Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It's Time We Stopped Paying Mere Lip Service to Youth Workforce Programs

I start every testimony I give in front of the Council with an explanation of who I am, a brief description of who and what DCAYA is, and a quick summary of why we care about about whatever agency or piece of legislation we're about to testify about. When we testify at hearings that deal with youth employment (DOES, WIC, UDC etc) I always include a line or two about how quality youth workforce development programming has the capacity to profoundly affect the life trajectories of thousands of young people here in the District.

Councilmembers usually nod their heads in agreement when I say those words. After all, who in their right mind would disagree with that statement? OF COURSE workforce development programming helps put young people on the right track! It seems fairly simple really,the city pays for programs that help prepare young people for the workforce early on in their working lives and the result is supposed to be that we have a well prepared workforce by the time these young people hit age 25. We have a problem though, and its not exactly a little one. 

Youth  between the ages of 20 and 24 experienced an unemployment rate of 17.7% in 2011. Teenagers (16-19) experienced a rate of 48.2%. The highest unemployment rate for any other age group in the District is 11% ( adults ages 45-54 and 55-64 both experience a rate of 11%).We also have thousands of 16-24 year olds who are not in the labor force at all. Often this is because young people chose not to work because they are full time students (high school or college), but we know from American Community Survey data that at least 10,000 young people are neither in school nor working. These are all indicators that we are doing something wrong.

So, going back to the capacity of youth workforce development programming to profoundly affect the life trajectories of young people; the devil is in the details. We can't just offer workforce development programming and expect it to have the positive effects we want it to. We have to be more strategic and not just because we're spending millions on these programs every year. The young people who take part in these programs do so with the expectation that they will help prepare them for a self-sustaining adulthood. Its with that in mind that DCAYA will be making the following recommendations at tomorrow's FY'14 budget hearing for the Department of Employment Services (DOES) and the Workforce Investment Council (WIC):

Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)
It'll come as no surprise to followers of this blog, that SYEP is at the top of our list.
SYEP has improved greatly under Director Mallory’s leadership, however, there is much that could still be done to ensure program effectiveness. 

DCAYA Policy Asks: 

1) Use part of the existing SYEP budget to implement a SYEP participant outcomes framework that can measure the “work readiness” knowledge and skills gained by participants as a result of their participation in the program. Implementing an outcomes framework will allow DOES to more accurately gauge which host sites are contributing to young people’s ability to be "work ready" and will allow DOES and the Council to track the effectiveness of the program from year to year.

2) Use part of the existing SYEP budget to require an annual third party evaluation of SYEP so that DOES can continue to build off of the successes of the last three years and foster a culture of continuous improvement. This was done in FY’10 and FY’11 by Brandeis University and the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp (respectively). http://cyc.brandeis.edu/pdfs/reports/DOES%20REPORT%20Unfinished%20Work%20Final.pdf.

Year-Round Programming
The District has a seriously lop sided strategy when it comes to youth workforce development programming. We currently serve about 14,000 youth ages 14-21 during the summer months, but just a few hundred are engaged in year-round opportunities. SYEP should only be a part of the District’s strategy for ensuring young people have early exposure to the world of work and training opportunities to ensure youth are prepared for living-wage jobs. 

DCAYA Policy Asks:

1) Pilot a SYEP “build out” program that takes a subset of SYEP youth and connects them with year-round opportunities for employment using the same model of subsidized employment as SYEP. A small pilot (50 or fewer) could be taken out of the current SYEP budget whereas a larger pilot would require additional funds. It should be noted that while a program for in-school youth would certainly be advantageous for the District, there are currently relatively few opportunities for out-of-school young people to make positive connections with the workforce.

2) Standardize a referral system for SYEP participant that connects participants both in and out of school with year-round opportunities. DOES began to do this last year and referred a number of young people into pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training opportunities, but this work could be further expanded. If we knew this process was happening in a standard and formalized way, DOES could even use the number of referrals made to other programs as a measure of success for SYEP.

3) Ensure young people are appropriately supported in programming by better targeting services. A key reason this isn't happening now is because DC has a dearth of program options. We have SYEP in the summer, but then as we mentioned we have a small fraction of those 14,000 slots during the year. Young people over 18 can access "adult" services, but are not always appropriately supported by these options. In- school youth can enroll is different options like afterschool or college preparation programs, but these are not necessarily focused on workforce preparation. We need a more extensive menu of services that can serve different populations of young people, and to do that more funds must be invested in year-round programming rather than SYEP.

