Our History

Since our founding, our work has focused on strengthening outcomes for youth and young adults at high-risk for delinquency and victimization. 


Youth Collaboratory Now

Today, Youth Collaboratory works to engage and convene the youth services field to innovate, evaluate, and drive effective strategies that ensure the safety and well-being of youth and youth adults. Through relationship-driven consulting services, strategic national partnerships, and research-based program models, we operate across sectors to help organizations focus on one goal: strengthening outcomes for youth and young adults in high-risk situations. 

Youth Collaboratory’s Roots

In 1974, before the formation of MANY, the federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act was passed through the grassroots efforts of service providers. The purpose of the Act was to protect minor offenders from being detained in adult jails or other correctional facilities. For years, these vulnerable youth were treated with a corrections approach.

By the early 1980’s a youth service system emerged that was vastly different from its child welfare system counterpart. The goals of the youth service system were crisis intervention, family reunification if possible, and the provision of other services that avoided placing these youth in state custody under the child welfare system or juvenile detention systems. The needs of these youth and families touch almost every other human service system (mental health, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, substance abuse, health, and more). 

Youth Collaboratory Then

In 1988, a small group of youth service organizations came together to design a support system that included coordination, training, best practice sharing, development of new technology, advocacy, and in particular, a way to maintain an interdisciplinary dialogue that put the needs of young people first. These providers joined together to become the Mid-Atlantic Network of Youth and Family Services, Inc. (MANY).
Driven by the needs of these providers, we developed a training and technical assistance program that has become a national model of excellence in improving outcomes for youth and young adults most at risk for victimization and delinquency. Thirty years later, our mission remains the same, to harness the power of the youth services community to innovate, evaluate, and drive effective strategies that assure the safety and well-being of youth and young adults, unlocking their limitless potential.

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