Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Last Look at Committee Recommendations

Before Wednesday’s budget vote in the Committee of the Whole, we thought we would do a quick rundown of what made it thru the Committee Markups. So here we go…

Committee on Human Services: Jim Graham, Chairman
Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA)
-“The Committee directs the agency to work with the advocacy community and foster youth to develop performance outcomes specifically for the Subsidized Employment Program. The agency shall also submit performance outcomes to the Committee by October 31, 2013. Additionally, the agency shall submit the “Subsidized Employment Program Quarterly Report” on the achievement of performance outcomes. The report should detail services all activities related subsidized employment programs, job readiness programs, and vocational training programs. The report should indicate expenditures for each activity, the number of unique youth served within each activity, types of jobs obtained, and the types of vocational trainings youth are enrolled in and have completed. The first quarter report shall be submitted to the Committee no later than January 31, 2014.”

-Transfer $550,000 from CFSA Personal Services to the Flexible Family Services Fund within CFSA: CSG 50, Activity 3010 (Child Placement), Program 3000 (Community Services). The following populations will be eligible to access the Fund:

- Homeless families who are unable to be served by the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center or the DHS Strong Families Program because there are no placements available and additional family services are needed to avoid their children being removed from their care;
- Families brought to the attention of CFSA due to excessive absenteeism from school;
- Homeless youth ages 16-24; and/or

- The Committee supports the proposed budget allocation of $1,397,000 for the Rapid Housing Program, which maintains the FY 2013 funding level. This program provides short-term subsidies to families for whom the lack of assistance may act as a major barrier to family stabilization, and likely result in an increased number of homeless families and children being brought into care. Additionally, the program provides housing support to young adults transitioning out of foster care. This support is critical to ensure that young adults who need housing support receive it. There has been a steady increase of in the number of homeless families, headed by youth, who recently emancipated from care. Continued support of this program will ensure that leaving foster care is not becoming a pathway to homelessness.

Department of Human Services (DHS)
Homeless Youth Services: “The increasing number of District youth experiencing homelessness is a concern for the Committee given the fact that homeless youth are at especially high risk of for exploitation; dropping out of school; and having health, mental health, and substance abuse problems. The Committee strongly supports the addition of $1 million in the proposed budget for homeless youth services for a total FY 2014 budget allocation of $3.4 million. The Committee notes that the Mayor has also provided $500,000 in FY 2013 funding for youth homeless services. The Committee wants to ensure that additional funding allocated to address the needs of homeless youth is used to expand services for homeless youth who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, or Questioning (LGBTQ), unaccompanied youth up to 18 years of age, and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 years of age. The Committee is pleased to accept $486,000 from the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, chaired by Councilmember Mary Cheh, to expand shelter capacity for LGBTQ homeless youth.”

Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (CYITC)
The Trust held steady with the $3 million dollars of funding allocated in the Mayor’s budget being approved by the Committee.

Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs: Marion Barry, Chairman

The full committee report is available here.

Department of Employment Services (DOES)
Programming dollars did not change from the Mayor’s proposed budget which means slight increases to the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute and the Summer Youth Employment Program and about a $4 million dollar bump to year-round employment programs. Our policy recommendations were also included in the Committee’s report (pg 27):

-“The Committee additional feels strongly that the agency must begin to build an outcome framework measuring “work readiness” for SYEP and the Office of Youth Programs and create an articulated mission, performance targets, and make public available outcome data and should begin to report outcomes by age range including for 18 to 24 year olds in their adult quarterly outcomes.”

-“It has also been suggested that Summer Youth Employment Program should be built out by take 50 youth and placing in the year round job opportunities to begin to give them a yearly opportunity.”

