Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Performance Oversight and Budget Hearings Set by Council

The DC Council has approved the schedule for the coming months’ performance oversight and budget hearings. Below we have noted the hearing dates and times that will be of interest to our members and the youth advocacy community, along with contact information for testifying. You can find our resources for advocacy season and advice for writing testimony in last year’s blog.

All hearings are held at the John A. Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. If you wish to testify, you may sign up here or directly contact the committee staff persons listed below. Some of these agency hearings are held concurrently with other agencies under the committee jurisdiction. You can find the full schedules posted on the DC Council’s website.

To testify: sign up here or call 202-724-8061

Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)
Performance Oversight: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 11 am in Room 412
Budget Hearing: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 11 am in Room 120

State Board of Education
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10 am in Room 123
Budget Hearing: Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412

Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10 am in Room 123
Budget Hearing: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 10 am in Room 123

District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL)
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412
Budget Hearing: Monday, May 1, 2017 at 11 am in Room 412

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) - Public Witnesses Only
Performance Oversight: Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500
Budget Hearing: Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500

Public Charter School Board
Performance Oversight: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 10 am in Room 123
Budget Hearing: Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) – Government Witnesses Only
Performance Oversight: Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412
Budget Hearing: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412


To testify contact: Sarina Loy, sloy@dccouncil.us or 202-724-8058

Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Performance Oversight: Friday, February 17, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412
Budget Hearing: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
Performance Oversight: Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500
Budget Hearing: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500


To testify contact: Keiko Yoshino, kyoshino@dccouncil.us or 202-724-7774

Commission on Fathers, Men, and Boys
Performance Oversight: Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412

Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs
Performance Oversight: Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412


To testify: email humanservices@dccouncil.us or call 202-724-8017

Department of Disability Services and Office of Disability Rights
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412
Budget Hearing: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at Noon in Room 500

Child and Family Services Agency
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500
Budget Hearing: Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412

Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500
Budget Hearing: Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412

Department of Human Services
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412
Budget Hearing: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500

Interagency Council on Homelessness
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412


To testify contact: Charnisa Royster, croyster@dccouncil.us or 202-724-7772

Department of Employment Services
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500
Budget Hearing: Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500

Workforce Investment Council
Performance Oversight: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500
Budget Hearing: Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 10 am in Room 500


To testify contact: Aukima Benjamin, abenjamin@dccouncil.us or 202-724-8062

Department of Parks and Recreation
Performance Oversight: Friday, February 10, 2017 at 11am in Room 412
Budget Hearing: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412

District Department of Transportation
Performance Oversight: Monday, March 13, 2017 at 11 am in Room 500
Budget Hearing: Monday, April 24, 2017 at 11 am in Room 500


To testify: email cow@dccouncil.us or call 202-724-8196

University of the District of Columbia
Performance Oversight: Monday, March 13, 2017 at 10 am in Room 412
Budget Hearing: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 11 am in Room 123

Watch hearings live here.

And please bookmark this post as well as the calendar on our website.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When Is the New Year Again?

This week's guest column by Daniela Grigioni examines how uncertainty at the federal level, from the congressional budget to the presidential transition, impacts local service delivery. A shorter version of this op-ed runs this week in the Current.

Across the diverse community that is Washington, DC, we’re lucky to have multiple opportunities to mark the New Year. There’s New Year’s Day on January 1, but there’s also the Chinese New Year coming up at the end of January. In September, we’ll mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the Islamic or Hijri New Year.

Congress enjoys the liberty to set its own calendar. And while the examples above are fixed annual traditions, when it comes to the federal budget and the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year, we’ll soon be marking our third "New Year’s Day" of the year. The first was on October 1, 2016, the official start of the 2017 fiscal year. Unfortunately, Congress elected not to pass a full FY17 budget, adopting instead a short-term spending bill that funded the government for nine weeks, thus avoiding a budget fight in the midst of the presidential campaign. When that funding expired on December 9, our second "New Year’s Day" for the 2017 fiscal year, Congress opted for another short-term measure to carry the government through most of April, leaving funding for the end of the 2017 fiscal year – May through September – unresolved.

Federal Policies, Local Impacts
Federal grants play a huge role in my work — providing afterschool programs for children. The federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative provides funds to DC and to the states, which in turn award grants to community-center or school-based afterschool programs. The After-School All-Stars DC program at Charles Hart Middle School is lucky enough to receive a 21st CCLC grant that makes all the difference to the participating children, and to their families. 

