BOA FINANCE COMMITTEE APPROVES FORMATION OF NEW HAVEN DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH
(10/19/2007) NEW HAVEN- The Board of Aldermen’s Finance Committee met Thursday evening and approved an ordinance that would allow for a reorganization creating the City’s Department of Youth. Approval from the Finance Committee moves this item along to a vote before the entire Board of Aldermen on November 19th.
Creation of the new Department of Youth would not cost the City any additional funds. Instead, the Department of Children and Families would be dissolved while City staff whose responsibilities include services to youth would be consolidated into the new department. The Department would have a director and would develop and advisory board or commission. The new department would be housed under the Community Services Administration with no new positions created.
“In recent years, by establishing the Mayor’s Youth Initiative, The City of New Haven has shifted its approach to serving and engaging youth moving toward a perspective where we actively seek out the interests and opinions of our young people and respond with appropriate programming and initiatives,” said Che Dawson, the proposed director of the new Department who currently serves as deputy chief of staff in the Mayor’s office. “We’ve accomplished so much in the last year targeting the needs of youth, but there’s much more work to be done. I believe this new structure will put us in an optimal position to continue to make a difference in the lives of our youth giving them positive choices and resources to succeed.”
Some of the major components of the Mayor’s Youth Initiative which will now be housed under the Department of youth include: Open Schools, Youth at Work and Youth Capacity Building Grants. In the spring of this year, 4 new Open Schools were made available to New Haven youth bringing the number up to 9 facilities where young people can partake in recreational, educational and artistic activities daily after school. Attendance at Open Schools nearly reached the 1,000 mark this summer.
This summer’s participation in the City’s Youth at Work program reached an all time high of 1250, above last year’s 980. Another 120 young people throughout the City will be placed in jobs through this program during the fall.
Over the course of two application waves this year, the Mayor’s Youth Initiative has provided 27 organizations with more than $250,000 in funding to help them expand the number of young people they can serve in the City. Another round of grants is planned for the spring of 2008.
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