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.

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