Performance Metrics and Outcomes Reporting
 Much like SYEP, many of our year-round programs (PYAP, High School Internship Program, Youth Connection Center) run by DOES currently lack of performance outcomes which would allow the city to accurately gauge program performance and effectiveness. 

DCAYA Policy Asks:

1) All programs overseen by the DOES Office of Youth Programs (OYP) should have articulated missions, youth outcomes frameworks, performance targets and publically available outcomes data. It’s not enough for DOES to run programs we need to know they are quality! Once outcome measures for all programming are established DOES should report out on those measures quarterly with their adult outcomes.

2) To facilitate this OYP must create a new strategic plan for “Youth Workforce Development”. Essential elements of such a document to ensure utility include: a) An articulation of how all of DOES youth programs and adult programs for 18-24 year olds fit into a larger web of service provision and what other agencies they connect to for wrap-around supports and or connection to academic outcomes (where appropriate) b) A clear mission/vision for each of the youth and young adult serving programs and an explanation of how each program directly or indirectly contributes to a well prepared District workforce c) A set youth outcomes framework for every program that OYP operates that includes data such as attrition rate, number of youth achieving academic benchmarks (grade level gains, GED/diploma attainment), work readiness benchmarks, employment gains/retention d) A budget breakdown of the costs associated with setting up program monitoring and data collection for all youth and young adult programs. This should include a breakdown of how much internal staff time needs to be dedicated to managing and monitoring different programs.

These recommendations cover a wide spectrum of issues and will take a lot of work on the part of DOES, especially the office of Youth Programs to implement. It won't be easy, but as a city we must stop paying lip service to the importance of youth programs and services and actually start managing for long term success. Our current approach may be working for some, but it clearly isn't working for enough. Here at DCAYA, we really do believe that youth workforce programs can have lasting positive effects for young people, but that can only occur when individual programs work strategically as part of a larger system of workforce readiness and preparation. We look look forward to hearing what plans DOES and the WIC have to make a "youth workforce system" a reality at tomorrow's hearing.

This blog post was written by DCAYA Policy Analyst Anne Abbott.

For more information on DCAYA's work around youth workforce development please visit us online at dc-aya.org.

You can also follow us @dcaya or like us on facebook here.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Time Limit Exemptions Give Young Parents the Time to Prepare for Good Jobs

When thinking about the District’s TANF program, one overlooked fact is that many of the families receiving benefits are headed by a young parent (one who is 24 years of age or younger). Research has consistently found that youth need a different set of services and supports than older adults to succeed, and thus we should not assume that the current TANF time limit policy — which applies to all families regardless of their situation — will fit the needs of young heads of household.

Instead, young parents would be much more likely to succeed if the District created time limit exemptions to allow them to finish job training or education without losing the benefits they need to support themselves and their children.

Service providers who work with young parents in the District see the time extension as a common-sense policy. Lena Heid, Case Manager and Parent Educator at the Latin American Youth Center’s (LAYC) transitional living program for young parents says that many young parents are still trying to get on their feet, adjust to new roles as parents and finish school. “If the TANF benefits are not extended youth may have to choose between working full time and going to school” she said. “TANF is the only thing that allows some of our young parents to finish school.”

Since young parents are still in the process of transitioning to adulthood while managing the demands of a family, offering them the additional support makes sense. Patricia Santucci, Director of Student Support Services at the LAYC Career Academy says that the added financial assistance will affect youth’s choices to continue in education programs versus leaving programs to go to work or stay at home with the kids. “If we are trying to encourage young people to be responsible parents and more productive in the community and care for themselves . . . an extension offered while youth are doing something productive is something that would be helpful” Santucci said.

Another important distinction for young parents is the need for more time to acquire skills and education than many adults. “When older parents fall on hard times, they may have had the time to gain the skills or education, and TANF is temporary assistance” said Lena Heid.

“Young people may not have work experience or even the time to obtain work experience” says Patricia Santucci, “while adults who have kids have had the time to do this. We don’t want young people to get to 30 or 40 years old without education or work experience.” Santucci said.

