A collective impact approach to supporting youth transitioning out of government care

Annie Smith, Maya Peled, Stephanie Martin - Child Abuse & Neglect



The issues faced by young people transitioning out of government care are complex, and improving outcomes requires the collaboration of multiple stakeholders (Lopez & Allen, 2007).

Objective, participants, and setting

In Vancouver, Western Canada, 60 agencies and 20 youth from government care are working in partnership using a collective impact approach to address the systemic issues and barriers to healthy development that youth from care experience.

Collective impact is an approach to tackling complex social problems which requires collaboration across government, business, funders, charitable organizations, and community members to achieve significant and lasting social change (Hanleybrown et al., 2012).

The Vancouver collective operates working groups (co-chaired by youth with care experience) that are addressing challenges in the areas of education, employment, housing, meaningful connections (e.g., sustainable family-type supports), health, wellness and culture.


A mixed-method evaluation has included quantitative and qualitative data, collected through outcomes, diaries, surveys, and focus groups, to measure process and outcomes.


Findings help to inform the ongoing development and activities of the collective. Findings indicate the collective is making progress in meeting its goals. Partners continue to be engaged and committed to improving outcomes for youth transitioning out of care, and there are improvements in a number of key areas such as education, collaborative working, and youth engagement.


A collective impact approach that includes youth’s voices, and collaboration across multiple stakeholders, can increase the likelihood of improving outcomes for young people transitioning out of government care.