23, No. 1
NYTD and the Success of Transitioning Youth
The National Youth in Transition Database, or NYTD, has a big impact on the success of transitioning youth. Curious about how a database can make such a difference to foster care alumni and youth in care? The answer has to do with two things: funding and measuring outcomes.
The Link to LINKS
When it created the CFCIP, Congress also required the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to develop a system for collecting data on independent living programs so we can understand how states use CFCIP funds and what services are effective. NYTD is this data collection effort.
States began collecting NYTD data in 2010 and are required to report data to ACF every six months. A state's NYTD submissions are evaluated based on several factors, including the extent to which the data are error-free and whether enough youth participate in NYTD surveys.
North Carolina has a strong track record when it comes to NYTD reporting, thanks to ongoing efforts by county LINKS coordinators, foster care workers, and others to recruit and support youth and foster care alumni in completing NYTD surveys.
The NYTD Review
North Carolina's first NYTD Review will likely occur in 2019. For more on NYTD Reviews, see ACF's NYTD Review Guide (http://bit.ly/2IcluVz).
What's at Stake
Partial loss of CFCIP funds could potentially weaken a state's ability to serve transitioning youth. In federal fiscal year 2018, North Carolina expects to receive and spend $3.1 million in CFCIP funds to serve approximately 5,580 young people.
This funding source may be more important to North Carolina today than ever. Our state recently increased the support it provides to youth in care through the creation of the Foster Care 18 to 21 Program. This program is likely to boost the number of youth counting on and benefiting from CFCIP funds, as more opt to remain in care to take advantage of the resources this program provides to help them attain self-sufficiency.
Yet NYTD's importance is about more than funding. It also provides a new source of data with the potential to help us understand which independent living programs and services are most helpful. Informed by NYTD data, agencies may be able to develop new or adjust existing services to be more effective and efficient.
This is a priority in North Carolina. Erin Conner, statewide coordinator of our state's LINKS program, notes that the Division of Social Services recently added a team focused on analysis of child welfare data. Conner says she is committed to working with this new team and with county child welfare agencies to understand and spread the word about which LINKS services and programs produce the best results.
Resources for Learning More