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Community Programs to Promote Youth Development
In 1998, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Family Youth Services Bureau awarded state Youth Development Collaboration Projects grants to nine states (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon) to develop and support innovative youth development strategies. These grants were designed to enable states to develop or strengthen youth development strategies and target all youth, including youth in at-risk situations, such as runaway and homeless youth, youth leaving the foster care system, abused and neglected children, and other youth served by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. These states are making strides in promoting youth development policy. Although each state’s plan is unique, each aims to:
enhance relationships between state and local government to develop and implement youth development policies and programs;
build on existing youth collaborations and organizations;
articulate a statewide policy and understanding of youth development;
develop and implement statewide training programs based on effective principles and best practices of youth development;
involve youth in planning; and
These objectives are being achieved in various ways. State initiatives include activities such as developing statewide web sites to link agencies and programs involved in youth development activities; involving youth in state policy decision making; developing a state framework for a comprehensive youth development policy; and providing state training opportunities for both youth workers and youth leaders.
California has perhaps the most extensive network of activities driven by new state funds allowing expansion of local efforts already in place as well as the establishment of new initiatives. A $50 million state appropriation in 1998, the After School Learning and Safe Neighborhoods Partnership Program, was expanded to $85 million in 1999 (California Department of Education, 1999a, 199b; Foundation Consortium, 2000). In at least four cities, the new state funds are supporting inclusion of more children in programs already operating with local public and private dollars: LA’s BEST in Los Angeles, Beacons Schools in San Francisco, the Critical Hours Program in San Diego, and START in Sacramento. The new state funds, with the new federal CCLC and TANF