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Leveraging Data Science to Individualize Extended Foster Care Services: the Youth Success Roadmap Tool

Dr. Erika Van Buren
When: November 16, 2021 @ 11:00am - 12:00pm
Audiences: All are welcome to attend
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This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium.


In service to a deep commitment to learning and impact, First Place for Youth – a service and advocacy organization dedicated to supporting transition age foster youth to achieve self-sufficiency and independence – leveraged several years of in-program administrative and follow-up data on youth served to conduct a precision analytics modeling process, and to develop The Youth Success Roadmap Tool (YRT). The YRT is a practitioner-centric, web-based decision-support tool that is used by direct service providers and managers to support high precision programming in the development of action plans, selection of interventions, and decisions about transition needs and timelines with individual youth, with the ultimate goal of helping all young people leave program with life sustaining, living wage employment. This seminar will discuss the findings from the original modeling, the methods utilized to generate the modeling and  tool, showcase and describe how the YRT is currently being utilized to increase application of effective, individualized services and the achievement of equitable results with youth.


Dr. Erika Van Buren serves as the Chief Innovation Officer for First Place for Youth, where she leads evaluation, learning, and national expansion strategies for scaling First Place’s influence and impact in service to older foster youth across the country.  She crafts and implements the internal and external evaluation agenda for the agency, works closely with program leadership to innovate and roll-out best and evidence-supported strategies to improve practice, and conducts on-going sector building and system-capacity development activities in support of First Place’s mission. With over 20 years of experience, she has cultivated expertise in the areas of community mental health and child welfare program development and evaluation, quality improvement and performance management practices and was most recently named as a member of the 11th class of Annie E. Casey Foundation Leadership Fellows.

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