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The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has partnered with the Center for Technology in Government (CTG/SUNY Albany) to create a data collection strategy for the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) reporting system. The NYTD is a national effort to meet a data collection mandate included in the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program of the Social Security Act.

Unlike other data collection and reporting requirements from ACF that focus on using administrative data, the NYTD requires getting answers directly from youth who turn 17 while in foster care. The NYTD offers an opportunity for youth to provide basic information about their employment, education, health care situation, and other services received.

The mandate is on the state governments, not on the youth themselves. Therefore, youth participation in the NYTD is voluntary. However, our goal is to provide every youth with an opportunity to be heard. Please visit the NYTD New York website for more information.

The Opportunity and Challenge of Collecting Street-level Information (Issue Brief)
With the hope of changing the lives of youth in foster care, in 1999 the U.S. Congress enacted the Foster Care Independence Act, also known as the Chaffee Independent Living Act (Act). The Act provided $140 million in block grants to states to support youths’ transitions to independent living and required the Federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to develop a national data collection and reporting system. The system, known as the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), seeks to track outcomes of youth receiving independent living services and to trace certain youth outcomes over time, even as they age out of the foster care system.

The NYTD follows a long history of federally mandated reporting systems. However, it is the first national, longitudinal data collection effort focused on gathering data directly from the youths themselves, and not just defaulting to administrative data as the source of evidence.