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.

Youth Who Benefit:

• Youth ages 14-25 (up to their 26th birthday) in Madison, Wayne, Stanton, and Pierce County

• Currently or have been in the Nebraska foster care system

• Have had contact with child protective services

• Experience with the juvenile justice system

• Adopted or had guardianship

• Are homeless or near-homeless

• Are pregnant or parenting

• Survivor of Human trafficking

• Simply lack family supports

For enrollment forms, please visit our Forms Page.

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, juvenile justice or who are homeless to become financially capable.

To be eligible for the program, young adults must be under age 26 and have been a ward of the state of Nebraska at the age of 14 or older or be identified as “unconnected” through the Connected Youth Initiative system in Nebraska. A 3:1 match is provided for a vehicle purchase (e.g., a young adult saves $2,000, the program provides $6,000). A 2:1 match is provided for housing, education, health, micro-business, credit building, or investment matches, and a 1:1 match is available for participant-specific needs. There is a lifetime cap of $6,000 per participant.

Financial education courses must be completed prior to enrollment in the program. Asset-specific training is completed prior to receiving a match. Coaches also assist young adults who are enrolled in the program with opening personal bank accounts, establishing or re-establishing credit and many other financial literacy topics and skills.