Another DHS Success - July 31, 2019

July 31, 2019

Iowa Department of Human Services

Another DHS Success

Highlighting the successes of the Iowa Department of Human Services

Teens with arms around each other

DHS Celebrates Positive Youth Outcomes

The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) is celebrating several notable positive outcomes for youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood.

DHS contracts with Youth and Shelter Services Inc. of Ames, who enlists a network of youth serving providers across Iowa to deliver case management services to youth age 18-21 in all 99 Iowa counties. The Iowa Aftercare Services Program strives to prepare youth for the transition out of foster care into the adult world.

Transition arrangements begin well before the youth exits foster care at or around age 18, and involves plans for continuing education, employment, access to health care, safe and affordable housing, and maintaining a positive support system. Positive outcomes include:

  • Approximately 40 percent of young people are employed when they enter Aftercare, which increases to 57 percent who are employed at their exit for state fiscal year 2018 (SFY18).
  • At their exit from Aftercare services, more than two-thirds of participants (67.1 percent) are solely responsible or contributing to their housing costs.
  • Of participants completing an exit interview in SFY18, 82.7 percent had earned a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • Ninety-nine percent of participants have health insurance when they exit Aftercare services. Most rely on Medicaid for their health insurance coverage, which is available to youth who age out of foster care until age 26.

For more details, view the Iowa Aftercare Services Annual Outcomes Report.

DHS also contracts with the Department of Human Rights to survey youth, track data and create reports to improve practices and comply with the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) federal requirement. Implemented in 2011, the NYTD requires state child welfare agencies receiving foster care funding to complete data collection of outcomes of services provided to transition-age youth.  

The Iowa Department of Human Services began collecting data for NYTD on Oct. 1, 2010 and reports data to the Administration for Children and Families semi-annually. Iowa has been in full compliance with NYTD reporting requirements since implementation.

Since 2016, the Iowa Department of Human Rights has completed the surveys of youth and has worked with DHS to create reports. Notable outcomes from federal fiscal year 2019 (FFY19) include:

  • At age 17, 98 percent of youth reported having at least one adult in their life other than their caseworker to whom they can go for advice and emotional support. By age 21, 87 percent still reported having this support.
  • By age 19, 60 percent reported some employment-related experience, which increased from the 54 percent reported in the first cohort (FFY16).
  • 35 percent of 19 year-olds were enrolled in and attending some type of educational programming.

For more information, view the FFY2018 Foster Care to Adulthood in Iowa Report.

“Youths exiting foster care face many obstacles, through no fault of their own. The transition and aftercare services we provide are meant to help them on their journey to successful adulthood. These numbers show that with our services, youths are taking advantage of these opportunities to improve their lives and I am so proud of them,” said Adult, Children and Family Services (ACFS) Division Administrator Jana Rhoads.