October 2010Vol. 11, No. 8Promising Results for Youth Transitioning in New York City
The Academy, a program for New York City youth aging out of foster care, is helping youth achieve positive outcomes by bridging the gap between foster care and postcare services. Earlier this year, the Vera Institute for Justice published an evaluation of the Academy, and FEGS Health and Human Services System released a report summarizing the program's activities and successes.
Transition-age youth are referred to the Academy by private foster care agencies, and each youth is matched with a personal advisor who provides all services under one roof. The advisor serves as a mentor and case manager, helping youth set and meet their goals and providing constant support. Some of the Academy's key features include:
- Flexible intake and participation policies
- Individually tailored service plans for education, training, employment, and support
- Social and recreational opportunities
- The provision of services by people outside the child welfare system
According to the FEGS report, the Academy has served 399 young people since its creation in 2007. Among youth engaged in educational services, career readiness services, or job search activities:
- Seventy percent demonstrated educational progress or continue to remain active in the program working toward their educational goals
- Eighty-eight percent completed the full curriculum, 54 percent participated in work internships, and 52 percent participated in job search activities
- Forty percent were successful in securing employment, and 32 percent remained actively engaged in the job search program
Vera researchers found strong support for the Academy among professionals in the field and praise for its "no reject, no eject" philosophy. Some of the challenges faced by the Academy include difficulties coordinating services and managing collaborations among the community-based and foster care organizations involved with the program.
The Academy was created in 2007 by the Heckscher Foundation for Children in close collaboration with the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and is now operated by FEGS Health and Human Services System in cooperation with multiple foster care agencies across the city. To read highlights of the activities and successes of the program, download The Academy, A Promising New Initiative: Helping Young People Aging Out of Foster Care Prepare for Their Futures: Program Results and Next Steps, by FEGS Health and Human Services System:
www.fegs.org/academy/report.pdf (2651 KB)
To review the results of the Vera Institute of Justice's process evaluation of the program, download The Academy: A Program for Older Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care, by Allon Yaroni, Rachel Wetts, and Tim Ross, on the Vera website:
www.vera.org/download?file=2995/Heckscher-Academy-report-final.pdf (561 KB)