Federal grant invests in funding tied to positive outcomes for juveniles (SE Illinois News)

By Robert Hadley

In an effort to improve the lot of at-risk youth, Illinois officials have launched a pilot program that accepts federal funds only when outcomes show improvement.

The Pay for Success pilot, championed by Gov. Bruce Rauner and George Sheldon, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, was announced Nov. 18. It received White House blessing via a grant from the Social Innovation Fund.

"Pay for Success allows government to pay only when individual lives are improved, rather than for the number of participants in a program," said then-Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation David Wilkinson.

The Pay for Success pilot works with minors involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, according to a release from the governor’s office. Under the program, six service providers will treat some 800 juveniles across 18 Illinois counties for four years.

"Many youth in the juvenile justice system have endured a breakdown in their families," Rauner said. "This project is an innovative demonstration of how we can, collaboratively, improve services for some of our state's most vulnerable residents, and it continues our administration's efforts to transform health and human services delivery in Illinois."