National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data & Technology A Service of the Children's Bureau & Member of the T/TA Network

« Back to Previous Page

This brief summarize the existing guidance and recommendations related to identifying and surveying 17-year-old youth in the baseline population.

As States prepare to begin surveying 17-year-old youth in the second cohort on October 1, 2013 (Federal Fiscal Year
2014), we have prepared a brief to summarize Federal guidance and recommendations related to identifying, engaging and surveying baseline population youth. Please note that this brief does not contain any new guidance. Instead, this document is provided as a technical assistance resource that can be referenced as States make their final preparations for surveying the baseline population this fall.

  1. Which youth are included in the baseline population?

    The baseline population is comprised of youth who are in foster care and reach their 17th birthdays during FFY 2011 or in every third year thereafter (e.g., FFY 2014, FFY 2017, etc.) regardless of whether the youth receives any independent living services and regardless of the amount of time the youth spends in foster care (45 CFR 1356.81(b) and 73 FR 10342). The preamble to the Final Rule clarified that a youth does not need to have his or her 17th birthday while in foster care, but “consistent with the data collection rule in section 1356.82(a)(2), the youth must have been in foster care within 45 days following his or her 17th birthday during the specified reporting year” (73 FR 10342). See NYTD TA Brief #2: Understanding the Baseline Population Data Collection Requirement for more information.

  2. What definition of “foster care” is used in the baseline population definition?

  3. The baseline population includes 17-year-olds in foster care consistent with our regulatory definition of foster care in 45 CFR 1355.20. This definition includes youth who are in 24-hour substitute care under the State’s placement and care responsibility who are in foster family homes, group homes, shelter care and child care institutions, regardless of whether such homes or institutions are licensed, approved or paid. The baseline population includes children who may have run away from their foster care setting but who are still in the State agency’s placement and care responsibility. The baseline population also includes youth who receive title IV–E foster care maintenance payments in the placement and care of another public agency pursuant to a title IV–E agreement

    The baseline population excludes youth in facilities primarily for the detention of youth adjudicated delinquent and youth who are in the placement and care responsibility of a tribal agency unless the conditions specified above regarding title IV–E agreements apply. Youth who are at home but in the placement and care responsibility of the State agency also are excluded from this definition (See 73 FR 10342 or NYTD Q&A #8.9).

  4. What is the data collection requirement for the baseline population? When must youth be surveyed at age 17?

    States are required to collect outcomes data from youth in the baseline population within 45 days following the youth’s 17th birthday, but not before that birthday (45 CFR 1356.82(a)(2)(i) and (ii)). The State must attempt to collect the data described in 45 CFR 1356.83(d) during the time the youth is in foster care. See NYTD TA Brief #2: Understanding the Baseline Population Data Collection Requirement for more information.

  5. What happens if a youth in the baseline population exits foster care before the State is able to collect outcomes information within 45 days after the 17th birthday? Are States still required to collect and report outcomes data on such youth?

    No. As noted above, States must attempt to collect the data described in 45 CFR 1356.83(d) during the time the youth is in foster care. The State does not report outcomes data on a youth in the baseline population who exits foster care before the State attempts to administer the NYTD survey. However, in the event that a youth in the baseline population exits foster care before the State is able to collect outcomes data, the State must still report information on data element 34 (outcomes reporting status) and data element 36 (foster care status – outcomes) (See NYTD Q&A #3.15).

  6. Because of the baseline population data collection requirement, some youth may turn age 17 in one report period and be surveyed in the next report period. For these youth, in which report period(s) do I need to report data?

    Both. In the event that a baseline youth’s 17th birthday falls within 45 days of the end of a reporting period (e.g., March 15, 2014) and the State collects outcomes data from the youth in the subsequent reporting period (e.g., April 30, 2014), the State is to report the youth’s record in the data file submission that corresponds with the report period in which the youth turned age 17. Per 45 CFR 1356.82(a), the data file submission would contain the following information:

    • Information on the general data elements (1-4) and demographic data elements (5-13) required for all youth reported to NYTD; and
    • Information on all the data elements applicable to a youth in the served population (14-33) if the youth received an independent living service during the report period.

    The State is to leave data elements 34 – 58 blank in this youth’s record until outcomes data can be collected from the youth in the subsequent report period. Once the State administers the NYTD survey, the State is to report the baseline outcomes data in the report period file that corresponds with element 35 (date of outcomes data collection) (See NYTD Q&A’s #1.42, #2.55).

