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

This report summarizes an evaluation of a program that helps young people with histories of foster care or juvenile justice custody become independent adults. The program improved earnings, housing stability and economic well-being, and some health and safety outcomes. It did not improve education, social support, or criminal involvement outcomes.

Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) is an initiative to help young people who have been involved in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, or who are homeless. This brief provides details on the models in LEAP and the young people participating, and offers some early implementation findings.

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.