Youth Thrive: Our Story (So Far)

Francie Zimmerman - Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)

Youth Thrive believes that all young people should be valued, loved, and supported to reach their goals. To achieve this, Youth Thrive works with youth-serving systems, organizations, and partners to change policies, programs, and practices so that they build on what is known about adolescent development, value young people’s perspectives, and give youth opportunities to succeed.

For the past decade, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) has focused on addressing what happens to youth who are the most marginalized by society, specifically those who are involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems or who have experienced homelessness. Despite notable progress over the past years in reducing the numbers of youth in foster care and detention, involvement in these systems still results in an array of negative outcomes with youth being denied opportunities to reach their goals and to productively contribute to our country’s future. This is particularly true for Black, Native, and LGBTQ+ youth who are disproportionately represented in care and who experience disparities that further impact their ability to thrive.

This report describes efforts through 2019 by CSSP’s Youth Thrive initiative to increase opportunities so that all youth have the chance to thrive.