Tuesday, February 07, 2012

In Defense of CYITC

If you aren't part of DCAYA's supercool Linkedin group you're missing out! In preparation for DCAYA's BIG CALL TO ACTION EVENT on Thursday February 09 in support of the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, we're utilizing ALL of our social media outlets and in the past few days we've had a great discussion via Linkedin with the local blogger community about why CYITC is deserving of support! Below is just a taste of one of the comments from DCAYA's Senior Policy Analyst Maggie Riden on just that topic:

The original intention of CYITC or the “Trust” was to ensure the development of high quality, diversely funded positive youth development opportunities for the most at risk and vulnerable residents of DC: children and youth. What has been lost in much of the recent coverage around the Trust is 1) the timeline in which political corruption was allowed to take hold at CYITC and 2) the various measures already taken to safeguard CYITC from future unethical meddling and ensure transparent grant-making and strong accountability moving forward.

All of the stories we’ve been reading in the news about CYITC focuses on events that occurred between 2007 and 2010 under the leadership of individuals who are no longer employed by CYITC. In early 2010, when new leadership was solidified, CYITC underwent its first external financial audit, and implemented the systems and oversight measures this audit recommended. In the spring of 2010, Councilmember Tommy Wells introduced and passed legislation banning earmarks, which removed one of the vehicles Harry Thomas Jr. used to embezzle funds intended for children and youth. During the rest of 2010, CYITC implemented its first Financial and Accounting Policies and Procedures manual and the first Grants Management Policies and Procedures manual. The timing of Harry Thomas Jr.'s inability to continue to embezzle CYTIC funds and the implementation of these oversight mechanisms by CYITC and Councilmember Wells is no coincidence. This progress has continued to date, with the appointment of three new, very strong, CYITC Board members in December of 2011. This is not to say that all the issues have been addressed, but our community should use this opportunity to fix what’s wrong rather than pursuing a reactionary path and dismantling a critical facet of our youth programming system.

We know that a strong, functional and de-politicized intermediary has the capacity to leverage public-private dollars, professionalize the youth development system, ensure the provision of high quality programming, and provide a vital coordinating role for CBO’s and other youth serving agencies. An intermediary like CYITC is the ideal entity to quickly and transparently manage grant making for this unique niche of youth programming. This is not an instance where starting from scratch is necessary; addressing the existing and potential future problems honestly, and then collaboratively fixing these weaknesses should be our focus moving forward.

To add your voice to the conversation join the DCAYA Group on Linkedin, follow us on twitter with the hashtag #savecyitc and join us in supporting CYITC THIS THURSDAY February 09th! If you aren't a social media fan, you can always take the old fashioned route and write an op-ed like DCAYA OST Committee Chair Andria Hollis did...

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