Nebraska Children and Families Foundation: Connected Youth Initiative

Connected Youth Initiative
Implementing Organization: 
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation implemented the Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) to help young people aged 14 to 24 from adverse backgrounds transition towards a positive adulthood. CYI uses a collective impact approach to create systems change in rural Nebraska communities and serves young people in Nebraska through the following essential CYI elements:

  • Opportunities for youth leadership and advocacy
  • A financial literacy and asset-building program
  • Support services funds for young adults to access an array of basic needs services and supports in emergency instances
  • Goal-oriented coaching to develop skills, access services, and support self-sufficiency in the transition to adulthood

Study Goals:

The goals of this study are to demonstrate the impacts of the CYI model and to understand implementation in a rural context.

Research Questions:

The evaluation includes both implementation and impact research questions. The research questions include:

  • Impact Questions:
    • Compared to similar young people who do not participate, to what extent does CYI improve the following for the young people who participated:
      • overall well-being
      • access to stable housing
      • access to stable employment and education
      • other domains of well-being
  • Implementation Questions:
    • How prepared are the communities to implement CYI, and what is their capacity around data collection?
    • What contextual factors about the community, partners, and region influence the implementation of CYI?
    • What are the variations in how CYI is implemented in communities (e.g., services offered, services accepted, participation)?
    • What challenges are the subgrantees facing in the implementation of the CYI model?
    • What positive effects are subgrantees seeing?
    • To what extent, if any, has the focus on collective impact increased the sustainability and capacity of the collaboratives?


The evaluation’s findings include the following:

  • Impact Findings:
    • CYI achieved multiple positive outcomes for young people who engaged in programming and services.
    • Overall, CYI participants are statistically more likely to report:
      • More safe and stable living situations,
      • Greater financial stability,
      • Increased perceived hope, and
      • Decreased emergency care utilization.
  • Implementation Findings:
    • Young adults engaged with the CYI through 16 different types of combinations, though coaching was the most common component utilized across all.
    • At a systems-level, staff indicated that setting the CYI model within a collaborative infrastructure often generated greater awareness and understanding of the unconnected youth population within the community.

For more information, download the full report and report brief.

CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Youth Development (SIF)
Age(s) Studied: 
13-17 (Adolescent)
18-25 (Young adult)
Focus Population(s)/Community(s): 
Opportunity Youth
Outcomes Category(s): 
Financial Literacy
K-12 Success
Post-Secondary Educational Support
Access to Care
Study Type(s): 
Study Design(s): 
Quasi-Experimental (QED)
Level of Evidence: 
Year Published: 
Date Posted Online: 
May 1, 2020
Study Site Location (State): 
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