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PNS Daily Newscast - August 13, 2020 

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Illinois to “Pay for Success” of At-Risk Youth

May 12, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Programs that help at-risk youth are getting a shot in the arm, thanks to an innovative project in Illinois. "Pay for Success" invests private dollars into social programs, which are then paid back by the state when results are achieved.

Deputy Gov. Cristal Thomas says the first contact will increase support for kids involved in both the child-welfare and juvenile-justice systems.

"If we're able to build a strong network of services and supports around those kids," Thomas says, "they've got a much greater likelihood of success transitioning out of the juvenile justice system - back into their communities, with their families - and have better outcomes."

The contract was awarded to One Hope United, in partnership with the Conscience Community Network, for a project to improve placement outcomes and reduce re-arrests through alternatives to institutional care. The program will serve approximately 800 young people and is expected to generate $30 million in direct investments.

Thomas says with the program, the state will see continued savings as benefits accrue after the investments are paid off. She notes that it helps to bring more accountability to state government.

"We are looking at outcomes-based budgeting and performance management," she adds, "and making sure that we really are paying for what works and have accountability around how taxpayer dollars are being spent."

She says they hope to see success in the project so it can be expanded, and then the model can be applied to other areas, such as education or health care. Illinois is one of the first states to implement the "Pay for Success" model, following New York and Massachusetts.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL