CWLA 2005 Children's Legislative Agenda
Federal Youth Coordination Act
- Pass the Federal Youth Coordination Act.
The Federal Youth Coordination Act was introduced in 2004 by Representatives Tom Osborne (R-NE), Harold Ford (D-TN), and Peter Hoekstra (R-MI). The legislation will be reintroduced in 2005.
The legislation would establish a national federal policy to promote positive youth development. Existing federal initiatives for young people either attempt to fix problem behavior, such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and delinquency, or are education-based.
The Federal Youth Coordination Act responds to the task force's recommendations by
- The legislation responds to the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth, which convened to examine the federal government's efforts and programs to assist these young people. President Bush directed the task force to assess federal youth policy and develop recommendations to strengthen the federal response to the needs of children and youth, with a focus on coordination and accountability. The task force looked at incorporating positive youth development practices that help disadvantaged youth and improving the effectiveness of federal programs aimed at youth. 1
The Federal Youth Coordination Act establishes a Federal Youth Development Council. Key features and responsibilities include:
- creating a federal coordinating body to facilitate interagency coordination and collaboration, coordinate federal research, and identify and replicate model programs; and
- supporting state-level coordination efforts.
- 16 federal agency secretaries
- representatives from youth-serving nonprofits and faith-based organizations
Support to States
- Ensure communication among federal agencies serving youth.
- Assess youth needs and the quantity and quality of federal supports to help meet these needs.
- Set quantifiable goals and objectives for federal youth programs, and develop a plan to reach these goals.
- Develop demonstration projects to focus on special populations of youth.
- Conduct research, and identify and replicate model programs.
- Provide an annual report to the President and Congress, including
- an assessment of the needs and well-being of youth
- recommendations for better integration and coordination of federal, state, and local policies affecting youth
- a report on the council's work to facilitate interagency collaboration, and the results of the collaboration
- Provide technical assistance and, subject to the availability of appropriations, make grants to states to support state-level coordination efforts.
- States that have already initiated interagency coordination will receive priority.
- Approximately 14.3 million kindergarteners through 12th graders take care of themselves after school, including nearly 4 million middle school students in grades six to eight. 2
- Young people with nothing to do during out-of-school hours miss valuable chances for growth and development. The odds are high that youth with nothing positive to do and nowhere to go will find things to do and places to go that negatively influence their development and futures. 3
- Students who reported spending no time in a school-sponsored afterschool activity were 57% more likely to have dropped out before reaching the 12th grade than were students who spent one to four hours in such activities. 4
- The hours of 3:00 PM-6:00 PM on school days are the peak hours for teens to commit crimes, smoke, drink, use drugs, or engage in sexual activity. 5
- Adolescents who spend time in communities that are rich in developmental opportunities experience less risk and show evidence of higher rates of positive development. 6
- Participation in afterschool programs is associated with better school performance, finer work habits, better interpersonal skills, and less time spent in unhealthy behaviors. 7
- The U.S. General Accounting Office estimates that in 2002, the number of afterschool programs for school-age children met as little as 25% of the demand in some urban areas. 8
- White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth. (2003). Final report. Retrieved online, January 8, 2005. Washington, DC: Author.
- Afterschool Alliance (2004). America After 3 PM: A Household Survey on Afterschool in America. Retrieved online, January 8, 2005. Washington, DC: Author.
- McLaughlin, M.W. (2000). Community counts: How youth organizations matter for youth development. Retrieved online, January 8, 2005. Washington, DC: Public Education Network.
- Eccles, J., & Gootman, J. (Eds.). (2002). Community programs to promote youth development (A report of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education). Retrieved online, January 8, 2005. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
- Snyder, H.N., & Sickmund, M. (1999). Juvenile offenders and victims: 1999 national report. Retrieved online, January 8, 2005. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
- McLaughlin, Community counts.
- U.S. General Accounting Office. (1997). Welfare reform: Implications of increased work participation for child care (GAO/HEHS-97-75). Retrieved online, January 8, 2005. Washington, DC: Author.
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