FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Tuesday, Jun 07, 2016
City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421
Media ReleasesContact(s): Jennifer Godwin | (o) 501 371 4421 | (c) 501 804 4822
Community Programs Releases Youth Master Plan
15-Month Process Results in Guiding Document for PIT Funds
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 7, 2016) – Children and families in Little Rock deserve an environment where they can thrive and achieve a meaningful quality of life. That sentiment forms the basis for the Youth Master Plan released today following a 15-month process led by the City’s Department of Community Programs.
With five major goals to be carried out over the course of the next three years, the plan re-envisions how Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment funding is used to meet the needs of the most underserved children, youth, and families in Little Rock, serving as a guide for Community Programs to work with other City departments, organizations, programs, and the community to deliver resources and services. Additionally, the plan looks to increase quality and accountability for PIT.
“We realized it was time to re-evaluate how these programs were meeting the evolving needs of our community,” City Manager Bruce T. Moore. “Over the past year and a half, we’ve been able to bring together national experts, community leaders, and residents to develop an approach that builds on the past 22 years of work in this area while also being very forward-thinking.”
The systemic changes included in the Master Plan will help PIT meet basic needs by determining who needs what and where, and allowing information to drive and coordinate services, enhance program quality, ensure programs meet desired outcomes, and improve outreach and engage children, youth and families.
“It is our hope that we can address several outcomes for the youth of Little Rock,” Community Programs Director Dana Dossett said. “This includes everything from improved health and academic skills to emotional well-being and career readiness. Our focus is on creating an environment that gives children the opportunity to flourish.”
Part of that environment will be shaped by the children themselves, Dossett added.
“They have the biggest stake in this, so it makes sense they would have a voice in the direction of these programs,” she said.
The plan has been months in the making. Between February 2015 and June, the Department of Community Programs and its consultant team Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC; Joseph Jones, formerly of Philander Smith College’s Social Justice Institute; and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation engaged in a multi-pronged approach to develop the plan. A 10-person advisory committee helped steer the process and made recommendations based on continual community conversations, interviews, youth data, and research into best practices from around the country.
The plan recommends five goals that will bring the community together toward reaching the City’s broad vision for children, youth, and families. Those are:
1. Using data to identify and prioritize services that fulfill the unmet needs of Little Rock children and youth.
2. Increasing program quality and accountability
3. Enhancing communication to and with the community about services and programs
4. Developing employability skills so that youth are prepared to work, and Little Rock has a strong future workforce
5. Placing a priority on children and youth, and integrating youth voice in decision-making
The plan, once approved by the City Board of Directors, will be implemented in phases over the next few months.
By December, an analysis will be conducted to determine gaps, assets, capacity, and environmental factors within the Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment system. Community Programs will prepare programs applying for PIT funding for changes through a series of informational sessions and trainings in the fall, with system changes to starting in January 2017.
More information can be found at http://littlerock.gov/citydepartments/communityprograms/youthmasterplan.aspx