Youth Opportunity Hubs: Fostering Collaboration. Building Resilience.
Posted in: News
Posted on August 22, 2023
The Youth Opportunity Hub (YOH) Initiative was designed to prevent or reduce criminal legal system interactions, improve life outcomes, and provide support for youth by fostering access, collaboration, and partnership among social service providers. Developed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII) and managed by the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (CUNY ISLG), the YOH Initiative supported five lead organizations in creating Hubs to provide wraparound supports and opportunities to young people to reduce risk factors for criminal legal system involvement, increase coordination among social service providers in the delivery of these supports and opportunities, build the capacity of local organizations to better address the needs and identify opportunities to collaborate with partners in their neighborhoods, and increase the appeal and functionality of spaces and services that support young people’s development.
In a final evaluation of the program, evaluators Westat and Metis Associates found that although the implementation and evaluation of the YOH Initiative was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the YOH Initiative resulted in positive outcomes for the Hub organizations, youth, and communities:
- Positive changes in the ways that lead and partner organizations worked together and separately through partnerships, and a focus on services to young people;
- New policies and practices, through opportunities for sharing information within and across the Hubs;
- Organizational partnerships that provided resources and opportunities to meet a wide range of youths’ needs;
- A sense of intentional community building and improvement in the landscape of services and supports that had been available to youth prior to the Initiative;
- Increased engagement with the Hubs’ communities; and
- Safe and welcoming spaces where young people can work with supportive adults to address their needs holistically.
The final evaluation report, and its associated policy brief, offers a look at the development, implementation, and outcomes of the Initiative, as well as offers lessons learned and recommendations for other organizations seeking to implement similar programs. For further information, see CUNY ISLG’s blogs on youth outcomes and how YOH networks fostered strong partnerships.