Photo by Nick Alvarez via Shutterstock
On Thursday, May 20, Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved the allocation of $ 1.4 million to fund the creation of LA’s first Youth Development Department.
According to a motion first introduced by board members Monica Rodriguez, Kevin de León and Nithya Raman in February, 200,000 young people currently live in poverty in Los Angeles, of which more than 3,000 are homeless. Over the past 10 years, young people between the ages of 10 and 25 also accounted for 32% of the 1.2 million arrests.
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“Young people in historically underserved communities face barriers to success caused by decades of underinvestment and exacerbated by the pandemic,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “The Department of Youth Development will be the catalytic change that will provide increased program options for youth, greater accountability of taxpayer dollars, and streamline access to ensure equality for all young Angelenos, regardless of who. or their postal code. “
The motion states that the city’s youth programs are currently inefficiently distributed across 26 departments and that there is no “proportional assessment or mobilization of federal, state and regional resources.”
In December 2019, a board-approved nine-member Youth Development Working Group assessed the effectiveness of the youth programs currently in place. The task force determined that there was no way to assess whether investments in municipal service programs were having an impact, were being used effectively, or were equitable in meeting the needs of young people. Young people, parents, foundations and social service providers had the opportunity to identify the flaws in the current system and the reforms needed to ensure that young people are better served.
A study by the Los Angeles Coalition to End Youth Homelessness found that, since the onset of the pandemic, young people have been unable to access a variety of necessary services within the current homeless youth service system. These include housing services, job training and employment services, education programs and support groups.
“For 50 years, youth development work has functioned as an affiliate of other initiatives,” the motion reads. “Young people deserve a government that is structured and designed to meet their needs informed by their voices, not the obsolete preservation of unmeasured programs. “
The newly approved department “will coordinate with regional agencies and youth service providers, serving as a one-stop-shop for the public to access youth services and auditing youth programs to ensure efficient use of youth resources. the city”.
It will serve as a central clearinghouse for the public to access youth services, in the hope that centralizing the city’s response to the high number of young people living in poverty will make basic essential services more accessible and serve better. young people. The approval of this ministry is the first step towards achieving the comprehensive systemic reform called for by the motion.
By funding a department that will focus all of its resources on impoverished youth in Los Angeles, Kelly Bruno, president and CEO of the National Health Foundation, expects “the often overlooked power of young people to be harnessed by connecting them to the tools essentials absent in underfunded communities.
“We believe this newly centralized department will meet the unique needs of our youth, connecting them with tools and resources to reach their maximum potential. After all, young people are integral members of their communities and experts in the issues and barriers that affect them, their neighbors and their families, ”Bruno told Scriberr News.
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Rodriguez said on June 29 that the council “was making history with the creation of the city’s first youth development department that will help meet and meet the needs of the city’s more than 800,000 youth and young adults. , who are emerging desperately from this pandemic will continue to need more resources and access to support programs which are currently very difficult for them to access and identify. “
Scriberr News reached out to City Councilor Raman, but her communications team told her that even if the City Councilor was unable to provide a quote at that time, the ministry would provide centralized services to youth instead of youth. 26 existing disparate programs.