The Jim Casey Initiative Advances Results Count

Posted March 30, 2019, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Young people and staff from the Jim Casey Initiative sites learn about the benefits of Results Count

To accel­er­ate mea­sur­able, equi­table improve­ments for youth in fos­ter care as they become adults, the Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Oppor­tu­ni­ties Ini­tia­tive® is work­ing to expand the use of the philanthropy’s Results Count™ lead­er­ship method­ol­o­gy. The Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive is pur­su­ing this approach along with sev­en nation­al orga­ni­za­tions that are build­ing their own capac­i­ties to use Results Count tools and skills and to spread this approach through­out their respec­tive net­works. The orga­ni­za­tions are on the path to become the first Results Count hubs.

Four sites from the Jim Casey Initiative’s 17-state net­work — Geor­gia, Indi­ana, Iowa and Mis­sis­sip­pi — were select­ed as the ini­tial Results Count cohort. Each site sent a team that par­tic­i­pat­ed in six two-day sem­i­nars, where they learned and applied the five core com­pe­ten­cies and two foun­da­tion­al frame­works of Results Count.

In Jan­u­ary 2019, all the Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive sites began the imple­men­ta­tion of their three-year results and equi­ty plans, each aligned with the Jim Casey Initiative’s pri­or­i­ty indi­ca­tors for youth tran­si­tion­ing to adult­hood: (1) per­ma­nen­cy, (2) sta­ble hous­ing, (3) edu­ca­tion­al suc­cess and eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty and (4) preg­nan­cy pre­ven­tion and par­ent­ing sup­port. The work of the sites is broad­er than just its lead agency,” says Leslie Gross, direc­tor of the Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive. The lead agen­cies work in part­ner­ship with young peo­ple, the child wel­fare sys­tem, ser­vice providers, advo­cates and oth­ers to move their plans.”

In Geor­gia, where the Mul­ti-Agency Alliance for Chil­dren (MAAC) is the Initiative’s lead agency, the Results Count work focus­es on edu­ca­tion­al suc­cess for stu­dents in fos­ter care, grades 7 through 12, in Ful­ton and DeKalb coun­ties. A rig­or­ous analy­sis of the fac­tors that con­tribute to suc­cess revealed that edu­ca­tion­al achieve­ment for youth in fos­ter care was influ­enced by how sta­ble their fos­ter-care place­ments were and whether they were con­nect­ed with a per­ma­nent fam­i­ly. This insight has helped the site improve a young person’s abil­i­ty to stay with a fam­i­ly while in fos­ter care and his or her suc­cess in school.

Increas­ing equi­table oppor­tu­ni­ties and out­comes for all chil­dren is cen­tral to the work of the Foun­da­tion. For social sec­tor lead­ers, ful­fill­ing this com­mit­ment requires being able to dis­ag­gre­gate data to reveal dif­fer­ences by race or eth­nic­i­ty and to iden­ti­fy root caus­es of issues. Results Count has fine-tuned the way I look at things,” says Vic­to­ria Salz­man, who leads the Initiative’s Results Count work in Geor­gia. The process allows for speak­ing the unspeak­able’ about equi­ty issues.” 

Youth engage­ment is anoth­er part of the Results Count work. Eddye Van­derk­waak, a Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive Young Fel­low, served on the Initiative’s Results Count plan­ning team, and each site had a young leader who had expe­ri­enced fos­ter care. Results Count is a real­ly focused, inten­tion­al learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty that direct­ly impacts the work in our sites and in our careers,” says Van­derk­waak, lead orga­niz­er for Fos­ter Youth in Action.

MAAC’s Vic­to­ria Salz­man also notes the rip­ple effects of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Results Count sem­i­nars. This has been a great process for our team,” she says. It’s going to help child wel­fare pro­fes­sion­als, providers and oth­ers embed the Results Count approach into their prac­tice, look at dif­fer­ent oppor­tu­ni­ties to apply it and see some real change in out­comes for our young people.”

Over the next two years, the Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive will con­tin­ue to build the Results Count skills with­in its net­work and to sup­port the sites in imple­ment­ing and refin­ing their three-year results and equi­ty plans. With this approach, we can make sure we are work­ing delib­er­ate­ly toward mak­ing the most pow­er­ful con­tri­bu­tion pos­si­ble to help­ing all young peo­ple tran­si­tion from fos­ter care to adult­hood,” Gross said.

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