Four Youth-Serving Orgs In Line for the Blue Meridian Billion

As Youth Services Insider reported earlier this month, a small group of youth- and family-serving organizations will soon change forever thanks to massive investments from Blue Meridian Partners, a capital aggregation project led by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

Nothing is official yet, but an update to the partnership’s website this week suggests that four organizations stand a strong chance of becoming Blue Meridian grantees.

Tuesday, a statement on EMCF’s website for Blue Meridian said that while no large-scale investments had taken place, the group was helping four nonprofits “develop plans for scaling their programs.”

Nurse-Family Partnership

As YSI predicted, one is Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a home visitation program that pairs nurses with young and first-time mothers. Click here to read out interview with Nurse-Family Partnership CEO Roxane White. NFP and other home visitation models saw increased federal support in recent years thanks to the Affordable Care Act and a subsequent extension of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV).

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids

WWK is funded by and through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The program trains and supports the hiring of adoption specialists that focus on youth who have languished in foster care.

In 2011, Child Trends published an impact study on the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, a huge undertaking that assessed the outcomes of all WWK sites and also used a smaller sample in a randomized control group study.

The study found that WWK-supported recruiters worked with 9,680 children, and that work has led to 3,708 adoptions. If that doesn’t sound like a high rate of success, consider the following:

  1. These were mostly children who statistically have horrific odds of getting adopted. Seventy percent were over nine years old; 45 percent were over 12; 45 percent had a disability; and 23 percent had more than one disability.
  2. The control group comparison showed that WWK-supported recruiters were 1.74 times more likely than others to successfully place a child with an adoptive family. In the parlance of researchers: Highly significant impact.

Youth Villages

Youth Villages is a Memphis, Tenn.-based multi-service provider that operates child welfare and juvenile justice programs in 13 states and Washington, D.C. The organization has slowly moved from a residentially focused operator to one with a continuum of care more focused on community-based services.

A recent impact study on its transitional living program, conducted by social research firm MDRC, found the following:

  • Boosted earnings by 17 percent.
  • Increased housing stability and economic well-being (including a 22 percent decrease in the likelihood of experiencing homelessness).
  • The program did not significantly improve outcomes in the areas of education, social support, or criminal involvement.

Youth Villages is no stranger to game-changer-sized grants; it received $42 million from The Day Foundation in 2011 to expand its transitional living program.

Healthy Steps for Young Children

Healthy Steps ,operated by national nonprofit Zero to Three, puts “healthy steps specialists” in place with pediatric doctors and centers to assist parents with gaining access to early childhood resources and services.

An evaluation of Healthy Steps published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “practice-based interventions can enhance quality of care for families of young children and can improve selected parenting practices.”

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 942 Articles
John Kelly is senior editor for The Chronicle of Social Change.

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