LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles City Council voted today to confirm that Lisa Salazar, acting executive director of the city’s new Department of Youth Development, will remain in the position on a permanent basis.
The council voted unanimously on June 29 to create the Department of Youth Development to centralize the city’s response to the high number of young people living in poverty and arrested in Los Angeles.
Salazar, who previously served as Mayor Eric Garcetti’s director of workforce development and economic opportunities, became the department’s acting executive director in July.
‘She has already proven herself to be an agent of change for our youth through her work with the Mayor’s office, where she previously worked with over $50 million in grants. In her current role, she’s already managed to fully staff her department, which is no small task,’ Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez said, noting staffing issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.
Rodriguez co-introduced the motion to create the department in 2021.
The city’s youth programs had previously been spread across 26 departments with no centralized approach, and in February Rodriguez, along with Councilman Kevin de Leon and Councilwoman Nithya Raman, introduced a motion to create one department to focus all of its resources. on young Angelenos, saying they “deserve a government structured and designed to meet their needs informed by their voice, not the antiquated preservation of unmeasured programs”.
Rodriguez, during his efforts to create the department, said the department will ‘help meet and meet the needs of the city’s more than 800,000 youth and young adults, who are emerging desperately from this pandemic will continue to need more resources and access to support programs that are currently very difficult for them to access and identify.”
The department serves as a central information hub for the public to access youth services in Los Angeles.
He is also responsible for developing a roadmap for long-term youth program planning, coordinating with city departments to develop a three-year citywide strategic youth development plan, advising the mayor and council on the city’s youth program to ensure effective use of the city. resources and the best return on investment, and provide the necessary staff for the Olivia Mitchell Youth Council, which the council voted in May to create.
Olivia Mitchell’s Youth Council will resemble the Youth Advisory Council that former Mayor Tom Bradley established in 1974 and is named after Mitchell, who oversaw that council.
Rodriguez added Wednesday that Salazar, as the department’s acting executive director, had “already sought and obtained” public funds to create the Olivia Mitchell Youth Council.
Salazar addressed the city council ahead of Wednesday’s confirmation vote, which passed 13-0, and spoke about the needs of young people in Los Angeles.
“Over the past few months, I have spoken with hundreds of young people and over 50 community organizations, business leaders, education officials,” she said.
‘And what I learned is not new to you, but I want to repeat it, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on young people, and in my conversations with young people across the city, I learned that they want what we all want. They want (and) deserve (to) feel safe, to belong, to have a seat at the decision-making tables, to have a good education, well-paying jobs with opportunities for growth, to develop their leadership skills.
“They want places and programs that allow them to connect with their peers and share their experiences. Most importantly, they want to feel safe in their communities and they want mental health services,” Salazar said.
“I believe we have the resources. I believe we have the leadership and the political will, and I believe we can do better.” Of the 800,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 25 in Los Angeles, 200,000 live in poverty and 3,000 are homeless , according to the motion introduced in February that sought to create the new department.
According to Rodriguez’s office, people between the ages of 10 and 25 also accounted for 32% of arrests over the past 10 years.