Moving Beyond Silos: A Holistic Perspective of Vulnerable Youth Outcomes Using Administrative Data
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This paper highlights findings from a new study that used administrative data to track adult outcomes of youth who exited foster care, exited the justice system (either juvenile detention or jail), and those who were dually involved during their adolescence. The study utilized data from NYC Health and Human Service (HHS) agencies to quantify service use (in the domains of housing, benefits, health, child welfare, and justice) over six years and to compare the associated costs among groups.
For all three groups, the top quartile of highest cost users account for a disproportionate amount of the total group cost – from two-thirds to three-fourths of the total. For almost every outcome, the dually involved group had a higher rate of system involvement, as well as higher multi-system use. The average cost for the dually involved group was approximately 40% higher than the other two groups (approximately $65,000 for the dually involved, compared to $46,000-$48,000 for the other two groups).
This paper also highlights predictors of high cost users based on foster care history and demographic information. Risk factors for high-cost service use for the foster care group included being female, being discharged to mental health institutions, and having residential foster care placements. Risk factors for high-cost service use for the dually involved group included having more foster care spells, entering foster care for the first time in adolescence, and having residential foster care placements.
Findings of this study are informing new programming and policies for the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), which oversees both foster care and juvenile detention services. Specifically, ACS is using models and interventions that are based on a youth’s risk level to ensure that services are being allocated appropriately, including using risk assessment tools to place youth in alternatives to juvenile detention. Similarly, youth development models for at-risk adolescents are being developed to keep youth in community-based settings while receiving services.