Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Local Officials Focus on Implementing Citywide Children, Youth Agendas

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Local Officials Focus on Implementing Citywide Children, Youth Agendas

Article excerpt

Six city-school district teams gathered in Hampton, Va., last week to share lessons and learn strategies for implementing comprehensive, citywide agendas for children and youth.

Municipal and school officials from the cities of Charleston, S.C., Grand Rapids, Mich., Lakewood, Ohio, Lexington, Ky., Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C., convened as part of the Municipal Leadership to Implement Comprehensive Plans for Children and Youth technical assistance initiative sponsored by NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute), with support from the MetLife Foundation.

Each city was competitively selected because of its prior development of a youth master plan or other efforts to develop comprehensive strategies for children and youth.

The cross-site meeting focused on three themes: sharing accountability with other community stakeholders, sustaining youth civic engagement and utilizing the expertise of other national groups to enhance the cities' implementation efforts.

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Staying Focused, Sharing Accountability

The six cities are developing roadmaps for the implementation of their children and youth plans, which will involve promoting a shared vision, engaging diverse stakeholders, implementing comprehensive strategies toward concrete goals, sharing accountability and coordinating services and systems.

Each city shared initial challenges it faces in prioritizing areas of focus within the context of its youth master plans. Priority areas range from truancy issues in Washington, D.C., and Lexington to engaging diverse youth in Charleston and Portland.

In addition, city teams identified 15 additional challenge areas that include funding, sustaining engagement, identifying champions and measuring outcomes.

Some of the specific action steps that the cities will take include integration of youth master plans with existing community initiatives, promotion of youth-adult partnerships for all frontline youth workers and strengthening the school district's implementation role.

Youth-Adult Partners

The City of Hampton provided an excellent learning laboratory for these teams to gain greater insight into how one city has successfully implemented a youth master plan over the past 17 years. …

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