Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin proposed Wednesday that a city department or other official body be designated to oversee the city’s more than 160 youth programs.
The report, “Room to Grow: A Framework for Youth Development in Los Angeles,” lays out a road map for the city to coordinate its youth programs, with specific oversight of programs at risk of failing or those that aren’t meeting the needs of their neighborhoods they serve.
“Challenges like poverty, homelessness, domestic violence and other social and economic concerns take a toll on too many of our youth,” Galperin said. “It is imperative that we focus the city’s resources on programs that allow young Angelenos to grow up in supportive environments surrounded by positive community influences. The best way to ensure that happens is by creating a comprehensive, data-driven approach to youth development with clear goals and a method for tracking how well existing programs are serving those who use them.”
The city spent nearly $180 million last year to fund its youth programs, but there is no master plan and no single department, office or commission in charge of youth initiatives. The report notes that the city used to have a youth strategy manager and a commission to coordinate youth initiatives, but both were casualties of the Great Recession. With 26 different departments currently running the programs separately, the city’s youth strategy lacks a cohesive vision or common goals, according to Galperin.
In addition to designating a city department or other official body responsible for overseeing youth programs, the controller’s report proposes:
— the use of demographic, wellness and achievement data to identify where city youth programming is falling short;
— developing a master plan that establishes citywide goals;
— partnering with outside stakeholders to get more youth involved in programs; and
— creating a reporting platform to allow policymakers and the public to track the well-being of the city’s youth.
“Too often our youth do not have a seat at the table in making decisions that impact their futures. A comprehensive youth development strategy will help us evaluate current funding, and maximize and leverage our limited resources to ensure that we help the most number of kids in Los Angeles,” said Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who authored a City Council motion to develop a citywide youth development strategy in March 2018.
The report includes a comprehensive online map charting all of the city’s youth programs. Users can search for programs by address or click on the points to reveal information about each program, where it is located and which department oversees it. The map can be viewed at www.lacontroller.org/youthprogramsmap .