National Youth in Transition Database

Each year, hundreds of Rhode Island youth in the foster care system reach the age of 18 and “age out” of the system.

While we know that many of them struggle with this abrupt transition to adulthood, we often don’t know what their actual outcomes are-do they have suitable employment, have they found affordable housing, do they have meaningful adult connections?

For this reason, in October 2010, the U.S. government began requiring states to gather information from foster youth about the independent living services they received while in care and how these services affected their transition to adulthood. Foster youth are asked to complete a brief, voluntary survey, and their answers are compiled into a central database-the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD).

This national research initiative will allow us to do the following: 

  • Look at the actual outcomes for Rhode Island’s foster youth who have or are about to exit care
  • Track changes in their life circumstances over a five-year period, from ages 17 to 21  
  • Assess the effectiveness of the services they’ve received-and make changes that will positively affect young people in care and the foster care system as a whole
  • Compare the outcomes of Rhode Island’s foster youth with those in other states

The U.S. government requires states to obtain a response rate of at least 80 percent for the NYTD survey. Rhode Island achieved an 87 percent response rate-only one of 13 states to meet or exceed the national standard.

What youth need to know:

We value your opinion. By completing the NYTD survey, you’re providing us with valuable feedback about the services you’ve received. And while the survey is voluntary, it’s important to know that your answers will help us improve the programs and services offered to Rhode Island’s foster youth.

We make it easy for you. When we contact you about taking the survey, we’ll set up a time and place that’s convenient for you and we’ll give you all the time you need to complete the survey (it usually takes about 25 minutes).

We need to stay connected to you. To take the NYTD survey, we’ll need your most up-to-date contact information, including a phone number and address.

We thank you for your participation. Every time you complete a NYTD survey, you’ll receive a $25 American Express® gift card, which can be used like cash at locations across the country.

Questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions, or call our Youth Engagement Specialist Caitlin Divver at 401-438-3900 ext. 109 or email her at caitlin.divver@fosterforward.net.

What caregivers need to know:

We take the lead. We’ll take care of contacting the foster youth who are eligible to take the NYTD survey, based on referrals from the state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families.
 
We value your help. To ensure that foster youth complete the NYTD survey, we rely on the help of biological families, foster parents, group home staff, and case workers to encourage their participation. Without data from the NYTD, we risk losing funding for important transitional programs for Rhode Island’s foster youth.

We need to stay connected. To take the NYTD survey, we’ll need up-to-date contact information for the foster youth, so please keep us informed of any address or phone number changes; we may even enlist your help reaching out to them.

For more information, read our Frequently Asked Questions, or call our Youth Engagement Specialist Caitlin Divver at 401.438.3900 ext.  109 or email her at caitlin.divver@fosterforward.net.

See Also

National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) FAQ

What do I need to know about completing the NYTD surveys?

Around the time you turn 17, you’ll be contacted by our Youth Engagement Specialist to find out if you want to take the survey. If you’re interested, we’ll set up a time to come to you, usually that same week or the week after. Once you’ve completed the survey, we’ll give you a $25 American Express® gift card.

Although the U.S. government requires us to conduct the survey at ages 17, 19, and 21, we’ve decided to also conduct it at ages 18 and 20. That means you’ll have four more opportunities to complete the survey, at 18, 19, 20, and 21 and each time you’ll receive a $25 American Express® gift card.

How long does the survey take?

Although it varies from person to person, the survey usually takes about 25 minutes to complete.

Where will my answers go after I complete the survey?

Your answers, along with answers from hundreds of other foster youth nationwide, will go into a central computer database where they’ll be analyzed. A comprehensive report will then be generated, indicating where improvements to the foster care system need to be made.

Why am taking the survey more than once?

Although the U.S. government requires us to conduct the survey at ages 17, 19, and 21, we’ve decided to also conduct it at ages 18 and 20. We ask you to complete the survey multiple times so we can accurately track the changes that occur in your life, over a period of five years. 

What happens if I move?

We’ll need your most current information to contact you to complete the surveys, so let us know right away of any changes to your address or phone number. Please call our Youth Engagement Specialist Caitlin Divver at 401.438.3900 ext. 109 or email her at caitlin.divver@fosterforward.netwith any changes to your contact information

Will I receive a gift card every time I complete a NYTD survey?

Yes, you will receive a $25 American Express® gift card for each survey, up to five times for five completed surveys.

Why do you need some of my personal information?

We need your personal information, including your address and phone number, so we can contact you to complete these important surveys.  Your contact information as well as your survey responses are completely confidential.

Why should I participate in the survey?

Your participation will help us make improvements to the foster care system that will positively impact older youth in care in Rhode Island.

Do I have to complete the survey?

No, each survey is voluntary, and just because you take the first one, doesn’t mean you’re required to take the others. However, there are many incentives for you to complete the survey. Your answers will help us improve the programs and services we offer, and will help us guide reform to Rhode Island’s child welfare system. Not only that, you’ll receive a $25 American Express® gift card each time you complete the survey, up to five times for five surveys.  

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