“This is a good thing for our parents, that they can receive benefits and work on their education and hopefully in the future …see higher advancement in a career … it takes that pressure off of them, instead of thinking, ‘how am I going to survive?’ and then repeating the cycle [of intergenerational poverty].” said Eric Collins, Manager of Residential Programs at Sasha Bruce Youthwork.

Recognizing that young people have different needs than their adult counterparts, the District should align its time limit policy with the needs of young families.

For more information on DCAYA’s work around supporting young parents please visit our policy and advocacy pages at www.dc-aya.org.

This post was written by DCAYA Policy Associate Susan Ruether. To stay up-to-date on current youth issues, make sure to FOLLOW us on Twitter and LIKE us on Facebook.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

OSSE,Deputy Mayor for Ed. and State Board of Education Hearing Re-cap

It seems like only yesterday we were asking our members to preemptively get budget season on their minds and yet a couple months later here we are in the middle of the FY'14 budget season. Yesterday's OSSE/DME/SBOE hearing put us just over the halfway point for hearings so we thought we would share some of the highlights for those of you who couldn't make it or didn't tune in to listen to all 76 witnesses (big shout out to OSSE here for organizing so many of their grantees and supporters!).

So, onto the major points on the youth front from yesterday's hearing:

1) Fund Pathways to Adult Literacy: Many of you may know that the Mayor's "wish list" of funding proposals includes a $4 million dollar bump to the Office of Adult and Family Education at OSSE, but many constituents (DCAYA included) testified today to take that priority off the "wish list" and move it into OSSE's operating budget for FY'14. The Youth-Friendly DC readership may remember the blog post we did around the time of OSSE's performance hearing on why "adult" literacy services could also be considered youth literacy services, but beyond that its also important to fund these services at an appropriate level because one of the number one predictors of K-12 students academic success is their parents literacy level. Many of the witnesses at yesterday's hearing were their representing OSSE's adult basic education grantees and they gave some very moving testimony on why funding adult literacy services is of the utmost importance.

2) Support is High for the Dual Enrollment Fund: As the always eloquent Nicole Hanrahan from DCAYA member org LAYC mentioned in her testimony, the Dual Enrollment Fund that was established by OSSE earlier this year has made college level coursework a reality for dozens of students in the District. Dual enrollment is an often cited strategy for decreasing high school dropout, increasing college access and retention and is a very promising strategy for students who are seeking to earn an alternative high school credential such as the GED. A number of students, CBOs and even representatives from local post-secondary institutions like Trinity, Howard and the Community College testified on the importance of this fund. Chairman Catania did voice a willingness to find funding to bolster the Dual Enrollment fund in the future, but he did say today that his current funding priority is the Pathways to Adult Literacy Fund.

3) Ensure the Career and Technical Education Line Item Holds Steady: As you may have read in our first take on the budget a few weeks back, the CTE line item in OSSE's budget is set to experience a cut of about $300,000. We have spoken with OSSE about this cut, and it sounds as though this cut is not a true cut and current programming levels will hold. It is important to recognize thought that for OSSE to carry out the recommendations of the CTE Task Force that met last fall, more funds will likely be needed. DCAYA's testimony raised this point in conjunction with a few other stakeholders.

4) Fund the Education Ombudsman Office:There was some chatter late last year about re-funding this office and here at DCAYA we are generally supportive of funding an office in the education cluster who has the sole responsibility of being responsive to parents and students who are having issues in both DCPS and Charters. The District is legally required to have and Ombudsman, however the position was only ever funded for one year. Both Chairman Catania and Council member Grosso seemed to support bringing back an Ombudsman.

There were a number of points made by various stakeholders at the hearing about the early education expansion planned by OSSE for FY'14. Sharra Greer's testimony from Children's Law Center, gives a fantastic overview of some of the planned changes. This however is not DCAYA's area of expertise so we'll leave that one to the experts to cover.

This post was written by DCAYA Policy Analyst Anne Abbott. To contact her with questions or concerns you can email her here.

Don't forget to FOLLOW DCAYA on Twitter and LIKE us on Facebook so you can stay up-to-date on youth issues in the District.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Prepping for the FY'14 CYITC Budget Hearing

 Hopefully everyone reading this has already signed up to testify at Thursday mornings budget hearing for the Children Youth Investment Trust Corporation, and you’re amping up to explain to Council why investments in our youth intermediary and expanded learning sector are important. On the off chance that you’re still working on your testimony, or want a little more information before you take the plunge we thought we’d use today’s blog post to hit on the budget highlights that will impact expanded learning programming and provide some additional food for thought on crafting your testimony. 

