County Council unanimously approves new priorities for assisting children and youth

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rod Dembowski
The Metropolitan King County Council gave its unanimous support to the Youth Action Plan (YAP), a new set of priorities that will guide and inform the County's annual investment in programs and services for children and youth, from infants to 24-year olds.

“Kids should be empowered to achieve their full potential, not be held back by circumstances out of their control,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who sponsored the legislation calling for the creation of a Youth Action Plan. 
“The Youth Action Plan represents the best thinking of children and youth advocates countywide to ensure that all kids in King County can achieve their full potential. The plan provides a blueprint to reform how we invest in kids at King County, and lights the path for potential new investments of resources to achieve the plan's vision for our kids.”  
The Council initiated the development of the YAP, with the goal of ensuring that King County’s Strategic Plan objective to “promote opportunities for all communities and individuals to realize their full potential,” is applied to the County’s children and youth and reflected across all County departments, programs, and initiatives. The goal of the YAP is to set the County’s priorities for an accountable, integrated delivery system of services to achieve the best outcomes for children, families, youth and young adults.

Development of the YAP was completed by an appointed task force of twenty-five experts representing a broad range of organizations and entities with substantial expertise and knowledge relevant to children and youth. Community input was collected through five community conversations held across the county, and through a survey of more than 1,000 youth. The nine recommendations contained in the YAP are the culmination of the task force’s work over the last year.

The recommendations in the Plan include:

  • Apply social justice and equity principles to our children and youth policies
  • Strengthen and stabilize families, children, youth, and young adults
  • Stop the School to Prison Pipeline
  • Break down barriers between government, non-profits, and other providers of services
  • Use data to measure program efficacy and to make investment decisions
  • Invest early, invest often, and invest in outcomes
  • Increase accountability and oversight 

As noted in Executive Constantine’s 2014 budget address, the Youth Action Plan inspired the discussion and development of a potential funding mechanism known as Best Starts for Kids (BSK). The visions of the YAP and BSK are aligned, and the YAP’s recommendations provide the guidance and framework for addressing the allocation of additional revenue.

“The Youth Action Plan is a central feature of Best Starts for Kids, which is why I'm so pleased by the Council’s unanimous support,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We are focused on what works—a scientific, evidence-based approach. The Youth Action Plan sets the direction. Best Starts for Kids, our six-year levy, will make it possible to fulfill that promise.”


Anonymous,  June 19, 2015 at 12:24 AM  

You want to stop the school to prison pipeline? Stop building more prisons/jails (ahem, Shoreline) and divert those funds to the parks/rec program. Spend what is needed to upgrade the current jail site and use unused space at city hall for much needed social services to accommodate this growth they keep claiming is imminent. This will preserve jobs and small businesses adjacent to City Hall.

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