Youth Development Workgroup.
The Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) hosted a Youth Development Workgroup (Workgroup) that included representatives from community-based organizations providing youth development programs, including expanded learning, mentoring, school-age child care, wrap-around supports, and integrated student support advisors. The Workgroup also included representatives from the DCYF, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and people with lived experience in state systems.
The Workgroup defined youth development providers and programs as those that include mentoring, expanded learning or afterschool/summer programs, school-aged child care, and other whole child supports that ensure the comprehensive needs of young people are addressed. Youth development programs focus on holistic outcomes by complementing school-day academics, promoting social and emotional well-being, and supporting access to postsecondary and career pathways. While youth development providers or programs may not provide basic needs services such as shelter or food outside of program time, they often function as a key referral resource to help young people and families navigate those additional services.
The Workgroup provided recommendations to the Legislature including:
The DCYF has a regional structure with six regions across the state as follows:
The Department of Commerce (Commerce) must develop and implement a grant program that provides grant funding to youth development programs in the state that provide:
A youth development program is defined as a program for youth that focuses on holistic outcomes by complementing school-day academics, promotes social and emotional well-being, and supports access to postsecondary career pathways. Youth development programs may not provide basic needs services such as shelter or food outside of program time, but they can function as a referral resource to help young people and families identify and navigate those services. A youth development program may include mentoring, expanded learning opportunities, afterschool or summer programs, school-aged child care, or other child supports that address the comprehensive needs of young people.
Expanded learning opportunities are defined as a structured learning environment that occurs outside the traditional school day through before school, after school, and summer programs. Expanded learning opportunities offer a safe place for students where education can be supported and supplemented.
In designing the grant program, Commerce must engage with and consider feedback from the following groups with representation from all six of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) regions of the state:
The design of the grant program for youth development programs must include the following components:
To the extent possible, the DCYF shall include youth, who are compensated for their time, in reviewing grant applications.