Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Regarding the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation

This week's blog post is our statement released yesterday in response to the news about the DC Trust dissolving. In light of these events, we will be revising and re-releasing our #ExpandLearningDC report and fact sheets here in the coming weeks (the report was originally released on this blog on April 13). 

In the meantime, as we all work together to find a way forward, DCAYA is recommending that stakeholders use our checklist of standards for quality out-of-school time programs and systems as a shared framework. Our statement from April 26, 2016 follows.

This morning, we learned that the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (DC Trust) will be dissolving. While the exact timeline and process is still to be determined or announced, now is the time to move forward on next steps with urgency. We want to provide you with a few immediate updates on what we’ve learned today. This is followed by a more detailed set of recommendations for the path moving forward, and a final reminder of why the programs the Trust has funded remain so vital.

Immediate Updates
Based on conversations with the Council and the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Brenda Donald, we are confident that:
  • Current out of school time grant commitments will be honored. 
  • The $2,000,000 allocation for this coming summer will remain stable and move quickly (likely through the Trust as a part of the final wind down).
  • Council will work to ensure the Mayor’s proposed $4,900,000 for FY17 is protected. The Mayor has demonstrated a clear commitment to young people with the proposed FY17 budget to fund OST programming. The continuation of the youth development work that was central to the mission of the DC Trust, “ensur(ing) that every DC youth develops the skills to grow into a healthy, caring and productive adult” is paramount.
  • Mayor Bowser will deploy both Deputy Mayor Donald and Deputy Mayor Niles to work closely with Council and the community to develop a transition plan for next school year. DCAYA recommends that funding be directed to a local intermediary organization or funding institution with established grant-making expertise and an understanding of the District’s youth development landscape. Alternatively, funding could reside within a one-time special commission for children and youth that is established for the FY17 school year and summer until a more long-term intermediary is designated. In either scenario, we must work collaboratively to ensure programming is not disrupted next fall. 
Taking a thoughtful approach to the management of youth development funding is critical, and as we work with policy makers, our members, and the community at large to explore and consider next steps and solutions, we must remain aware of the unique space such an intermediary exists in. Because of this, while there might seem to be easier options to consider, such as shifting these funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs), we would be remiss in our own work if we didn’t push to find a better, sustainable solution rather than rush to institutionalize an easier, short-term one.

While next steps remain a bit unclear today, know that we’re working closely across DC government to ensure that there will be opportunities for public feedback and input on what has and has not worked historically. As these and other opportunities are made available, we will communicate them to you and your fellow DCAYA members.

The Path Forward
We are dedicated to protecting this funding, to ensuring that it will stay intact, and to guaranteeing that it remains true to its original purpose. We have been searching for alternative OST funding structures, even before seeing the news regarding the DC Trust’s dissolution. We believe the value of a public-private intermediary should be central to our thinking about the future of OST and youth development funding. We are committed to being a thought partner in this work, and will frame future conversations with these thoughts in mind:
  1. When effectively designed, intermediaries can have tremendous value. We know how valuable having a grantmaking intermediary for local Out-of-School Time (OST) funding is to our members and community based organizations in general. A strong public-private intermediary professionalizes the non-profit, youth serving sector through the provision of high quality youth development training and technical assistance. It can ensure grantee accountability through consistent oversight; and finally, when effectively designed an intermediary entity can make sure public investments are made to high quality youth development programs with demonstrated impacts on academic achievement, diminishing the learning gap, reducing truancy, combating youth crime, promoting healthy behaviors and supporting transition-aged youth.
  2. The DC Council’s oversight of the intermediary should set a reasonable cap on annual overhead and administrative costs. This action would serve to reassure providers and the public that the funds are dedicated to OST, and that the dollars are reaching the most number of children and youth through community-based program implementation. A threshold of 10-15% would meet the recommendations “reasonable cap” standard.
  3. As longer-term solutions are considered, all stakeholder partners should establish and use a common checklist of quality standards for OST programs and the system as a whole. Any and all funders, programs, schools, parent-teacher organizations, government leaders, LEAs and agency partners would have access to the tool. Any CBOs receiving OST grants from the funding intermediary would be expected to meet the quality standards. Similarly, all policy and funding decisions impacting OST would be assessed according to this checklist.
The Value of Out of School Time Opportunities

The annual share of funding for out-of-school time programs has declined by 60% since 2010. As a result, only one quarter of the locally-funded slots exist now for community-based afterschool and summer learning that were available to kids just six years ago, a reduction from close to 10,000 in 2010 to fewer than 2,500 in 2016.