  7. Should States submit baseline outcomes data collected late (more than 45 days from a youth’s 17th birthday)?

    Yes. States are encouraged to submit outcomes data collected from youth in the baseline population after the 45-day timeframe following the youth’s 17th birthday (See NYTD Q&A’s #2.60 and #5.9). Please note that even if a State is unable to gather outcomes information from a youth in the baseline population in accordance with NYTD requirements, a State must still include the youth’s record in the report period in which the youth turned age 17 because information on all other applicable data elements is still required to be reported (See 45 CFR 1356.83(f)) and NYTD Q&A #2.39). In the event that a State is unable to collect outcomes data from a baseline youth, a State is still required to report the reason it was unable to collect this information in data element 34 (outcomes reporting status).

  8. What is the compliance standard States must meet related to baseline population data collection? Is there a participation rate States must meet for baseline population youth?

    States are required to collect outcomes data from youth in the baseline population within 45 days after a 17th birthday. A State that fails to collect outcomes data from a baseline youth within this timeframe would not meet the data collection requirements specified in the NYTD regulation at 45 CFR 1356.82(a)(2)(ii). The NYTD regulation specifies a data compliance standard at 45 CFR 1356.85(b)(1), which requires certain data elements, including data element 35 (date of outcomes data collection), to be 90 percent error-free. If a State is unable to collect outcomes data on a youth in the baseline population within 45 days after the 17th birthday, element 35 would be marked in error (See Internal Consistency Check #7 in NYTD Technical Bulletin #2). A State that submits a data file containing information on data element 35 that is not 90 percent error-free may incur a penalty as described at 45 CFR 1356.86(b)(2). (See 45 CFR 1356.82(a)(2)(ii) and 45 CFR 1356.85(b)(1)).

    There is no outcomes participation rate standard or penalty for noncompliance with such a standard for the baseline population. However, the data collection requirement found at 45 CFR 1356.82(a)(2)(ii) specifies that States must collect outcomes information on each baseline population youth in foster within 45 days following the youth’s 17th birthday (NYTD Q&A #5.8).

  9. Which survey questions are to be used for the baseline population?


  10. States are required to use the relevant NYTD youth outcome survey questions specified in Appendix B of the NYTD regulation for the baseline population. Most of these questions are identical to the questions posed to older youth as part of the follow-up population survey, with two exceptions. First, for the baseline population, the survey questions related to homelessness (element 49), substance abuse referral (element 50), incarceration (element 51) and children (element 52) relate to the youth’s lifetime experiences instead of the youth’s experience in the past two years. Second, the three survey questions related to public financial assistance (element 42), public food assistance (element 43) and public housing assistance (element 44) are not required to be asked of baseline population youth.

  11. How should States administer the NYTD survey to the baseline population?

    States have the flexibility to determine which method(s) they will use to engage youth in outcomes data collection and to administer the NYTD youth outcome survey. However, we encourage States to consider using the same primary survey mode at baseline and at the two follow-up survey rounds so that youth become comfortable with the survey methodology through their baseline survey experience and know what to expect for the follow-up surveys. Using the same primary survey mode across the three rounds of the survey also minimizes the difference in youth response that can occur from using different modes. The reliability of a survey question is enhanced when it is administered in the same mode across time. For more information, suggestions and tips for administering the NYTD survey, please see:


  12. What steps should States take now to help ensure baseline population youth remain engaged in the NYTD survey effort beyond age 17?

    States are strongly encouraged to use the baseline survey as an opportunity to establish rapport with youth and to gather information that can later be used to locate and engage young people for the follow-up survey at ages 19 and 21. Lessons learned from studies such as the Multisite Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs, include a number of strategies States may adopt to maintain connections with young people transitioning out of foster care including:

    • Collecting personal information from the youth such as an email address, phone number, driver’s license or State ID numbers, or social networking account names;
    • Collecting contact information for the youth’s friends and family including biological parents, foster parents, siblings or other relatives;
    • Maintaining contact with the youth between survey rounds, including providing a toll-free phone number that a youth can call to update contact information; and
    • Offering incentives for participation.

    States are encouraged to review the brief “Locating and Engaging Youth after They Leave Foster Care: Experiences Fielding the Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs” for more information.

For more information, please contact: NYTDsystem@acf.hhs.gov

Click below to download the article in PDF.

css.php