Center for Youth and Communities

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Policy-Related Research

Center staff engage in policy-focused research addressing the governance, management, and effectiveness of programs, services, and experiences that prepare youth to move from adolescence to adulthood and from school to career, and the developmental, environmental, and workforce factors to consider in providing these services.

  • The Center was a key player in the 2008 Massachusetts Task Force on Youth Aging Out of Department of Social Services (DSS) Care report, "Preparing Our Kids for Education, Work and Life: A Report of the Task Force on Youth Aging Out of DSS Care," prepared for The Boston Foundation.  The Task Force engages public, private, and nonprofit representatives to ensure that youth aging out of DSS care have lifelong connections with adults, are prepared for education, work, and life, and are contributing members of their communities.  The report builds on what we know from research and experience about outcomes that provide a solid foundation for youth success, summarizes the first ever study of transitioning youth in Massachusetts, and offers recommendations for creating policy, practice, and resource conditions that allow youth to achieve these outcomes.
  • The Center produced a report on U.S. federal and state youth development policy for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to fill a gap in the literature about policies that support promising youth development practices.  The project looked at current policies, the populations they target, and their effects; key youth policy players and stakeholders; and the role of philanthropy in promoting youth policy development.
  • The Center partnered with PolicyLink on a project to help locally-based, urban community-building leaders better understand the role of federal, state, and local policy in their work.  Through research into place-based policies, preparation of policy briefs, and development of a prototype web site for community-builders, the Center assisted Policy Link efforts to increase awareness and understanding of existing policies and the public policy process among local leaders and to examine opportunities for new policy development.
  • The Center engaged in an evaluation-planning partnership with Share Our Strength (SOS), a national hunger advocacy organization, to assess the initial implementation of statewide anti-hunger policy campaigns in two states and develop a strategy for SOS to evaluate the impacts of its campaigns.  The campaigns’ goal was to demonstrate effective state and national policy approaches for reducing hunger.
  • The Center’s Early Adolescent Policy Audit, funded by the Lilly Endowment, assessed the extent to which federal legislation targets early adolescents and surveyed youth policy experts about age targeting and federal-level strategies to meet early adolescents’ needs. 

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