Coming from some of the most impoverished areas in DC, students at Hart are able to enjoy art exploration, dance, athletics, mentoring, a phenomenal class in Healthy Eating run by a professional chef, a farm-to-table garden project, singing and performing, spoken word and poetry, in addition to a partnership with TechBridge, an organization that exposes young girls to the sciences. As part of the afterschool programming, children learn about many careers they might not otherwise, as well as college campuses and college life, and they join in service projects, and meet volunteers and mentors who help them develop leadership skills and the competencies necessary to be competitive on the college and job market.

But running a good program depends not just on having the funding, but also on being able to plan for what funding you’ll have. The federal delay in adopting a full-year budget means DC and the states won’t know how much money they’ll have for 21st CCLC grants until April, seven months into the fiscal year. They may guard against the prospect that Congress might decide to cut funding for afterschool programs, in some cases by holding off on making any grants at all until they know exactly what kind of resources they’ll have. Indeed, if funding were cut, this source of safe, healthy and enriching activities might just disappear. Many children would return to an empty home or remain in the streets and, for many who receive meals through their afterschool program, dinner would be uncertain.

Cost of Uncertainty
Who knows what to expect in the new budget? Every transition brings uncertainty and this one is no exception. The President-elect will have new initiatives, and presumably some cuts to propose, and Congress should and will have its say. We can certainly hope that something as important and worthy as support for afterschool programs never ends up on the chopping block. 

Still, having multiple fiscal New Year’s Days comes at a cost, and the uncertainty it creates for afterschool — and for other essential funding streams – is one of them.  Our students, our families, our workforce, and our country itself suffer with this kind of uncertainty.  In the context of these challenges, it is extremely important that we afterschool providers remind ourselves and others of the value of out-of-school-time programs.  In many communities, we are an anchor for young people and their families; we guarantee a constant and safe presence of service and care; we keep on leveling the playing field for disadvantaged youth.

At After-School All-Stars we’ve tried to diversify our connections.  We work hard on creating volunteer opportunities so that professionals from different walks of life can meet our students and understand how positively afterschool programs impact their lives.  As service providers, we need to continue to expose our work to policy makers, the private sector, the business community and the philanthropic community.

At a time when there aren’t nearly enough afterschool programs to meet the need, our federal budget process should provide certainty and support – not present additional challenges.

Daniela Grigioni is the Executive Director of After-School All-Stars DC. She is a 2016-17 Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

If this Year was a Youth

And by this year, we mean 17.

If this year was a youth, we thought we’d paint a partial picture of what a 17 year old and their peers might be experiencing.


To begin with, a 17 year old, as part of the general youth population in the District, is among 107,989 residents under the age of 18. That is 17% of the population in our city are youth. In a group of 100 youth, 43 of them come from a single mother family and 28 are children living in poverty. 63% are black, 19% are white, 14% are hispanic, &12% identify as other.



For every 1,000 youth, at least 5 are experiencing homelessness at any given time during the year. And of the at least 545 youth experiencing homelessness at any given time in DC, 43% self-identified as LGBTQ.



For a 17 year old, 69% of their class will have graduated high school within four years.



About 8,300 young people in the District are categorized as disconnected youth, meaning they are neither in school nor employed. This represents 9% of all District youth 16 to 24.


Only 12% of 16–19 year olds and 59.7% of 20–24 year olds were able to find paid, unsubsidized work in 2015.



Finally, 17 year olds in DC could be among the few in the country that are able to vote, should the Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2015 be reintroduced and adopted.


If they follow trends in Takoma Park and Hyattsville, voter turn out for 17 year olds would be higher than adults:
So far in Takoma Park, younger-voter participation has been impressive. In the 2013 election there, 44 percent of registered 16- and 17-year-olds voted, compared with just 11 percent of all voters 18 and older. In Hyattsville, 16- and 17-year-olds also participated at more than twice the rate of their 18-and-older counterparts.

So as we enter 2017, we’d like to hear from you 17 year olds about what you see in your community, and what kind of change you’d want to see occur, and finally, if given a chance to vote to make that change happen, would you?

What about you adults? What does giving 16-17 year olds the vote make you think about? What would be the challenges and the opportunities? And until they, how can we all be better advocates for youth to ensure that they can thrive into adulthood?