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June 24 -- The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) invites public comments to OMB by July 26, 2021 on its proposed assessment of the impact and implementation of LifeSet, a program that provides services and supports to young adults ages 17 to 21 with previous child welfare involvement. Data collection efforts will include accessing administrative data from the child welfare agency, program, and other private and governmental databases; surveys of young adults (participants and those receiving services as usual); interviews and focus groups with program and child welfare agency administrators and staff; interviews and focus groups with young adult program participants; and interviews with other program stakeholders. ACF awarded a contract to the Urban Institute to conduct this information collection.

LifeSet is a therapeutic case management program that provides youth and young adults leaving foster care, juvenile justice, and mental health systems with the intensive in-home support and guidance they need to move towards youth-defined goals in multiple domains of independent living including education, housing, employment and financial security, health and safety, and social connections and support. The program aims to support young adults in their transition from foster care to independent living in the areas of education, employment and earnings, housing and economic well-being, social support, well-being, health and safety, and criminal involvement. It focuses on helping young adults identify and achieve their goals while developing the skills necessary for independent living.

The proposed information collection activity is the first phase of a larger study that intends to assess the impact and implementation of LifeSet. The impact study will assess the effects of young adults' participation in LifeSet on outcomes in the primary (i.e., confirmatory) domains of education and employment, housing stability, social support, and well-being. These outcomes have been identified by the implementing agency as the main areas they expect to target for positive program impacts. In addition, the impact study will explore the effects of participation in the secondary (i.e., exploratory) domains of mental health, criminal justice system contact, intimate partner violence, and economic well-being. The study will utilize a randomized controlled design. Information collection activities will take place over three years and will include collection of administrative data from the state child welfare agency, the program developer, the local program provider agencies, the National Student Clearinghouse, unemployment insurance and employer wage records, the National Directory of New Hires, the state homelessness management information system, the state department of corrections, the state juvenile justice commission, the state court probation services division, and the state department of human services division of family development, as well as survey interviews with program participants and young adults receiving services as usual.

The implementation study will collect information through phone calls and site visits to the participating program and child welfare agency. Information collection activities include interviews and focus groups with administrators and staff from the program developer, child welfare agency, and program providers.

This evaluation is part of a larger project to help ACF build the evidence base in child welfare through rigorous evaluation of programs, practices, and policies. The activities and products from this project will contribute to evidence building in child welfare and help to determine the effectiveness of a program for youth formerly in foster care on young adult outcomes.

The evaluation activities will be conducted in two phases. This current information collection covers Phase 1 activities of a baseline youth survey; interviews and focus groups with child welfare agency, LifeSet developer, and local LifeSet provider agencies staff; and collection of administrative data. A future request will cover Phase 2 activities of two waves of follow-up youth surveys; interviews with youth who receive LifeSet; focus groups with youth receiving LifeSet and youth receiving services as usual; additional interviews and focus groups with child welfare agency, LifeSet developer, and local LifeSet provider agencies staff; a survey of LifeSet frontline staff; and observations of LifeSet program activities. We do not intend for this information to be used as the principal basis for public policy decisions.

LifeSet evaluation proposal to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202106-0970-004 Click on IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation.
FR notice inviting comments to OMB: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/06/24/2021-13468/proposed-information-collection-activity-evaluation-of-lifeset-new-collection

For AEA members wishing to provide comments to OMB, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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