The funding stream to support expanded learning programs is diverse, however recognizing that we already touched on DCPS last week, we’ll focus this analysis solely on CYITC ( the Trust). The Mayor’s proposed budget has kept the funding to the Trust flat at $3,000,000. At this mark:

· The Trust will be stretched to sustain support for the 3,100 youth who received Trust funded programming this year;

· The availability of summer grants will depend entirely on year-end savings or a budget surplus (as has been the case the last two years and is never a safe way to plan funding or programming);

· The Trust will remain unable to provide training and technical assistance, capacity development support, research, and evaluation to understand what works and what to grow within the youth serving sector; all of which are a primary components of the Trust’s mission and mandate.

At the same time however, the Mayor has indicated that an additional infusion of operating funds to the Trust is a priority if the money can be identified in the FY’14 Budget; and Council is still deciding how to allocate the FY’13 supplemental funds. This means we have the opportunity to make a thoughtful ask and clear recommendation at Thursday’s hearing.

The ask: We ask for an (at minimum) infusion of $2,000,000 into the Trust’s FY’14 Budget to ensure that the current level of school-year programming is sustained and high performing organizations can scale up additional services to reach far more youth (point of reference- a $1,000,000 increase would serve an additional 1,430 youth in year round programming); it would help to ensure the availability of youth development programming during the summer of 2014; and would provide the Trust with the necessary operating funds to reinvigorate their work as a capacity builder, trainer and data hub able to support and report back to key decision makers about the needs and opportunities within the field of youth development.

The recommendation/Where should the money come from: The Mayor’s proposed supplemental budget includes over $118,000,000 for Department of Parks and Recreation facilities.Obviously this is an admirable investments; but the removal of $2,000,000  will have a minimal impact on these projects while significantly expanding the availability and quality of youth development programs that we know will reap academic, social, emotional and health rewards for years to come.

The final question is, how do we make the case? The first step is being present on Thursday to give your testimony and show your support for the importance of a solid public-private youth development intermediary. We strongly encourage you to check out our talking points on this hearing which can be found here. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, we encourage you to recruit others (parents, youth, volunteers, board members, alumni) to do the same.

If you can’t make it Thursday, a second option is to commit to getting 10 people from your network (personal and professional) to call or email the members of the Committee on Human Services and their council member to tell them why expanded learning is important and why they should invest in the youth development programming and services. The opportunities presented by the supplemental budget, while not a guarantee beyond next year, shouldn't be forgotten in our advocacy work or asks this budget season- but as always, it will take a collective and loud voice to make this happen.

This blog post was written by DCAYA's Executive Director Maggie Riden. For more information on DCAYA's work in the fields of positive youth development and expanded learning please visit the Policy and Advocacy section of our website.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Big (Budget) Picture for Juvenile Justice in the District of Columbia

As budget season has gotten underway, I have received numerous questions about whether I believe that the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services – which is seeking a $105M appropriation (a decrease of 1.5% from FY2013) – needs the money requested in the various line items. My response – perhaps not necessarily the response that people wanted to hear – is that I believed they were asking the wrong question. If our goal is to find cost-savings, then we should not be asking where we can cut DYRS’s budget and short-change the youth under DYRS supervision, but how we can prevent youth from coming into contact with DYRS in the first place. The answer to this question requires taking a bigger picture view of the budget, instead of focusing on the line items proposed by DYRS. Taking a broader view of the budget starts by recognizing three key characteristics of the District’s juvenile justice system.

First, we have to understand that DYRS is merely a part of the juvenile justice system in the District of Columbia. While many think that DYRS is responsible for supervising and rehabilitating all court-involved youth, the reality is that DYRS’s role is actually limited to housing detained youth prior to disposition and housing, supervising, and rehabilitating committed youth. In the juvenile justice world, we call DYRS’s role the “deep-end” of the system.

Second, we have to understand that DYRS plays this “deep-end” role in a juvenile justice system where control, financial responsibility, accountability, and data-collection are split between federal and local control. Indeed, as illustrated in the chart below and explained in more depth in our budget brief, youth involved in the delinquency system in the District often bounce between federal and local agencies within and between the various phases of the process. Commitment to DYRS is often the place court-involved youth land when other interventions have not worked.

