The Conrad N. Hilton Foster Youth Strategic Initiative (the Initiative) grew out of an extensive research and synthesis process that included the perspectives of a wide variety of stakeholders. Ultimately, the process helped the Foundation better understand the challenges facing transition age youth (TAY) and identify successful models for change; this work became the foundation for the Initiative. In February 2012, the Board of Directors approved the Initiative and it launched in March 2012. The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) component began in March 2013.
The Initiative focuses on TAY 16–24 years old from two regions with large child welfare (and foster care) populations: Los Angeles County (LAC) and New York City (NYC). The Foundation chose to focus its efforts in LAC and NYC due to the strong commitment of the public child welfare and supporting agencies to issues affecting TAY, their readiness for policy and system reform, and opportunities to leverage funding.
To address the myriad issues facing TAY, those in care and transitioning out of care, the Foundation provides grants to organizations and entities with the potential to meet the three overarching goals to: (1) increase TAY self-sufficiency, (2) strengthen and increase cross-system collaboration and promote systems change, and (3) develop and disseminate new knowledge about the needs of TAY and effective strategies for meeting those needs.
As of June 2017, the Foundation has awarded $55 million to Initiative grantees. This report includes updates on the activities of 38 current grantees: 23 grantees are working in LAC, 12 grantees are working in NYC, and 10 grantees are considered “dual geography” as they conduct work in both LAC and NYC. In the past year, two LAC grantees (First Star and iFoster) expanded their services to NYC, moving them into the dual geography category.