A Safe Place for Kids to Meet After School, on Saturdays, and Even in Summer

Development of a strategic plan to ensure effective programs and services for youth

In 1998–1999, the Children and Youth Investment Partnership, Washington, increased the scale, scope, and effectiveness of non-school-hour services for youth and children living in Washington.

The Children and Youth Investment Partnership is a coalition of public and private-sector representatives of the city's youth, parents, District of Columbia and federal agencies, public schools, civic groups, service providers, funders, colleges and universities, and community leaders. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for children in Washington.

The Research Forum at the National Center for Children in Poverty has issued a report on the partnership.

Its parent organization, D.C. Agenda Support Corporation, which was the grant recipient, was a city-sponsored organization that fosters consensus among public and private interests about strategies to overcome problems facing the District. It ceased operations in 2004. Information on children in the District of Columbia is now available online.

The partnership's planning effort was initiated in response to a 1997 state-by-state study (conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation) that ranked the District of Columbia as the worst in 8 of 10 health, social, educational and "community attachment" indicators for children.

Key Results: Results of the project included:

  • D.C. Agenda Support Corporation established the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, a tax-exempt entity that will serve as the coordinating and administrative entity for the partnership and administer a Children and Youth Investment Fund, drawn from public and private sources, to finance a variety of youth development initiatives.
  • In April 1999, the partnership won a three-year, $4 million, U.S. Department Education grant, to be matched by $6 million from the District government, to create "21st Century Learning Centers." These centers would operate after-school, on Saturdays, and during the summer months in ten middle and junior high schools throughout the city.
  • The centers would enable students and adults to work to improve their reading, math, and computer skills, and to participate in the arts and in a fitness activity. A wellness component is planned to address substance abuse, violence prevention, pregnancy prevention, and to offer social support and career exploration.
  • The partnership formed an Alignment and Linkages Design Team, set up through an exchange with the Superintendent of D.C. Public Schools. It prepared: A Strategy Paper: Aligning and Linking Out-of-School-Time Programs with the D.C. Public Schools Academic Reform Agenda.
  • Following the grant period, this document was the subject of briefings on the partnership project to principals and members of the D.C. Public Schools administration.
  • The partnership conducted a series of informational "Youth Development Forums" with coalition members on out-of-school-time programs. Forum topics included the philosophy of youth development, what non-school-hour efforts are needed, available federal resources, available models nationally, and regulations and standards applying to them.
  • In 1999, the partnership issued a report from the forum: A Summary Report of Neighborhood and City Wide Focus Groups on the Out-of-School Needs of the District's Children and Youth.
  • The partnership convened a citywide forum on January 28, 1999 that announced findings of a series of 36 focus groups held with young people, parents, service providers, employers, community leaders, teachers, and principals on the subject of non-school-hour services.
  • A total of 175 policymakers, program managers, and neighborhood and civic leaders attended the forum.
  • A citywide report on the focus group findings was issued in February 1999.
  • The partnership and the D.C. public school system compiled a database of non-school-hour services currently available at 146 public schools.
  • The partnership published a Catalog of Youth Services Directories.
  • The partnership disseminated information on its project through a weekly column and summaries of project-related events, both in D.C. Agenda Support Corporation's "Monday FAX", a publication reaching 270–400 individuals and agencies weekly.