The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday approved the establishment of a task force to help the city create a Department of Youth Development and address various issues relating to young people.
The Task Force on Youth Development will include some members who could be as young as 16 years old.
“We have an opportunity right now with the adoption of this task force, a nimble and effective task force that will provide an agenda of how to move forward to creating what will be the Youth Development Department in the city of Los Angeles,” Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez said.
The task force will create a City Youth Development Strategy and will be composed of at least nine members. At minimum, five will be selected by various City Council committees, two members must be between the ages of 16 and 24 and two must be parents of children under the age of 21.
The city previously had a Commission for Children Youth and Families that Councilman Jose Huizar said was “robust” and served many people.
“Unfortunately, because of budget cuts, that commission was absorbed into a larger commission,” Huizar said. “We really don’t have that strong and loud voice like we used to.”
Councilman Joe Buscaino said as a former police officer, he became fed up with putting children in the back of his police car for truancy, curfews and other possibly petty misdemeanor crimes.
“I would rather have the kids in the font, working with me, in the police car instead of in the back in handcuffs,” Buscaino said. “When our teenagers, our youth speak, people listen. I’m happy to see the city move and commit itself to forming ultimately a Youth Development Department.”
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