Overall, the IDHS YouthBuild program in Illinois is but a piece of a much larger network of programs and providers. IDHS YouthBuild funding supplements a small number of existing, federally funded YouthBuild programs in Illinois. These programs combine federal, state and local resources to serve disadvantaged youth in Illinois. This, in turn, also means that youth are often dually enrolled in programs from multiple funding streams and it is often difficult to distinguish IDHS funded youth from others. This is due, in large part, to the fact that IDHS grant allocations to providers are not sufficient to sustain the services, activities and building materials necessary to fully implement the program. The IDHS grant funds are intended only to supplement, and not to fully fund, these programs.

As can be seen in the State Funded YouthBuild Providers section above, each of the programs have been very successful in developing partnerships, securing volunteers, bringing in local community resources to the program as well as securing state and federal funding. However, where they are most successful is in keeping the youth engaged and committed to bettering their lives. For example, in 2008:

  • Illinois YouthBuild programs served 194 youth at an average cost to IDHS of $1,394 per youth. (This figure represents IDHS funds only and does not accurately reflect the total program cost per youth served.)
  • Fewer than 18% of youth dropped out of the program prematurely.
  • 41% of all youth completing the program obtained either their High School diploma or their GED certificate. Another 9% were still working towards their diploma or certificate.
  • 55% off all enrollees had gained employment or entered apprenticeships upon program completion.
  • A total of 20 new homes were built for low-income families and 9 homes were remodeled.
  • Of the participants, approximately 59% were previously adjudicated and these youth had approximately a 5% recidivism rate.
  • 19% of the program's participants went on to post-secondary education. At six months, with two groups reporting, 50% were still in school. There are no figures available for the other groups as six months had not lapsed as of this report.
  • The YouthBuild programs have also been very successful at improving both math and reading levels for enrolled youth. A goal of the programming is to increase both the reading and math levels for identified youth by at least two grade levels while enrolled.

Again, the above achievements cannot be attributed to IDHS funding alone, however, it is necessary to recognize that IDHS funds are an integral and vital piece of the funding stream that sustains these invaluable programs. Without it, fewer youth will have this wonderful opportunity to get their life on track, become valuable, productive citizens, and achieve the self-sufficiency necessary to support their families.