The Casey Foundation’s Year in Review
Dear Friends and Partners,
As we navigated the second year of the pandemic, we continued working with all of you to make sure the needs of the nation’s children, youth and families remained a priority throughout this crisis and beyond. You helped households make ends meet and fought to advance justice and equity, while responding to your own organizational challenges.
For all of us who care deeply about kids and families, this year delivered unexpected, long-sought opportunities. Historic federal investments — including the expansion of the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit — were game changers for millions of low-income families and young workers.
Your efforts helped bring about this moment, and your voices will be critical in the months and years ahead in shaping investments and programs to ensure all children emerge from this period healthy, financially stable and well positioned to thrive.
In these uncertain times — and in no uncertain terms — your partnership has been critical.
Highlighting the Developmental Opportunity of Adolescence
In January, we launched Thrive by 25, our effort to coordinate and connect programs, systems and resources to develop comprehensive solutions that address issues facing young people ages 14–24. Over the next decade, the Foundation will commit at least half of its investments to five key areas: meeting young people’s basic needs, building permanent connections with family and caring adults, advancing education and credentials, promoting financial stability and cultivating youth leadership.
As you will see below, we believe this is a critical area of focus given the unique developmental window of adolescence. At the same time, our commitment to building a brighter future for all children and youth — from birth through young adulthood — and their families remains steadfast.
Preventing System Involvement
Our long-standing work to prevent kids from entering public systems took on new urgency during the pandemic, as we sought to keep them healthy and safe.
- We expanded Thriving Families, Safer Children — a joint effort with the federal Children’s Bureau, Casey Family Programs and Prevent Child Abuse America — from four to 22 jurisdictions, including a tribal nation.
- We kicked off a national campaign with Casey Family Programs to eliminate the need for child welfare group placements by 2030, building on a foundation of research we supported this year that captures how harmful these settings are for young people.
- We continued our work with jurisdictions to transform juvenile probation and support community-based solutions for holding youth accountable for their actions.
Supporting Success in School and at Work
We continued creating school and work opportunities for youth and young adults, working with employees, community colleges and others to remove barriers and equip young people for success.
- We bolstered the stability and educational success of young parents and helped youth get back on track in school.
- We worked to strengthen and expand youth apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing, health care and information technology.
- We helped close the racial wealth gap in the South by reducing debt from medical expenses, student loans and court fees and fines in communities of color, and protect families from accumulating more debt during the pandemic.
Promoting Safety, Opportunity and Housing Stability in Communities
We invested in efforts to reduce and prevent violent crime, create economic opportunity, expand access to affordable housing and prevent homelessness, particularly for youth.
- We expanded our investments in promoting community safety — launching and growing efforts to reduce crime in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Jackson (Mississippi) and Milwaukee — and shared our lessons on leveraging proven strategies to curb gun violence.
- We created opportunities for entrepreneurs of color in Atlanta and Baltimore by increasing access to capital and other resources aimed at starting and sustaining a business.
- In our hometowns and beyond, we sought to preserve affordable housing and help families maintain stable housing and access federal rental assistance.
Fostering Pandemic Relief and Recovery
We continued our work to support the stability and well-being of children, youth and families throughout the pandemic.
- Our 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book called on lawmakers to make the historic expansion of the child tax credit permanent. We also funded outreach to help families access the credit and research on how families used these critical funds.
- We supported research and advocacy that helped inform federal pandemic recovery efforts — including funding for direct financial relief, increased food assistance, K–12 education and economic relief for state and local governments — and the effective implementation of relief legislation to ensure the benefits and support reach families and communities who need them most.
In these ways and many more, you’ve helped create a brighter tomorrow for America’s kids and families. This is important, life-changing work, and we look forward to our ongoing partnership to advance these efforts and more in the new year.
Lisa M. Hamilton
President and CEO
The Annie E. Casey Foundation