Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin has released a report titled “Room to Grow: A Framework for Youth Development in Los Angeles,” which urges the city to take steps that would make L.A. a better place for young people to thrive and mature into successful adults. Accompanying the report is the first comprehensive online map charting all of the city’s youth programs.
The city has long put a premium on developing the next generation, spending nearly $180 million to fund 160-plus youth programs last year alone. But there is no master plan and no single department, office or commission in charge of youth initiatives, Galperin said. Twenty-six different departments run the programs separately, leaving the city’s youth strategy without a cohesive vision or common goals.
“Challenges like poverty, homelessness, domestic violence and other social and economic concerns take a toll on too many of our youth,” Galperin added. “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.”
Los Angeles formerly had a youth strategy manager and a commission to coordinate youth initiatives, both of which were cut during the recession. Since then, the process has been decentralized, something the City Council recently began working to change. Galperin’s report complements those efforts and offers specific steps to ensure the city’s youth services meet the needs of people in all of L.A.’s diverse communities.
Galperin’s report proposes a framework for youth success that would designate a city department or other official body responsible for overseeing youth programs. It also calls for the use of demographic, wellness and achievement data to identify where city youth programming is falling short.
Additionally, Galperin called for developing a master plan that establishes citywide goals and seeks partnerships with outside stakeholders to get more youth involved in programs. It would also create a reporting platform to allow policymakers and the public to track the well-being of L.A.’s youth.
“There is no better investment we can make than in the future of our children,” said Councilman David Ryu, 4th District, chair of the council’s Health, Education, Neighborhoods, Arts, Parks, River and Entertainment Committee. “Their future is our future, and whether it’s a children’s savings account program or quality libraries and playgrounds, we need to be doing all we can to ensure that Los Angeles’ children grow up supported, empowered and ready to take on the world.”
Galperin’s release includes the city’s first online map tracking the youth programs currently offered in Los Angeles. Users can search by address or click on the points to reveal information about each program, where it is located and which department oversees it. The map is part of Galperin’s ongoing efforts to use data, technology and innovation to connect the public with resources and services offered by the city. His previous maps covered resources for LGBTQ youth, tax prep, affordable housing incentives, domestic violence assistance and more.
For information, visit lacontroller.org/youthprogramsreport.
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