LOS ANGELES – City council on Tuesday unanimously voted to create a youth development department to centralize the city’s response to the high number of young people living in poverty and arrested in Los Angeles.
City Councilor Monica Rodriguez, who co-presented the motion to create the department, said the council “is making history with the creation of the city’s first youth development department that will help respond and uplift the needs of over 800,000 young people in the city and young adults, who are desperately emerging from this pandemic, will continue to need more resources and access to support programs which are currently very difficult for them to cope with. ‘access and identify.
The city’s youth programs are currently spread across 26 departments without a centralized approach, and in February Rodriguez, along with City Councilor Kevin de Leon and City Councilor Nithya Raman, introduced a motion to create a 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 obsolete preservation of unmeasured programs.”
“For 50 years, youth development work has functioned as an affiliate of other initiatives. Intervention strategies should not start with entanglements with law enforcement, greater investments in various early prevention efforts are desperately needed, ”the motion said. “Systemic reforms are needed with a particular focus on young people between the ages of 10 and 25, a population that has been overlooked in strategic investments and programs. “
The department will serve as a central clearinghouse for the public to access youth services in Los Angeles. It will also develop a roadmap for long-term planning of youth programs; coordinate with municipal services to develop a city-wide three-year strategic youth development plan; advising the mayor and city council on the city’s youth program to ensure efficient use of city resources and the best return on investment; and provide the necessary staff for the Olivia Mitchell Youth Council.
Of the 800,000 young people aged 10 to 25 in Los Angeles, 200,000 live in poverty and 3,000 are homeless, according to the motion.
According to Rodriguez’s office, people between the ages of 10 and 25 also accounted for 32% of arrests over the past 10 years.
“The greatest gains in public safety are achieved when we invest in people and we need to act urgently,” Rodriguez said in February. “Investments in youth must be commensurate with our investments in law enforcement. A centralized youth development department focused on enrichment programs and vocational training as an early intervention strategy will provide our economically most disadvantaged neighborhoods with better access to resources that were desperately needed before the pandemic, but worsened. by school disruptions and job loss.