National Youth Groups Unveil Agenda

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The National Collaboration for Youth (NCY) last month released a legislative agenda that its members have committed themselves to pushing in the next Congress and the next presidential administration.

“It is not a Chinese menu of choices,” says Irv Katz, president of the National Assembly for Human Services, the parent organization for NCY. “It is a platform of actions that should be taken in tandem.”

The agenda includes some recommendations affecting all fields of youth work, such as reauthorization of the Federal Youth Coordination Act and passage of a bill (the Child Protection Improvements Act of 2008) that would allow youth-serving programs to cross-check volunteers with the FBI fingerprint database.

Other sections of the agenda were developed by experts in various subjects at NCY’s member organizations. Among the recommendations that deal with specific areas of youth work:

Early Childhood: Expand the Early Head Start program.

Juvenile Justice: Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, using the version passed this summer by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Child Welfare: Enact the Kinship Caregivers Support Act, which would increase resources for grandparents and other relatives willing to serve as foster or adoptive parents.

Health: Allow states to use Title II funds from the Department of Education to provide professional development for health and physical education teachers, particularly on the subject of childhood obesity.

Runaway/Homeless Youth: Create a pilot program at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund emergency shelters for older teens and young adults.

NCY is asking its members, many of whom have staffers working on public policy, to promote the agenda as a comprehensive plan when they visit policy-makers. The 49 organizational members listed on its website include YMCA of the USA, National Network for Youth, National 4-H Council and the Boy Scouts of America.

“We have people. We don’t have money,” Katz says of NCY, which uses one National Assembly staff member to coordinate its agenda. “We really play that role of coordinating strategy.”

View the agenda at: