Ohio Extended Foster Care Policy Landscape

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Organization:

First Place for Youth

City:

Oakland

State:

California

Organization Overview:

First Place for Youth was founded in 1998 by a small grant and the inspiration to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness for youth aging out of foster care. First Place became the first organization in California dedicated exclusively to addressing the lack of housing and resources for former foster youth. Our vision is of a world in which involvement in the foster care system doesn’t limit the opportunity to thrive in adulthood. We provide housing and intensive support for education, employment, and independent living skills, so transition-age foster youth have the chance to reach their full potential in school, work, and life. First Place has been a leader in the development, passage, and implementation of extended foster care policies at the federal level and in California. Two decades after our founding, we are building a national movement to advance effective transition-age youth programming through state-by-state policy change agendas and practice demonstration sites. Our California programs will continue to act as both a proof point and hub for continuous learning and innovation.

Project Name:

Ohio Extended Foster Care Policy Landscape
Project Type: 
Policy Analysis

Project Overview:

First Place has an active, cross-disciplinary partnership in Ohio that includes the Hamilton County child welfare agency, local philanthropy, and a lead provider implementing program services to prepare youth exiting from foster care. The goals of the partnership are to improve youth outcomes and scale service interventions and systems-change throughout Hamilton County, and ultimately statewide. Early learnings from this partnership have revealed gaps in funding and care, including county-level differences in the implementation and usage of extended foster care funding. We want to better understand who is eligible for extended foster care and how it’s being implemented across Ohio. We are seeking support to conduct a comprehensive Policy Landscape Analysis to understand the services available, public funding sources, agency capacity, and youth needs. The landscape analysis will help identify potential areas of disparity for youth of color, inform strategy development and program service design, and involve novel data collection and analysis, reviews of existing policies and research literature, and site visit observations. The landscape  analysis will seek to address clearly identified problems associated with services and outcomes for older foster youth and identify potential resolutions. Recommendations will synthesize learnings—highlighting strengths, challenges and opportunities for systems-level change. Results from the analysis will be used to inform stakeholder strategies, technical assistance (TA), and program offerings in support of our ongoing cross-disciplinary Ohio partnership.

Deliverable(s):
A successful project will involve completion of the discovery process, detailed findings, and strategic recommendations for systems change, as well as a line of sight for impact. A final report will include findings and conclusions from some the following projects components (exact components to be determined in consultation with the Fels student):
      • Regulatory/Legal Landscape Review: conduct a policy review of existing state and county/agency policy, federal policy alignments, and any gaps, barriers or opportunities related to scope of work.
      • Service Mapping: identify types of services currently offered to transitional age foster youth, accessibility of services, and areas of need, in order to understand the level of need and concentration of services throughout the state and in Hamilton County.
      • Review Documents & Records: conduct a comprehensive review of policies and procedural guidelines, strategic planning documents, and other relevant records to understand existing system infrastructure and gaps in serving transition-age foster youth.
      • Implement Key Informant Interviews & Focus Groups: collect direct input from both the beneficiaries of services (e.g., current and former foster youth) as well as other stakeholders to understand what needs and strengths they observe and experience.
      • Participate in Public Forums: identify and participate in existing public forums that relate to the needs identified and to  better understand the political landscape.
      • Observations: directly observe and speak with those on the front line of service provision with transition age foster youth to identify the scope and scale of current services.
      • Collect and Leverage Survey Data: leverage existing youth and community member survey data and/or collect additional data points from youth and community members to rate proposed services and to elucidate the aggregate needs of the community.
      • Analyze Existing Quantitative Data: review and synthesize available data from sources such as: research studies that have already been conducted; publicly available resources such as US Census, National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), Kids Count Database, State and/or County-level data, and other available administrative data about the population of youth in care, those who have exited care, and their achievement in the areas education, employment, housing and healthy living.

      Project Timeline: Total project timeline is approximately 6 months. Ideally, we would like to begin the discovery process by the end of this calendar year, although our timing is quite flexible.


Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326
felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu