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Assessing Two Support Programs in Foster Care


  • Determining which program leads to better school outcomes.
  • Abt is supporting a longitudinal randomized controlled trial (RCT).
  • Results are forthcoming.
The Challenge

Child Advocates, Inc. of Indianapolis’ (CA, Inc.) Education Liaison (EL) program is a dropout prevention program for middle- and high-school students in the foster care system. EL utilizes the Check & Connect (C&C) mentoring model, which has been supported by two prior RCTs that met What Works Clearinghouse Standards. CA, Inc. also uses a Best Interest Advocacy (BIA) model, which is its typical approach. CA, Inc. wants to know which approach is more effective when it comes to supporting foster care youth.

The Approach

Abt Associates had a lead role in conceptualizing and carrying out the design for a longitudinal, randomized control study. Foster care youth are randomly assigned to participate in either the EL or BIA model. Youth in this study, who are moderately at-risk of school dropout, will be followed over a four-year period to ascertain if either model delivers better school outcomes than the other.

The Results

Results are forthcoming. With the support of Arnold Ventures, Abt is facilitating the use of science to inform practice that is relevant to the day-to-day lives of at-risk youth.