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The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Foster Youth Strategic Initiative (the Initiative) is focused on supporting older youth in foster care in becoming self-sufficient and thriving adults. Currently in its second phase (2017–2022), the Initiative strives to improve education and employment outcomes for transition-age foster youth (foster TAY), ages 16–24, in Los Angeles County (LA) and New York City (NYC). The Initiative has three objectives:

  1. Strengthen systems and policy for foster TAY.
  2. Expand and share knowledge with the field.
  3. Advance innovative foster TAY programs.

Guided by these objectives, the Initiative has advanced systems reform in six issue areas: education (grades 8–12); postsecondary education; employment; placement; focused interventions (including reproductive health education, pregnant and parenting youth, and crossover youth); and coordination of data and the many systems that touch the lives of foster TAY.

In 2018, Child Trends became the Initiative’s Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) partner. Working together with the Foundation and key consultants, we developed an evaluation strategy to track progress toward the Initiative’s goals, understand the grantees’ and the Foundation’s contributions, and identify opportunities to continue collective progress. Child Trends’ role includes facilitating continuous learning and supporting the incorporation of evaluation findings back into the strategy, as well as strengthening the field by disseminating what we learn. In this inaugural report, we describe the Initiative’s current context and areas of recent progress, and offer recommendations for further advancing its goals to support foster TAY.

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