2018 Winner
Winners:
State of Rhode Island
February 20, 2019
Jurisdiction:
State of Rhode Island

An increasing amount of data shows that youth in, and aging out of, the foster care system are at greater risk for incarceration, unemployment, low educational attainment, poverty, mental health problems, and homelessness. Key stakeholders in the Rhode Island foster care system, from both the public and nonprofit sectors, worked together to create Works Wonders, a program that enables foster-care youth to attain job skills and training.

Works Wonders’ youth, age 16–24, are connected to a network of employers; training, certification, and education programs; and laddering opportunities, and are met where they are in terms of their skill level, needs, and life circumstances. Works Wonders does not simply place these foster-care youths in jobs, but works to help them connect with a career, building the social competencies that are necessary for positive, productive relationships.