Department of Park and Recreation (DPR)

Programming dollar amounts suggested in the Mayor’s Proposed Budget held pretty steady in the DPR budget. As with DOES as number of DCAYA’s policy recommendations and concerns about operations rather than dollar amounts made it into the Committee report (pg 32):

-“ Staffing: Staffing continues to be a concern within the Department of Parks and Recreation. In FY2013 oversight hearings, the previous Committee received several complaints about the relocation of staff and programs. Additionally, last year they were concerned with the high number of vacancies, which stood at 68. This year DPR currently has 61 vacancies, which the agency commits to the Committee will be filed by July 2013. These positions are the same positions the agency had a tough time filling last year. In addition, the Mayor in the FY14 budget added an additional 38.2 FTE’s to ensure that there is adequate operational capacity that exists at new facilities and pools expected this upcoming fiscal year. The Committee wants to see the agency focused on filling the hard to fill positions and will work with the agency to address hiring and staffing issues.

Permitting/Field Space Use – DPR moved their permitting system to an electronic system where customers receive status updates on applications that go through the permit process. While it is great has made it easier for residents to sign up for permitting the Committee still has received complaints about an electronic system that is still hard to navigate when applying for permits and additional concerns have stemmed from equitable field use between recreational groups.

In addition, the Committee wants to see an improved permit fee structure. Many residents and Friends groups describe an expensive permit fee for residents compared to non-residents paying for DPR’s recreational facility. The Director of DPR has committed that the agency has begun to resolve this issue and has drafted a restructured permit fee plan that has gone to the Executive for review. The Committee will follow the progress of finalizing a new plan for the District’s permit fees.

Master Plan – DPR has begun the planning process for a new Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The initiative will create a 10-year strategy that will assess the capital and programmatic needs of the Districts parks and recreation system. The Committee is excited by this new endeavor because the plan will allow for DPR begin to strategize and prioritize funding and support for the city’s parks and recreation facilities and programs. “

Office of Human Rights

The biggest change here is the “transfer of $205,983.45 from the DOES to the Office of Human Rights – Equal Justice Program (2030) Investigations to maintain day to day operations in the Office of Human Rights; to implement the Mayor’s Bulling Prevention Task Force Act 2011 and Unemployed Anti-Discrimination Act; maintain civil rights testing an investigative duties; language access annual report; hiring of an office mediator.”

Office of Latino Affairs
The Committee did not fund this recommendation but nevertheless raised concern about a reduction in grant funds for the “Gang Intervention and Prevention Program; Pro-Urban Youth Program; and Youth Incentive and Empowerment Program. These programs totaled around $1.3 million. These programs were successful at reducing gang activity and violence, and created meaningful employment, career and educational opportunities for young people. The Committee is committed to working with the Executive and the agency in looking at other alternative ways in order to address these issues.”

The committee recommended that “ An additional $780,000 be allocated to community grants for a gang prevention and pro-urban youth program in order to reducing gang activity and violence” if funds could be found.

Committee on Education: David Catania, Chairman

Report Here.This budget experienced a lot of changes this year. Maybe the most important lines of the Committee report are here: “The Committee has identified $4,500,000 in savings internal to the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), along with $135,000 in savings from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME), to support the following:

- Stabilizing DCPS schools that received more than a 5% gross reduction to their budget
from FY13 to FY14;

- Investing additional resources in summer academic enrichment programs, including the
summer bridge program for rising 9th graders;

- Restoration of reductions in library services for those schools impacted by the change in
policy regarding small school status; and

- Implementation of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at Woodson
High School.

Other highlights:

-“The Committee has identified $75,000 in savings from the Office of the Deputy Mayor of
Education to support a dedicated liaison for the PCSB to work with government agencies for
purposes of educational planning and to help coordinate the delivery of programs and services at
the individual charter schools.”

-“The Committee has identified $279,671 in savings from the Office of the Deputy Mayor of
Education and the Non-Public Tuition program to support the re-establishment of the Office of
the Ombudsman for Public Education.”

What’s important to remember is that none of the Committee recommendations will be final until tomorrow’s Committee of the Whole vote on the Budget Support Act. It is possible (and in some cases likely) that not all of these recommendations will go through and that by Thursday morning we will have some substantial changes to report out on. In the meantime if you have questions feel free to contact the DCAYA policy team!

And don’t forget, all our recommendations and copies of DCAYA staff and member testimony are available online at dc-aya.org

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