What is the Connected Youth Initiative (CYI)?

The Connected Youth Initiative seeks to build Connected Youth Communities and collaborations across rural Nebraska to help unconnected young people with experience in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, those struggling with homelessness, pregnant/parenting or who are disconnected from a family structure.

The Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) is youth driven and utilizes community resources to improve youth opportunities and networks for housing, transportation, health care, connections to peer and adult supports, educational attainment, employment, career pathways, and financial empowerment.

Who are unconnected youth?

Young people, aged 14 to 25, without permanent and supportive family connections; that live in Madison, Pierce, Stanton and Wayne county and have any of the following lived experiences:

  • Spent at least (1) day in foster care / child welfare system
  • Transitioned or near transition from Juvenile Justice / Probation
  • Are homeless or near homeless (e.g., “coach surfing”) or at-risk of homelessness
  • Runaway
  • Are pregnant and/or parenting
  • Are survivors of human trafficking/exploitation or at-risk of being trafficked/exploited

What does CYI Offer?

Central Navigation

A single point of contact youth can go to when they need help. Our central navigator will connect with the right resources in our community.

Central Navigator: Jamie  |   (402) 640 2409 |    [email protected]


The PREPARATION, TRANSITION & INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES program is designed to provide you support and guidance with the challenges of becoming independent. A Specialist works with you one-on-one to help assess your strengths and abilities, as well as assist you in identifying your personal vision for becoming a successful independent adult.

Youth 3D Leadership

An opportunity to find youth their voice and grow as a person! A chance to be a leader in our community, make friends with others that have gone through similar experiences, and help make change happen.

Youth input can help make the system better for younger youth.

Opportunity Passport

A matched savings program that offers assistance to young adults who are transitioning from foster care, pregnant/parenting or who are homeless to become financially capable.

Central Plains provides the Opportunity Passport™ Financial Literacy Program to young adults who are transitioning from foster care, pregnant/parenting or who are homeless to become financially capable. Opportunity Passport™ is a matched savings, asset-building program that includes financial literacy education, asset-specific training and support through a dedicated Coach.  Coaches facilitate the Keys to Your Financial Future and Your Money Your Goals trainings, while working one-on-one with each youth as they learn financial capabilities, receive asset-specific training, build savings, build and repair credit, receive financial counseling and will support them as they save and prepare for an asset match. The supportive services of coaching along with the financial literacy and asset specific training allows for young adults to achieve economic stability and self-sufficiency by focusing efforts on increasing earning potential, budgeting, reducing debt, opening personal banking accounts, understanding and appropriately utilizing credit, saving, and investing.