January 12, 2019

Mayor Emanuel And Education Experts Launch The Youth Quality Of Life Framework

First-of-its-kind framework built to evaluate youth investments so that the programs with the greatest positive impacts can be prioritized

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, today with policy experts and researchers, city departments and sister agencies, released the Youth Quality of Life Framework, a first-of-its-kind tool to identify the experiences, resources, opportunities and supports that have the most impact on Chicago’s youth. The report, available at http://bit.ly/YouthQualityofLife, identifies metrics to measure youth investments, using recent City investments since 2011 as a baseline. 

“Investments in our children are investments in the future of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The Youth Quality of Life Framework informs how we can make the most powerful impact for our future generations and help Chicago’s youth become as successful as possible in the 21st century economy.”

Independent experts from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, UIC Great Cities Institute, UIC’s Department of Pediatrics, Lurie Children’s Hospital, The University of Chicago Urban Labs, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago Urban League and Thrive Chicago worked with the City to determine the experiences, services, opportunities and supports necessary for youth to thrive.

"Thrive Chicago, along with many other researchers and practitioners, worked with the City of Chicago to outline metrics critical to youth success,” said Sandra Abrevaya, President and Chief Impact Officer of Thrive Chicago. “We see this framework as a tool that can be used to drive systems change, invest in what works and advocate for the well-being of our children, youth, and their families." 

The Youth Quality of Life Framework will provide the City with a tool to evaluate youth investments so that the programs with the greatest positive impacts can be prioritized. The Framework identified four categories:

  • Chicago youth succeed in school and engage in meaningful postsecondary options
  • Chicago youth are safe in their communities and in their homes
  • Chicago youth have healthy relationships with themselves and others
  • Chicago youth are physically healthy and have access to resources to maintain their health

This is the first-of-its-kind “cradle to career” measure to evaluate investments for youth at the municipal level. The Framework takes a comprehensive look at the lives of youth, birth to 24, and can be crucial to help score future budgets and policies impacting Chicago’s youth. 

City departments and sister agencies involved in building out the Framework include: the Mayor’s Office, Department of Family and Support Services, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Libraries, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago Transit Authority, City Colleges of Chicago, and the Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities.

"The Framework allows us to take an in-depth look at our city’s youth and provide valuable insight into how our policies and programs support their well-being,” said DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. “There is growing interest in assessing, measuring and tracking outcomes so that we can deliver even stronger results for our children; unlocking even more doors that will allow them to grow, flourish and shine.”

The working group used evidence-based metrics and academic research to analyze current policies and city programs underway for youth in neighborhoods across Chicago and determine the impact they have on Chicago youths’ quality of life.

“Community-wide partnerships are critical to ensuring that our children have the best possible chance to succeed,” said Anne Farrell, Director of Research at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. “Chapin Hall’s role in this working group was to provide evidence and help determine what to measure – to close the gap between what we know and what we do. We’re clearly making progress to keep Chicago’s youth safer, healthier, and in school. Let’s keep going.”

The Framework can be used to measure and analyze how Chicago youths’ quality of life has evolved over time and assist the City of Chicago in efforts prioritize investments and advocate for policies, programs, and resources that positively impact youth.

The City of Chicago investments in youth programming has more than tripled since 2011. In 2018, more than $75 million local funds were invested across early education, out of school time and enrichment programming; job initiatives; youth violence and mentoring; health and homelessness; and the arts, including media, library and parks services.