• July/August 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 7

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Transitional Living Program Evaluation

MDRC—a nonprofit education and social policy research organization founded in 1974 as the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation and now simply MDRC—recently published a report documenting initial findings from its implementation evaluation of the Youth Villages Transitional Living program. Youth Villages offers a wide range of services geared toward emotionally and behaviorally troubled youth. Transitional Living is just one of several programs offered by the organization, though it only currently operates in Tennessee. The program aims to help youth who were formerly in foster care or juvenile justice custody make the transition to independent living.

Youth involved in the Transitional Living program receive intensive and individualized support that is both clinically and community-based and delivered by counseling staff with small caseloads. Participants are assessed on a continual basis in order to identify evolving needs and develop appropriate goals. Over the course of their participation in the program, youth receive support for education, housing, mental and physical health, employment, and life skills.

MDRC's implementation evaluation of the Transitional Living program revealed the following key findings:

  • There was a variation in local context across the State of Tennessee that impacted the experiences of youth participating in the evaluation. Rural areas in particular had challenges navigating and accumulating resources such as access to transportation, employers, and social service providers.
  • Analysis of staff interviews and the management information system showed that the program was implemented in accordance with its model, with the frequency and duration of services near expected levels.
  • Youth participation levels in the program were high, and they were engaged in services soon after being assigned to them.
  • Staff discussed a wide range of topics with youth and made contact with other adults involved in the young people's lives.

The MDRC plans to release a report on the impacts of the program after 1 year of operation. It is expected that this impact report will be published in 2015.

Moving Into Adulthood: Implementation Findings From the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation is available here:

http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/moving_into_adulthood_fr.pdf (3 MB)

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