Young people who experience disruptive and traumatic events rely on our nation’s child-serving agencies for support to navigate their circumstances, heal from trauma, and return to school, work, and life as healthy and productive citizens. Unfortunately, too often our existing service agencies fall short of meeting the needs of these youth. As a result, students who experience a disruptive event in youth are more likely to experience homelessness, to have unplanned or unwanted pregnancies, and to end up in jail throughout their lifetimes.
"The Value of Harms Avoided: Calculating the Cost of a Fragmented System of Social Services" attempts to calculate both the cost of the current system across multiple disruptions that young people might face and the cost of a hypothetical system in which the first intervention works—allowing the individual to leverage support systems in the future at the rate and cost of a person who did not experience a disruptive event as a child. Based on our calculation, such a system could free up more than $1.5 trillion over the lifetimes of the cohort of youth currently served by care agencies.