, businesses, colleges, and other organizations to foster opportunities for community service, leadership development, career and college exploration, internships, and employment for youth in Vermont as they transition from school to careers and postsecondary education.

SBIRT/YouthBuild, an employment and training programs funded by the US Department of Labor (DOL), and the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), partnered to address alcohol and drug use among students. The Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) tool developed by SAMHSA to identify people who have or are at risk for substance use problems and to identify people who need further assessment or referral for treatment. The “SBIRT” was adapted to best suit the young people, ages 16-24, served within the YouthBuild program, and piloted in 15 programs.

Youth Topics

Transition age youth (ages 16 to 24), sometimes called “youth in transition” or “youth aging out,” can experience a number of challenges on their path to a successful adulthood. Efforts to reconnect transition age youth to school and work should consider the following issues:

Youth Employment

Knowing how to find and keep a job is not only critical for admission to the adult world, it is also an important survival skill.

   

Juvenile Justice

The primary goals of the juvenile justice system, in addition to maintaining public safety, are skill development, habilitation, rehabilitation, addressing treatment needs, and successful reintegration of youth into the community.
   
Service Learning

Service learning is a strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and self-reflection to support academic learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

   

Preventing Youth Violence

Youth violence and crime affect a community's economic health, as well as individuals' physical and mental health and well-being.

   
Mentoring

Mentoring relationships can be formal or informal, but the essential components include creating caring, empathetic, consistent, and long-lasting relationships, often with some combination of role modeling, teaching, and advising.

   

Youth Mental Health

Mental health involves being able to navigate successfully the complexities of life, develop fulfilling relationships, adapt to change, and utilize appropriate coping mechanisms to achieve well-being without discrimination.

   
Teen Pregancy Prevention

Despite declines in teen pregnancy and birth rates in the U.S., the national teen pregnancy rate continues to be higher than the rates in other Western industrialized nations.

1 Belfield, C.R., Levin, H. M., Rosen, R. (2012). The economic value of opportunity youth. Available on the Corporation for National and Community Service’s website at http://www.civicenterprises.net/MediaLibrary/Docs/econ_value_opportunity_youth.pdf.
2Ibid.
3http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40535.pdf

Transition & Aging Out

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs supports a number of efforts to build the skills and resources of youth aged 16-24. Whether they are called "youth in transition," "transition age youth," "youth aging out" or other terms, youth in this age group experience a number of challenges on their path to a successful adulthood. A particular challenge for federal programs is support for youth transitioning out of foster care or juvenile detention facilities, youth who have run away from home or dropped out of school, and youth with disabilities.

Youth M.O.V.E. National: Making a Difference through Youth-Adult Partnerships

Youth Motivating Others through Voices of Experience (M.O.V.E.) National is a youth and young-adult led national advocacy organization that wants to change the world. The organization is devoted to improving services and systems that support young people. They focus on empowering young people to partner with adults to create meaningful change in mental health, juvenile justice, education, and child welfare systems. The organization represents 77 chapters, consisting of 9,000 members across 39 states.

Youth M.O.V.E. National: Making a Difference through Youth-Adult Partnerships

Youth Motivating Others through Voices of Experience (M.O.V.E.) National is a youth and young-adult led national advocacy organization that wants to change the world. The organization is devoted to improving services and systems that support young people. They focus on empowering young people to partner with adults to create meaningful change in mental health, juvenile justice, education, and child welfare systems. The organization represents 77 chapters, consisting of 9,000 members across 39 states.