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Evaluation demonstrates success of youth-centered permanency roundtables model

Evaluation demonstrates success of youth-centered permanency roundtables model

A four-year, 10-county pilot project of Casey Family Programs’ youth-centered permanency roundtables (PRT) model has culminated in an evaluation report that indicates solid outcomes for youth and improved agency culture.

The evaluation, conducted by Steven R. Howe and Associates of Cincinnati, with support from Casey Family Programs, focused on PRT implementation in Athens, Butler, Clark, Fairfield, Guernsey, Mahoning, Montgomery, Stark, Summit and Trumbull counties. PRTs are designed to achieve permanency for longstaying foster youth, in this case those 12 and older who had been in custody for 17 months or longer. The model includes an intensive professional case consultations that supports caseworkers while taking a comprehensive look at the youth’s situation, followed by a series of youth-led meetings focused on implementing a permanency plan that achieves legal permanency and increases permanent connections for the young person.

The grant-funded project is a partnership among participating counties, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Family and Youth Law Center and PCSAO, with additional support from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Waiting Child Fund, the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program and former foster youth consultants.

The evaluation shows that:

  • Youth who became eligible for PRT after the start of the initiative had better permanency outcomes than youth who had reached the point of eligibility prior to the initiative, regardless of whether they received PRT. By 36 months in custody, 38 percent of youth eligible for PRT post-implementation had achieved permanency compared with only 27 percent pre-implementation. By 48 months in custody, the corresponding figures were 54 percent and 36 percent.
  • Agency representatives believed that this key finding–-that the implementation of PRT had effects on all eligible youth, not just those who received the intervention-–was consistent with their sense that the initiative had changed the culture of their agencies regarding youth outcomes. To assess this possibility, outcomes were examined for youth who were never in custody long enough to become PRT eligible. Custody episodes starting prior to the initiative resulted in permanency within 12 months for 65 percent of youth. But for custody episodes starting after the start of the initiative, 86 percent of youth had achieved permanency within 12 months.

The evaluation, the first in-depth analysis in the nation of the youth-centered PRT focus employed in Ohio, demonstrates the efficacy of the model for agencies that struggle with achieving permanency for older longstaying foster youth.

The 10 county agencies are continuing and expanding PRTs, and in the coming year the model will be implemented in two new counties, Clermont and Warren. For more information, visit the Ohio PRT website.