The Ahlquist Center

On September 20, the Ahlquist Center for Policy, Practice & Innovation at Children’s Home & Aid convened a group of 30 policy practitioners to introduce the framework for Start to Finish: Completing Our Commitment to Youth, an initiative focused on youth ages 8-25. The goal of the initiative is to begin to build a coalition of partners focused on ensuring youth in Illinois are stable, safe, healthy, educated, employable and connected.

The Start to Finish initiative is the next step in addressing questions raised following the release of A Fiscal Scan of Illinois Public Investments in Children and Youth, Ages 8-25, which explores where and how Illinois’ funding is being invested toward the six goals.  The companion report, Are We Keeping Our Commitment to Youth?, examines how Illinois youth are currently faring in each goal area using demographic information.

Led by the Start to Finish Steering Committee, including The Ahlquist Center for Policy, Practice & Innovation, ChildLaw Policy Center at Loyola University Chicago, EverThrive Illinois, Federation for Community Schools, Illinois Collaboration on Youth and United Way of Illinois, the Start to Finish coalition aims to promote the activities, funding and research that guide youth through school and into young adulthood with the skills, education and agency to build exceptional lives.

We look forward to coming together to build a community that endorses these values and moves away from silos toward a more collaborative approach. In the coming months, we hope to mobilize support for a state-level policy, research and advocacy agenda that promotes the six developmental goals.

For questions or to learn how to join this movement, please contact Eric Mayo at or 312-424-6872.