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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the independent living program (ILP), focusing on: (1) the extent of services provided under ILPs; and (2) what is known about the effect of these services on youths' ability to live on their own.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services To enhance HHS' and the states' accountability in preparing youths to live on their own after leaving the foster care system, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should develop a uniform set of data elements and a report format for state reporting on ILP so that analysis of ILP information can be conducted using consistent data and the results shared with the states; and concrete measures of effectiveness for assessing state ILPs, such as the number of youths with stable employment and housing at the time they leave foster care and at specific intervals thereafter.
Closed - Implemented
Following the issuance of this report, Congress passed the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, which required HHS to take actions that address this recommendation. HHS has chosen to develop and implement a uniform set of data elements--the National Youth in Transition Database--as the primary accountability mechanism for implementing this recommendation. Agency officials will issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making.

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