If we are serious about providing safe, youth-friendly opportunities focused on improving outcomes and quality of life for all our children now and in future, we must protect the $4.9 million presently proposed for OST programming in FY2017 and work collaboratively to design a strong, efficient and transparent system moving forward. While there are other funding sources for out-of-school time activities in the District, the funds which are allocated to the DC Trust explicitly for OST uniquely offer community-based organizations the ability to nimbly partner with multiple schools to maximize the number of kids they serve annually. As such, this funding stream directly reflects the value we as a District place on our kids’ learning in the hours after school and in the summer. In ensuring the stability and flexibility of this funding, the District will remain on track in serving children and youth with quality, community-based expanded learning opportunities.

While today's news is heartbreaking, know that we will work diligently with each and every one of you to ensure that the children, youth and families that rely on these critical services are protected. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions, and we'll be in touch as things unfold.

- Maggie Riden, Executive Director, on behalf of your team at DC Alliance of Youth Advocates

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Youth Voice: Afterschool Partnerships Expand Learning for DCPS Students

This week we’re bringing you the testimony of Nana Asare, an alum of DC SCORES. At last week’s April 14 budget hearing on DCPS, Mr. Asare was joined by Katrina Owens, DC SCORES’ chief of staff and a former DCPS teacher. A recent DCAYA survey of 51 community-based organizations like DC SCORES showed that 83% of kids served after school by those organizations in DC this year were in DCPS. We believe that when DCPS schools and staff actively collaborate with quality programs like DC SCORES to ensure harmony and integration, it yields the best possible experience for students. Nana’s testimony tells such a story.

My name is Nana Asare.  I am a DC SCORES alum and 19 years old. I graduated from Wilson SHS in 2014. I have been a student at Johnson State College where I participated on the soccer team. I joined the DC SCORES program at Brightwood Elementary School in 4th grade. It changed my life.
DC SCORES alum Nana Asare (far right) testifies to the DC Council Committee on Education.
DC SCORES chief of staff Katrina Owens, who also testified, is seated to his right. (April 14, 2016)

My family emigrated from Ghana when I was 2.  Before joining the DC SCORES team I was hard headed, stubborn and had a lot of behavioral issues.  My principal encouraged me to join the DC SCORES team and it changed how I saw myself, my school, and my community. From that day on, DC SCORES and soccer became a huge part of my life. 

DC SCORES provided me a place to succeed and belong.  As I continued in school I continued playing soccer and engaging with SCORES. As a student at Wilson SHS I was a member of the varsity soccer team.  I also volunteered with DC SCORES every summer as a Jr Camp Counselor. It was important to me to make sure that kids currently in the program had an opportunity to find success and their voice like I did.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

EXTRA: DCPS Budget Oversight Responses Show Promising Trends for Afterschool in FY17

We are posting this special extra blog this week to follow up on our #ExpandLearningDC report. You can also download our statement here.

At the request of the DC Council’s Committee on Education, DCPS has provided a narrative of their proposed FY2017 budgets for afterschool and extended day at individual schools ahead of the chancellor’s budget oversight hearing on Thursday, April 21, 2016.

The school district’s responses to the committee show some promising new investments in afterschool programs in DCPS Title I elementary schools and education campuses going into the next school year:
  • DCPS will bring afterschool programs back in three elementary schools in Ward 7 in FY2017. Anne Beers, Randle Highlands and Smothers elementary schools all had Office of Out of School Time (OSTP) programming in school year 2014-2015 which was discontinued in the present school year. All three schools will see this programming restored in the coming school year, with 380 new seats for afterschool student enrollment and 37 new afterschool FTE positions between the three schools. This means a total of 52 schools will offer OSTP afterschool programming in the coming school year. (This is up from 49 as reported in our policy brief.)
  • DCPS projects adding more than 800 new afterschool spaces for student enrollment in FY2017. In addition to the seats for restored programming at the three new schools, DCPS plans to add 452 new afterschool seats in existing OSTP schools. Some of the biggest gains from the current school year into next will be seen at Bruce  Monroe at Park View, Noyes, Bunker Hill, Leckie and Stanton elementary schools. The total number of OSTP afterschool slots budgeted for in the coming school year is 7,700. (This is up from 6,790 at the end of last school year, as reported in our policy brief.)
  • DCPS’s total proposed budget for afterschool programming in FY2017 is $5.4 million, a 33% increase from the current school year. Funding will cover programming at three additional schools and the new afterschool enrollment spaces, as well as 183 new FTE positions to provide afterschool coverage at the schools, for a total of 804 FTE positions system-wide.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Help Us #KeepDYOnTrack this Advocacy Season!

This week, we're kicking off our series on DCAYA's big budget asks for FY17. Expanding transportation subsidies for older students was not included in Mayor Bowser's proposed budget-- but we are prepared to keep advocating for our youth who have re-engaged in education! Earlier this year, DCAYA worked with our partners at Raise DC's Disconnected Youth Change Network (DYCN) to conduct a youth survey on transportation. Below you'll find the advocacy resources we identified. 

You can find the full report of our findings here: Issue Briefing on the Transportation Needs of Re-engaging Youth.

