The Children, Youth & Families Collaborative Commission
The Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission’s charge is to develop the City’s first Children and Youth Master Plan. On March 12, 2014, the Commission approved the Master Plan, developed with the support of a 35-member Design Team. It articulates a vision for the well-being of children and youth in the community and serves as the basis for the coordination, alignment and delivery of effective services for children, youth and their families. The next step involves presentations on the Plan to the City Council and School Board, which will be followed by a joint meeting of the two bodies (date, to be announced), and the scheduling of a public hearing prior to the Plan’s adoption by City Council.
History and Background
The City Council established the Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission in June 2011, replacing the Early Childhood Commission and the Youth Policy Commission. The mission of the Children, Youth & Families Collaborative Commission (CYFCC) is to advocate for Alexandria's children and youth (prenatal to 21 years of age) and their families by advising the City Council, the School Board, and City and school staff on policies that affect children, youth and their families; promoting the coordination, alignment and effectiveness of services provided to children, youth and their families by the City, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) and private organizations; and studying and promoting research and best practices. Its functions and duties are to:
- submit to City Council a vision for the well-being of children, youth and families in the City
- publish an annual report that includes a plan of action to carry out the Commission's vision for children, youth and families; an analysis of the outcome of children, youth and family programs and services; and recommendations for City funding for children, youth and family programs and services
- assess progress toward meeting the Commission's vision and plan of action
It is the intent of the City Council and School Board that any entity receiving City funding or using other City resources (including staff support or in-kind City space) will collaborate and coordinate with CYFCC in the development and implementation of a comprehensive, citywide youth development agenda.
CYFCC is comprised of 29 community leaders and key staff of the City of Alexandria and Alexandria City Public Schools – 25 voting members and four non-voting members. Seventeen of the voting members are residents, four are city staff members, and four are staff members of Alexandria City Public Schools; the term of service is three years. In addition, CYFCC has seven committees comprised of commission members who serve as leaders and officers of each committee, and members of the community at large with a demonstrated interest in issues involving children, youth and families. The committees are the Executive Committee; Advocacy and Policy Committee; Finance and Grants Committee; Outreach and Membership Committee; Research and Data Committee; Implementation and Monitoring Committee; and Youth Council. Those wishing to serve on a CYFCC committee should submit an application.
Development of the Children and Youth Master Plan
The merger of youth-serving commissions is just one tribute to a longstanding commitment by the City to ensure all children thrive. Youth-serving departments were merged and roughly one-third (1/3) of the City's General Funds is allocated to youth services and programming. The City of Alexandria has been honored five times by America's Promise as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People. The next horizon is the development of a youth master plan, a process that will document the needs of the City's youth, prioritize objectives, and devise strategies.
The children and youth master plan sets long-term, community-wide priorities for young people as well as identify specific action steps. The goal is to ensure that all children and youth are healthy and safe, academically and vocationally prepared, and socially and civically connected. This required the input of diverse sectors of the community. All residents and stakeholders were encouraged to participate in the plan development process, including youth, parents and non-parents, youth-serving professionals, businesses, community groups and faith-based organizations.
After a competitive bidding process, the Forum for Youth Investment was selected as the consultant to guide the children and youth master plan process. The Forum's expertise in youth development and experience with youth master plans is summarized in its Annual Report. The September 2012 CYFCC meeting featured a presentation by Forum that was an overview of the processes and strategies that will be used to formulate a youth master plan for the City of Alexandria. An update of the planning process was presented at the May 2013 CYFCC meeting.
Thirty-five community leaders serve as the Design Team, which leads the development of the youth master plan. Three community forums afforded residents of all ages and all walks of life the opportunity to share their thoughts on the content and priorities of the youth master plan. Press coverage of the forums includes:
An overview of the forums summarizes community representation, the indicators selected by those in attendance as those most critical to youth well-being, and emerging themes. Forums for middle and high school students of Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) were held in May. An overview for each forum is listed below:
George Washington Middle School 6th Graders Francis C. Hammond Middle School 6th Graders
George Washington Middle School 7th Graders Francis C. Hammond Middle School 7th Graders
George Washington Middle School 8th Graders Francis C. Hammond Middle School 8th Graders
Interim Education High School Ist Session Interim Education High School 2nd Session
Interim Education Middle School Session
In addition, a summary profiles the findings of the forums.
Draft Plan and Related Documents
CYFCC Agendas & Meeting Notes
Strategic Plans & Other Resources