Poughkeepsie, NY … In anticipation of his 2021 Executive Budget presentation on Wednesday, Oct. 28th, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced his budget proposal will continue funding for many of the successful programs that have benefited the County’s young people in recent years, while expanding the scope of youth services with several new initiatives.
Reaffirming his commitment of as much as $25 million to build a youth opportunity center in the City of Poughkeepsie on the site of the former YMCA, a partnership between the County, the City and a coalition of community agencies, County Executive Molinaro said his 2021 Executive Budget will increase funding for additional youth services, including the County’s innovative “Path to Promise” (P2P) initiative, which strives to provide all youth ages 0-19 the necessary assets to become successful young adults.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Never has it been more critical to care for the needs of Dutchess County’s young people, with their personal lives, education experience and ability to just be a kid having been turned upside down! My 2021 Executive Budget increases opportunities for our kids, offering our new programming and initiatives to bolster their development in so many ways – physically, mentally, educationally – while improving their safety and their ability to succeed.”
In addition to a 40-percent increase in the budget for “Path to Promise,” which will expand grants to community partners, broadening the reach of this critical initiative, County Executive Molinaro’s 2021 Executive Budget includes new initiatives pertaining to youth services, including:
- The latest expansion of the P2P initiative is the launch of a website, which will provide young people and families the ability to locate available services based on any number of criteria (service category, age, location). In subsequent phases, the County will utilize the website to track and analyze data related to the six P2P domains – Learning, Material Basics, Safety, Physical Health, Mental Health, Family/Social Relationships – and other performance indicators, allowing the County to make informed decisions about funding current and future programs. The County will continue its engagement with local school districts to procure similar aggregate student data to measure success.
- To complement the aforementioned website, a P2P digital hub – a partnership with The Art Effect, consisting of an additional website and accompanying social media account – will help youth continue the conversation by using this digital space to receive positive messages from their peers; learn about local resources, including internship and job opportunities; and share their voice and artwork to support each other. Young people were hired to work on this project and engage with their peers, embodying the P2P motto: Nothing About Me Without Me.
- Through a collaboration between the County and a community partner, vulnerable young people will receive the opportunity to enjoy nature in a rural setting through a unique camp experience that will offer them mentors to bolster their personal development, athletic ability and self-sufficiency.
- Continuing its efforts to provide community-based alternatives to out-of-home care for young people identified at high risk of entering the juvenile justice system, the County will employ the nationally recognized Youth Advocate Program to keep these youth safely in their homes. This program offers significant savings for taxpayers, but even more importantly, provides these children and their families with intensive services in their homes and community, including case management, crisis intervention services available 24/7 and other supports. The program utilizes best practices and core principles found in mentoring, restorative justice and positive youth development.
- The nationally recognized, evidence-based Ready4K! family engagement curriculum provides families with daily text messages that include facts and easy tips on how to promote their children’s development by building on existing family routines, and the County will begin a pilot program to provide this service to parents seeking to support their children’s literacy development.
County Executive Molinaro’s 2021 Executive Budget will be released on Wednesday, Oct. 28th on the Dutchess County Government website, where residents will find his full budget message and documents. More information about existing youth services programs is available on the Division of Youth Services’ webpage.