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Issue Brief


Youth Program Quality Implications for Policy and Practice

The Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) offers a continuous improvement approach that flips traditional professional development upside-down: the intervention leads with performance assessment, and then engages staff in a multi-month cycle of planning and improvement. The YPQI study, the first experimental investigation of a data-driven, continuous improvement intervention in the after-school field, occurred from 2006-2008. We set out to understand if the YPQI could improve the quality of youth experiences in afterschool programs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Short Description: 
A substantial and growing evidence base confirms that afterschool programs can make a positive difference for youth in the critical domains of achievement, social and civic skills, and risk reduction. However, many programs do not realize this potential, and a primary reason for this may be the quality of experiences available to youth in these settings. Improving quality is therefore a priority for the afterschool field. Evidence suggests that the predominant form of professional development—staff training without follow-up—rarely produces sustained change in practice.
Audience Sector: 

Credentialed by 26 Series: Raising the Bar from Ready by 21 to Credentialed by 26: Highlights from Community and State Efforts

The brief from the Forum for Youth Investment looks at two initiatives. One, the Credentialed by 26 Community Challenge, helped leaders in four selected communities jump-start local conversations and identify strategies to improve postsecondary success. Among the results: Leaders enlisted more partners committed to increasing postsecondary completion, used new data to inform planning efforts, extended their goals beyond college access to college completion, and strengthened connections between the K-12 and postsecondary systems.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Short Description: 
Anyone working to increase postsecondary success knows that aligning the work of various stakeholders and helping sectors work together is essential – and a new issue brief shows how leaders are making that happen on both the community and state levels.

Credentialed by 26 Series: When Working Works: Employment & Postsecondary Success

This brief summarizes research about employment and postsecondary success, and features examples of employers and institutions that have found creative ways to both support student persistence and advance their bottom lines by creating “college-friendly” jobs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Short Description: 
Balancing work and school can hinder a young person’s success in higher education. However, the opposite can also be true: Good jobs facilitate student persistence and completion. So what does it look like when working works for students? That’s what we need to understand in order to transform employment opportunities into drivers of student success.
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Youth Program Quality Intervention Technical Assistance Brief

Friday, September 10, 2010
Short Description: 
The Youth Program Quality Intervention is the basis for numerous improvement projects around the country. The YPQI follows the Assess-Plan-Improve sequence to help programs focus on and improve the quality of program offerings they provide for youth. This brief describes the YPQI, focusing on how it can be implemented in a city, county or state network.

Core Principles for Engaging Young People in Community Change

The principles can be implemented in a wide range of organizations, including schools, youth organizations or community centers that want to strengthen their commitment to youth leadership, or community-change focused organzations or coalitions that want to strengthen their commitment to youth involvement.

Sunday, July 1, 2007
Short Description: 
Engaging young people as partners in community change is a compelling idea, but translating that idea into effective practice requires focused attention to a range of issues. They are important but simple principles for putting the idea of youth engagement into practice.

Precision Engineering

In this column, Pittman calls for the youth development field to improve their use of data. She says "changing the odds for young people requires us to not only be passionate in our commitment to providing high-quality supports and opportunities to all youth, but precise in measuring how well we and they are doing, so that we can make real time adjustments."

Friday, May 16, 2008
Short Description: 
This 2008 Youth Today column by Forum for Youth Investment CEO Karen Pittman stresses the importance of having a full picture of data on children and youth, including data that is linked from an individual level to a programmatic level to a city level.

Building A Broad Stakeholders Group Action Brief

This brief provides an overview of four guiding principles to stakeholder engagement: be intentional about who to involve; be specific about what you ask the group to get involved in; think about how and how much you want people involved; and think about when you need the group to be engaged.

Sunday, May 25, 2008
Short Description: 
This brief lays out guiding principles for stakeholder engagement. It highlights who to involve and how to meaningfully engage stakeholders in efforts to improve the odds for children and youth.

State Children's Cabinets and Councils Series - Elements of Success: Structural Options

Children's cabinets and councils have the potential to systematically coordinate the fragmented funding and services that often occur at the state level. Children's cabinets are typically made up of heads of government agencies with child and youth serving programs, who meet on a regular basis with the collective goal of coordinating services, developing a common set of outcomes and collaboratively deciding upon and implementing plans to foster the well-being of young people.

Friday, August 1, 2008
Short Description: 
Part of the State Children's Cabinets and Councils Series, this issue brief reviews the range of existing state children's cabinet and council structures and offers tips for getting the most effective structure in place.
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Youth-Adult Partnerships in Public Action: Principles, Organizational Culture and Outcomes

The case studies described in this report underscore the critical role that community-based organizations can play both in developing young people’s leadership abilities and driving positive community change. Specifically, the authors push beyond principles, identifying effective organizational and management practices that can help any organization committed to meaningful youth engagement advance their efforts in concrete ways. Additionally, the outcomes they identify present a useful impact framework for much-needed future program evaluation and research efforts.

Thursday, November 6, 2008
Short Description: 
The Forum partnered with the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Nonprofits to publish Youth-Adult Partnerships in Public Action: Principles, Organizational Culture and Outcomes. This study focuses on how organizations translate principles of youth engagement into practice and build a culture of partnership, as well as the outcomes – for young people, institutions and communities – that can result when they do. The research focuses on two organizations, Austin Voices for Education and Youth and Oasis Community IMPACT in Nashville, TN, but the lessons can help any organization committed to meaningful youth engagement advance their efforts in concrete ways.

Impact of Youth Development Programs On Student Academic Achievement

School districts and municipalities throughout the U.S. are under intense pressure to reform schools, raise graduation rates, and better prepare American youth for a workforce that must compete globally. Improving America’s educational system so that all students have access to a quality education is important but focusing on that system alone will not ensure the educational success of our nation’s young people.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Short Description: 
This brief cites the importance of a full-range of developmental assets, in school, in the home and in the community, that youth need to succeed. It indicates that “meaningful progress in improving educational outcomes must involve multiple stakeholders and a variety of sustained efforts over time.”