Third, we have to understand that the District juvenile justice system as a whole currently serves as the safety net for far too many youth in our city. 95% of the youth who get arrested in the District live below the federal poverty line. Over 70% of those arrested live in under-resourced neighborhoods with failing schools, high unemployment, and low rates of educational attainment. Because of the circumstances into which many are born, our District youth have a razor-thin margin for error. As a result, every time a youth is suspended from school, is denied much-needed special education services, or slips through the cracks of the District’s behavioral health system, the youth becomes far more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system.

So what can we derive from this big picture look at the District’s juvenile justice system in terms of the budget process?

First, we must all recognize that so long as we rely on the juvenile justice system as a social safety net, it is going to cost the District a significant amount of money. This is especially true of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services because of the agency’s “deep-end” role in the system. High-need, high-risk youth require rigorous rehabilitative services, whether it be 24-hour around-the-clock surveillance and confinement or intensive, community-based wrap-around services. As Frederick Douglas stated, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” It turns out that it is far cheaper to do so as well.

Second, as we started off this blog post by stating, the best way to save money on the deep-end of the system is to make sure a youth does not come into contact with the deep-end in the first place.

At the micro level (i.e. the juvenile justice system level), this requires increased coordination between federal and District agencies to create additional programs that successfully rehabilitate youth at the least restrictive level consistent with public safety. In particular, we would propose that additional investments be made to strengthen or create diversion programs at all stages of the juvenile justice system – diversion from arrest, diversion from prosecution, diversion from probation, and diversion from commitment. We would also propose a renewed commitment to decreasing our reliance on pre-disposition incarceration.

At a macro level (i.e. the full cradle-to-adulthood continuum of youth development), this means that “front-end” agencies not only need to be held more accountable, but also must be given the resources to invest in proven programs and strategies that ensure that our youth do not fall through the cracks. In particular, we would recommend that the District be as aggressive with school push-out as it has been with truancy going forward. Every student should be in school every day. We would also recommend a renewed commitment to providing special education and behavioral health services to youth in a timely and accessible manner. If youth do not have the wrap-around services that eliminate the barriers to success in the classroom, they will not be able to learn and engage.

Hopefully, in future budget cycles we can take a step back and look at the bigger picture of youth development in the District and conduct our budget oversight – as policy makers and advocates – with a eye trained more on how we can save money by investing wisely rather than merely through cutting or shifting spending.

Eddie Ferrer is the Co-Founder and Legal & Policy Director at DC Lawyers for Youth (DCLY), a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the DC juvenile justice system by advocating for reforms that promote positive youth development, effective legal representation, and supportive relationships between the community and DC’s youth. For more information, please follow DCLY on Facebook and Twitter. Eddie can be contacted at eferrer@dcly.org.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What's Inside the DCPS Budget?

Since we did our budget overview last week, it only makes sense this week to start to go a little deeper. With that in mind, DCAYA is proud to present some ideas and points about the DCPS budget proposal. The DCPS hearing will be next Wednesday April 17th.

We said this last week, but we’ll say it again: the DCPSbudget can be a confusing thing and this year is no exception. There are a lot of questions to be answered given the convoluted proposed budgeting for many programs in FY’14.  A prime example of this is the reduction of $268,000 from last year’s already severely reduced budget for the Office of Out of School Time Programming being countered by a $2,680,000 increase to the “Extended Day” line item. Certainly, DCAYA is on board with the idea of extending the amount of time that students spend engaged and learning. However, as we have written about before, extendedday models can vary widely and do not all achieve the same intended results. It’s also important to note that previously schools were open to community partners during after-school hours with janitorial and security services because these things were centrally coordinated by the Office of Out of School Time Programming. This same office became responsible for vetting community partners and most importantly for placing full-time after-school coordinators in each school to work with the service providers, principals, teachers, and parents to improve coordination and service delivery. In the last two years, this office took the focus on coordination and quality a step further, initiating work with community partners, DCPS central office, principals and teachers to align what students learned during the school day (newly defined common core standards) with the academic focus and objectives of after school programming. As this office has been largely defunded it its very unclear where these functions will land within DCPS or if they will be maintained at all.

Another somewhat baffling number in the DCPS budget is the Proving What’s Possible line item which only comes in at $733,000, given the sheer size of this program that number seems impressively low and PWP does not show up elsewhere in the DCPS budget (although it is likely part of the Extended Day or Technology line items).

