YouthNPower: Transforming Care is a collective that includes young people age 18 to 25 with lived expertise in the child welfare system and coming from over-surveilled communities, working with researchers, policy advocates and organizers over 2 years to explore, document and uplift the power, needs, and desires of young people transitioning out of foster care as young adults in New York City.

We are a collaboration of the Children’s Defense Fund-New York, the CUNY Graduate Center’s Public Science Project, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and New Yorkers For Children.

Our Guiding Principles

Five Components of YouthNPower


A Participatory Action Research (PAR) inquiry with young people who have experienced foster care in New York City. Our PAR inquiry includes youth participating in the cash transfer pilot as well as others who have aged-out of foster care. Our goal is to collaboratively develop robust understandings of the transition experience. Our inquiry uses qualitative and quantitative methods collaboratively designed to highlight young people’s visions for self-determination, community connectedness, care, independence, and family, as well as their perspectives on economic and social support.


An unconditional Direct Cash Transfer pilot for 100 young people aged 18 to 22 in NYC who have either voluntarily left foster care after age 18 or aged out after age 21, providing youth with $1000 per month for 12 months.


An independent evaluation of the cash transfer pilot project conducted in partnership with an outside evaluator. This inquiry will build on emerging research in this field and focus on the effects of the direct cash transfer pilot. This independent evaluation will be developed to complement the PAR inquiry.


Organizing and storytelling to develop and advance youth-driven reforms. We are creating a platform for grass-roots movement-building work led by young people who have experienced the transition out of foster care to develop and advocate for new investments and policy change, including direct cash support.


Building partnerships. While we have depth and breadth of experience on our team, both personal and professional, we know that we can only build knowledge together and transform care if we build strong relationships, coalitions and movements that fight for economic and social justice across sectors. We come into this work with many partnerships with communities, organizations, institutions, and policy makers, and we are building new ones as we go.