LA launches its first youth development division – Daily News



LOS ANGELES – The city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to establish a youth development department to centralize the city’s response to the high numbers of young people living in poverty who are being arrested in Los Angeles.

Councilor Monica Rodriguez, who proposed to establish the department, said the council “made history in creating the city’s first youth development department that will help meet the needs of the city’s more than 800,000 young people to promote”. City and young adults desperate 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 city’s youth programs are currently spread across 26 departments without a centralized approach, and in February Rodriguez, along with Alderman Kevin de Leon and Alderman Nithya Raman, applied for a department to focus all of their resources on young Angelenos, and said: they “deserve government structured and designed to meet their needs, informed by their voice, and not the antiquated preservation of unreasonable programs.”

“For 50 years, youth work has acted as a subsidiary work of other initiatives. Intervention strategies should not begin when the law enforcement is involved, greater investments in various early prevention efforts are urgently required, ”the application said. “Systemic reforms are needed with a particular focus on youth ages 10-25, a population that has been overlooked in strategic investments and programs.”

The department will serve as a central information center for the public to access youth services in Los Angeles. It will also develop a roadmap for the long-term planning of youth programs; Coordinate with city departments to develop a city-wide three-year strategy plan for youth development; advise the mayor and the city council on the city youth program to ensure efficient use of city resources and the greatest possible return on their investments; and providing the necessary staff for the Olivia Mitchell Youth Council.

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, the application said.

According to Rodriguez’s office, people between 10 and 25 also accounted for 32% of arrests over the past 10 years.

“The greatest gains in public safety come when we invest in people and we need to act urgently,” Rodriguez said in February. “Investing in youth must match our investing in law enforcement. A centralized youth development department focused on enrichment programs and vocational training as an early intervention strategy will give our most economically deprived neighborhoods better access to resources that were badly needed before the pandemic but have been exacerbated by academic interruptions and job losses. “



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