Summer school is set to receive a very small bump this year, which is discouraging given all the research that points to summerlearning’s ability to close the achievement gap. The Summer School line item is certainly a place that could use some spirited advocacy!

Inducing further confusion is the “Instructional Programs” section  of the budget which essentially zeros out “Alternative Education” whereas the “Vocational Education” line item is set to experience a $6,000,000 bump which about evens out to Alt. Ed cut. Is this change just a re-purposing of funds? We hope so.

In terms of places that could all use some serious infusions of cash: Evening Credit Recovery is set to get about $375,000 in new funds, but middle and high schools could do a lot more with larger budgets. We know many of our students could utilize opportunities to regain credits and get back on track, so we need to support this.

The general Student Support Services is supposed to take a $286,000 cut along with a cut to School Social and Psychological Services of $92,000. This on its face is bad news but again these cuts are more than balanced out by School Health Services budget item which is set to receive an increase of $1,353,000.Youth Engagement will experience a cut of $733,000. Parent Resource Centers will experience a cut of $1,492,000 and Student Attendance will be cut $514,000. The Family and Community Engagement budget is set to experience an increase of $1,230,000. A lot of these cuts and bumps are likely internal repurposing of funds, and especially considering the focus on truancy prevention and student engagement this is likely. However, what advocates need to look at for is that these funds a re-purposing and that the functions formerly carried out are continuing to happen.

We know that the Committee on Education and the larger Committee of the Whole have an intense interest in solving the truancy issue within the District’s schools and especially at DCPS so as a community of advocates we need to look at things through the school engagement lens. While the DCPS budget may be complicated and may just be moving pots of money from one line to another, we still need to ensure that the programs that have proven their effectiveness or show great promise of doing so remain intact. With that we encourage all youth providers that have worked with DCPS to testify at next week's hearing.

 For more information on DCAYA's policy priorities and recommendations about out-of-school time and expanded learning please visit us online at dc-aya.org or contact Susan Ruether or Maggie Riden.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A Quick Re-Cap and Our First Take on the FY'14 Budget

As many of you heard at our Member Summit last week, one year ago I officially stepped into the role of Executive Director at DCAYA; and if memory serves correctly; one of the first emails I sent out was a thank you for the warm welcome and a breakdown of the proposed 2013 budget. It seems only fitting to celebrate my one year anniversary in similar style, so here we go:

To all of our members, funders, board members and concerned community members that came to our Member Summit last week, THANK YOU! We deeply value the commitment of over 130 youth serving organizations that rally each and every year to provide the input, feedback and recommendations that fuel our policy and budget advocacy. This year's Member Summit was a great reminder of the power that the commitment and collective voice of so many individuals and organizations can bring, but also of the intense need to harness that power and voice as we begin the FY'14 budget season and as we seek to make the District of Columbia a youth-friendly city.

I would also like to thank outgoing Board Chair Lori Kaplan from the Latin American Youth Center for her years of service to DCAYA as well as Council Members David Catania and David Grosso, WAMU's Kavitha Cardoza and our keynote speaker LucretiaMurphy of the See Forever Foundation/Maya Angelou schools for their contributions to the event. We have a full re-cap of what went on at the Summitup on our website and I encourage those who weren't able to join us to read up on what you missed. But, it’s that time of year and we have to get onto the budget...

As you may have already heard, Mayor Gray’s FY’14 budget includes investments in many long term projects including public school modernization, a rehabilitation of the MLK library and a citywide expansion of affordable housing. At the same time, as DCAYA crunched the numbers, you’ll note there are still areas where the actual investment remains unclear and there are still significant opportunities to repurpose funding to better serve youth. This brief breakdown on the numbers is just the first step of Budget Advocacy. In the week to come, we’ll be circulating talking points and recruiting organizations, parents and youth to participate in council sit downs and budget hearings; so please keep an eye out and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

DC Public Schools
As always, the DCPS budget is a little hard to understand, but our first take on it is here:

Under “Instructional Programs” Alternative Education is set to take a $5,962,000 hit, which zeros out that line item. Vocational Education is set to experience a $6,000,000 bump, however, which about evens out. Evening Credit Recovery is set to get an infusion of about $375,000.
Afterschool Programs are set to take a $268,000 decrease, however the Extended Day Program is set to experience a $2,680,000 increase. Summer School is set to experience a meager increase of about $223,000 with Library and Media Services experiencing a similar increase of about $328,000. The Proving What’s Possible Program line item will experience and increase of $733,00, however that increase is over the “Approved FY’13” number of zero which given what we know about the sheer size of the Proving What’s Possible program seems a little strange.

