Foster Care and Juvenile Justice

MDRC studies programs for vulnerable young people who become enmeshed in foster care, juvenile justice, or other public systems.

The Latest
Report

Young people who experience homelessness or involvement in foster care or justice systems face unique challenges. The Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP)TM initiative aims to help this population reach its full potential. An MDRC evaluation of two programs adapted by 10 LEAP grantees will contribute knowledge to this field.

Issue Focus

MDRC worked closely with PACE in evaluating its program for girls. As an organization dedicated to continuous improvement, PACE used the implementation research findings to refine its services in several ways. This issue focus summarizes the study and the partnership and explains how the program applied some of the lessons.

Key Documents
Brief

Evidence from the Evaluation of the PACE Center for Girls

Born out of research showing that girls and boys have different risk factors and pathways into the justice system, gender-responsive programs focus on girls’ unique needs and strengths. This brief summarizes the developing research on their effectiveness and describes how one program enacts the principles in its service delivery.

Infographic

Easing the Transition to Adulthood for Vulnerable Young People

This infographic describes MDRC’s results from the largest random assignment evaluation of a program serving youth people aging out of the foster care and juvenile justice systems. After one year, YVLifeSet, a program run by Youth Villages, boosts earnings, increases housing stability and economic well-being, and improves outcomes related to health and safety.

Report

Findings from the Project Rise Implementation Evaluation

Project Rise offers education, a paid internship, and case management to young adults who lack a high school credential and have been out of work and school for at least six months. Participants, who were attracted more by the educational instruction than by the internship, substantially engaged with the program.