Engaging, Empowering and Uplifting Systems-Impacted Youth
Since 1994, the Coalition has created a pathway out of the cycle of poverty and recidivism for 3,700+ transition-age youth, ages 16-26, impacted by the juvenile justice and/or foster care systems throughout L.A. County. We mitigate systemic inequities facing these at-promise youth through individualized, intensive mobile case management, a wide variety of arts, educational, therapeutic and enrichment outlets and prosocial activities, academic, employment, legal, health, and housing support, and youth-led community organizing and advocacy.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
San Gabriel Valley
San Fernando Valley
County of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
The pandemic has intensified every inequity for systems-impacted transition-age youth (TAY) to crisis levels. These youth - especially youth of color - often experience significant exposure to interpersonal and community violence, trauma from neglect, domestic violence, and/or physical or sexual abuse, and are at higher-risk for underemployment, major disparities in health outcomes, poverty, homelessness, and recidivism. Roughly 8% of L.A. County youth are Black, yet Black youth represent around 36% of incarcerated youth. They are 6.5 times more likely, and Latinx youth are twice as likely, to be arrested than white youth. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, one in four foster TAY are unhoused; one in five are incarcerated; one in four became parents; and just 57% are employed. Compounding the vulnerability conferred by their early life challenges, the juvenile justice and foster care systems do not adequately prepare TAY for school, career, or a self-sufficient adulthood.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
The Coalition fills a major gap in resources for systems-impacted youth through individualized, comprehensive case management and a wide variety of educational and pro-social activities that make a long-lasting, transformative impact on the youth we serve. Our mobile case management model is unique-we meet youth wherever they are in the community to facilitate connection and remove logistical barriers that may impede receiving support. 2 core programs: C/HOPE supports justice-system impacted youth by assigning each a case manager who provides ongoing mobile case management. Youth receive assistance with a variety of academic, employment, legal, health and advocacy support and ongoing enrichment opportunities (life skills classes, leadership development, prosocial enrichment activities and field trips including chances to experience nature, wellness courses, and civic engagement service days). C/FORWARD, for former and current foster care youth, focuses on ensuring youth are developing their skills, finding sustainable employment, applying to and enrolling in college, and are living in safe and stable housing. In 2018, in response to increasing housing instability, C/FORWARD began co-operating a 12-unit apartment for emancipated young women. Wraparound services include healthcare linkages, college prep and placement support, financial education, sustainability planning, and participation in academic and life skills education, and prosocial enrichment workshops and events.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
LA2050's investment will ensure that the systems-impacted youth we empower are given rich opportunities and robust support through our mobile case management, prosocial activities, life skills and career-readiness training opportunities to excel academically, professionally and in life. Funding increases our capacity to deepen relationships with existing partners and advocacy groups including Project Rebound, Mayor's Office, LA Youth Uprising, Reimagine LA, Homeboy Art Academy, Trauma Prevention Initiative, LA County Dept. of Youth Development, Probation Department, DMH, and form new strategic partnerships that will expand our ability to empower systems-impacted youth throughout L.A. County. Our decades of experience have proven that exposure to nature and cultural activities are remarkably effective in reaching systems-impacted youth. Funding will be utilized to provide youth with year-round field trips to the beach, surfing lessons, hiking in parks, museum visits, camping, etc.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Our Program Analyst utilizes data collected from goals/accomplishments as detailed in each youth's Individual Service Plan created collaboratively with their case manager and pre- and post-survey results to formulate detailed reports featuring service statistics, benchmarks and long-term indicators of success including high school graduation, college acceptance and retention, employment attainment and retention, and recidivism rates. Our management team evaluates program operations quarterly against program objectives. Based on our comprehensive program data, 82% of justice-impacted youth who participate in our programs will not recidivate, compared to 24% youth who will not recidivate in the general community within three years. For our foster youth, 90% of seniors graduate from high school, 90% of these seniors enroll in college, and 50% of these youth are also employed (full- or part-time). Without our program, only 58% of foster youth are expected to graduate from high school.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 200
Indirect Impact: 5,000