Under “Instructional Support Services”, Professional Development Programs is set to take about a $900,000 hit and Parental Engagement is set to get a $237,000 bump after getting zeroed out last year.

Under “Student Support Services” The general Student Support Services is supposed to take a $286,000 cut along with a cut to School Social and Psychological Services of $92,000. School Health Services is set to receive an increase of $1,353,000, however, Youth Engagement will experience a cut of $733,000. Parent Resource Centers will experience a cut of $1,492,000 and Student Attendance will be cut $514,000. The Family and Community Engagement budget is set to experience an increase of $1,230,000.

Department of Employment Services
The DOES budget is found inside the Economic Development cluster of the Mayor’s budget. The Office of Youth Programs within DOES has four line items in the budget:

Youth Programs Information which is set to experience a cut of $73,000;

The Year-Round Youth Program which is inclusive of programs like the WIA Youth (in school and out of school), the Pathways for Young Adults (PYAP) and the high-school internship program which is set to experience an increase of $3,120,000 for a total of $11,861,000 in the Mayor’s budget;

The Summer Youth Employment Program which is set to experience an increase of $105,000 for a total of $11,476,000 in local fund provision and; The Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute is set to experience an increase of $13,000 for a total of $775,000 in local support.

It’s important to remember though that youth and young adults over 18 are barely captured in the Office of Youth Programs budget. While many of the “adult” job training programs in the District are serving the 18-25 year old population, at this point it is impossible to parse out how much of those program’s budgets are being spent on this age group.

Office of the State Superintendent for Education
Adult and Family Education services is set to experience a cut of $734,000 which will put further strain on an already strained area. This part of OSSE funds adult basic education as well as family literacy programs and English language programs in the city.

Career and Technical Education is set to experience a cut of $334,000.
Higher Education Preparation is set to experience an increase of $343,000 in new funding.

These cuts are something we will be coming out hard against. Lastly, due to some recent legislation the funding for the State Board of Education will be coming out from under OSSE and into its own SBOE budget. The transfer amounts to about $590,000.

Department of Human Services
Mayor Gray’s 2014 budget does reflect a modest increase in direct services for low income, homeless or unstably housed residents (6,809,000 across the continuum). 1.5 million of this has been set aside to support homeless youth and young heads of household. Obviously, we’d like to see this allocation grow, and will be looking for areas where a funding allocation could increase this mark.

While the budget mark for CYITC has stayed at 3 million for this year, increasing funding to afterschool and summer programming remains on the Mayor’s short list of priorities for this year. We will still be working with council to grow this investment for FY14 by $2 million; it is important to note that the One City Fund (15 million to be competitively granted through the Community Foundation) represents a new funding stream that could support these types of services. As more information on this funding source is released we’ll keep you updated.

Commission On Arts and Humanities
While not a traditionally large funder of youth programs; the Commission on Arts and Humanities has been a facet of the youth development funding landscape. For FY2014, the Commissions’ youth programming will be reduced by $2,956,000. This is a significant reduction from FY13 which has substantially increased COA funding from FY11 from $195,8000-$5,043,000.

Department of Parks and Recreation
Funding to Seasonal Camps, Early Childhood, Middle Childhood and Teen Programming provided by DPR has increased a modest $266,000 with the biggest increase in funding allocated to early childhood programming (aged 3-5), and the most significant reduction made to seasonal camps.

DC Public Library
Children and young adult services and the Teens of Distinction program are set to experience at $113,000 cut. Literacy resources were cut an additional $77,000 however DCPL and in particular the MLK library are set to experience major renovations with funds in the capital budget.

So there you have it, our first run down of the the Mayor's Propose Budget. We'll be keeping you updated as we hear more information so be sure to check your emails from DCAYA as well as to check in on dc-aya.org constantly curing budget season!

This post was written by DCAYA's Executive Director Maggie Riden.

Don't forget to FOLLOW us on Twitter and LIKE us on Facebook to get up-to-date information on youth issues in the District.