THE ASK: An additional investment of $950,000 will ensure that youth (ages 22-24) who have overcome multiple barriers to re-engage in their education at a Local Education Agency (LEA) are able to attend school without the persistent worry of how they will afford to get there. This estimate is based on the average weekly cost of transportation that students reported to DCAYA via the DYCN Youth Transportation Survey ($30/ week on average) and OSSE’s reported number of youth aged 22-24 enrolled in DC schools (LEAs) in 2015 (721).


No District-wide support for the transportation needs of students 22+

·   No youth 22 or older has access to any citywide transportation aids. The District's Student Transit Subsidy Program (includes Kids Ride Free and subsidized passes) is available to youth ages 5-21.

Absence of transportation support significantly affects 22-24 year old students

·        Transportation is a significant expense for District youth. 54% of survey respondents 22-24 reported spending over $30 a week or $120 a month travelling to and from their programs.
·         Despite the high cost of transportation, youth are prioritizing their education. The majority of older youth surveyed reported spending 45% or more of their weekly income getting to and from their educational programs.
 ·         Transportation costs are high for all youth, but those living east of the river are the hardest hit. 83% of all youth 22-24 reported spending approximately one-fifth or more of their weekly income getting to and from their programs; notably 55% of these youth live in Wards 5, 7, and 8.

Impact of DC’s second-chance system investments relies on access to affordable transportation

·     When transportation costs are so high, showing up to class is half the battle for re-engaging youth. 21% of older youth reported missing class 3 or more times a month due to insufficient transportation funds. Most programs are less than 40 weeks long, so youth are missing 13% of their program’s total class time because they cannot afford to get there.
·     The loss of economic productivity and social costs associated with disconnected youth are profound. The roughly 7,500 currently disconnected students[1] in DC cost taxpayers (in lost earnings) roughly $13,900 each annually, for a total of $104 million every year. When you add in the annual per-student social cost (subsidized health care, income assistance, higher rates of criminal justice involvement) of $37,450 associated with disconnection, that’s an additional $281 million a year.[2]


      1. Testify and elevate youth narrative: Council needs to hear from you and your youth about the ways transportation costs affect student persistence and success. Over the next several weeks, we ask that you prepare testimony and work with your youth to provide examples of the need for expanded transportation support for youth 16-24. 

District Department of Transportation (DDOT)
Budget Hearing: Friday, April 8, 2016 at 11 am in Room 500
To testify, contact Aukima Benjamin, or 202-724-8062

Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME)
Budget Hearing: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 10 am in Room 120
Sign up here or call 202-724-8061

Budget Hearing: Monday, April 18, 2016 at 10 am in Room 412
Sign up here or call 202-724-8061

Budget Hearing: Monday, April 25, 2016 at 10 am in Room 412
To testify, contact Sarina Loy, or 202-724-8058

2. Contact councilmembers to elevate ask & youth narrative

Mary Cheh*
DDOT (4/8)
Transportation & Environment (Chairperson)

Jack Evans*
DDOT (4/8)
WMATA (4/25)
Transportation & Environment
Finance & Revenue (Chairperson)
Brandon Todd*
DDOT (4/8)
DME (4/13)
Transportation & Environment
Kenyan McDuffie*
DDOT (4/8)
WMATA (4/25)
Transportation & Environment
 Finance & Revenue
Charles Allen*
DDOT (4/8)
DME (4/13)
Transportation & Environment
David Grosso*
DME (4/13)
WMATA (4/25)
Education (Chairperson)
 Finance & Revenue
Vincent Orange
WMATA (4/25)
Finance & Revenue
Elissa Silverman
WMATA (4/25)
Finance & Revenue
Yvette Alexander
DME (4/13)
Anita Bonds
DME (4/13)
*Indicates high influence for our budget ask

3. Use Sample Tweets (.@Councilmember)

(.@Councilmember) Please fund Kids Ride Free expansion for youth 22-24 to help #KeepDYOnTrack. #DCFY17

(.@Councilmember) Surveyed youth 22-24 lack transportation supports, over half spending 45% of income getting to class #KeepDYOnTrack #DCFY17

(.@Councilmember) 21% of surveyed youth 22-24 miss 3+ days of class/month bc they can’t afford transportation #KeepDYOnTrack #DCFY17

(.@Councilmember) Showing up is half the battle: students 22-24 are struggling to afford their trip to class #KeepDYOnTrack. #DCFY17

That's all for now! We hope to see you at the Wilson Building this advocacy season!

Amy Dudas is the disconnected youth and workforce development policy analyst at DC Alliance of Youth Advocates. If you have any questions about today's blog, or would like more information on our transportation advocacy please contact her at

[1] OSSE. (2014) “Bridging LEAs to Resources for Enhanced Student Outcomes” Online at:
[2] Belfield, Levin, & Rosen (2012). The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth. Civic Enterprises. Online at: