Staten Island, NY – As summer break approaches, tens of thousands of low-income public school students and their families are relying on Summer Youth Programs to keep them safe, fed, and positively engaged. However, $20 million in funding for Summer Youth Programs serving at least 34,000 middle school students was excluded entirely or in part from the preliminary budgets in Fiscal Years 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016 with funding restored each time by the City Council in the Executive Budget. Legislation co-authored by Youth Service Chair Debi Rose and Council Member Ben Kallos would eliminate proposed budget cuts and mandate Universal Summer Youth Programs.
“Year after year, our summer youth programs are not funded until we come to a final budget agreement in June, leaving parents and providers in a shadow of uncertainty,” said Youth Services Committee Chair Debi Rose. “Summer program are invaluable experiences that build self-esteem, social skills, leadership skills and friendships in a safe, constructive environment. They also help curb summer learning loss, which disproportionately affects students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is time we build on our successes with early childhood education in the city and give all students seeking a spot in a summer program the opportunity to participate. I am grateful to partner with Council Member Ben Kallos on this legislation, and I look forward to building support from across the Council to pass this bill and make an investment in our future city.”
“Our children need us to take care of them, whether after school or during summer break it doesn’t matter, these children need access to healthy food, enrichment, and positive engagement,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Every year summer youth programs go unfunded in the Mayor’s proposed budget and every year Youth Service Chair Debi Rose leads the way to restore that funding to serve more than 34,000 children. This Universal Summer Youth Programs legislation will finally put an end to the budget dance and put our city on a path to guarantee every child a place to enjoy their summer.”
Currently, New York City offers summer components through the COMPASS (Comprehensive After School System of NYC) and SONYC (Schools Out NYC) after-school programs. These programs are administered by community-based organizations under contract with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). While Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has grown from 29,416 and $8.6 million in funding in 2013 prior to de Blasio, to 35,957 and $15 million in funding in 2014 the first year of de Blasio’s administration and more than doubling to 74,453 and $32 million in funding as of 2020, it only serves youth ages 14 to 24. Summer Youth Programs serve children age 5 to 13 who are not eligible for SYEP as well as serving youth 14 and older (through age 21 who are still in school) for whom employment is not desired or not appropriate.
The Universal Summer Youth Programs legislation follows a January hearing on Universal After School legislation chaired by Youth Services Chair Debi Rose who also authored that legislation along with Council Members Ben Kallos and Mark Treyger.
The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) funded programs provided a variety of educational, social, cultural, recreational, and employment-related opportunities to 337,599 New York City youth according to the 2019 Mayor’s Management Report. The majority of youth were served through one of four program areas in the DYCD portfolio: COMPASS NYC (122,390), Summer Youth Employment Program (74,354), Beacon (74,142), and Cornerstone (25,831).
By Council Members Rose and Kallos
A LOCAL LAW
To amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to a universal summer youth program plan
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section l. Chapter 4 of title 21 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 21-414 to read as follows:
§ 21-414 Universal summer youth program plan.
a. Definitions. For the purposes of this section. the following terms have the following meanings
Department. The term "department" means the department of youth and community development.
School. The term "school" means a school of the city school district of the city of New York.
Youth. The term ''youth" means any person under I8 years of age or under 21 years of age who does not have a high school diploma and who is enrolled in a school as school is defined in this subdivision.
Summer youth program. The term "summer youth program'' means any organized program, under the jurisdiction of either the department, the department of education or the department of parks and recreation that occurs during the months of July and August, which allows youths to participate in expanded learning activities that include, but are not limited to academic support, arts and cultural enrichment, recreation, sports, nutrition, youth development and mentoring.
b. Subject to appropriation, no later than September 1, 202l, the department, in consultation with the department of education the department of parks and recreation and any relevant city agency, shall make a summer youth program slot available for any youth who requests one.
§ 2. Universal summer youth program reporting.
a. No later than September l, 2020, and annually thereafter on or before September 1, the department of youth and community development, in consultation with the department of education, the department of parks and recreation and any relevant city agency, shall submit to the mayor and speaker of the council, conspicuously post to its website and make available to youths and parents, a report detailing the implementation efforts to be undertaken by the city to achieve universal summer youth programs pursuant to section 21-414 of the administrative code of the city of New York. Such report shall include, but need not be limited to:
l. An assessment of how many summer youth programs are needed to achieve universal summer youth programs;
2. The availability and cost of creating additional capacity within existing summer youth programs and how many new summer youth programs need to be created and the cost associated with creating such programs;
3. Current methods used by the department of youth and community development, the department of education and the department of parks and recreation to make youths and parents aware of summer youth programs;
4. The number and percentage of youths, disaggregated by borough, taking part in a summer youth programs as compared with the preceding calendar year;
5. To the extent such information is available, the demographics information for youths in each after summer youth program including, but not limited to age, race, ethnicity, gender, and family income as compared with the preceding calendar year,
6. Steps the department of youth and community development, the department of education, and the department of parks and recreation are taking to increase enrollment in existing summer youth programs;
7. Implementation deadlines to be achieved in establishing universal summer youth programs; and
8. Any other issues related to summer youth program capacity and participation rates in the city that the department of youth and community development, the department of education and the department of parks and recreation deem appropriate.
b. Beginning with the second report required pursuant to subdivision a of this section and for every report thereafter, the department of youth and community development, in consultation with the department of education, the department of parks and recreation and any relevant city agency, shall incorporate progress made in achieving implementation deadlines required pursuant to paragraph seven of subdivision a of this section. If implementation deadlines are not able to be met in any given year, the department of youth and community development shall detail why the implementation deadline will not be met and identify remedial steps the department will take to achieve the implementation timeframe in subsequent years.
c. Upon implementation of universal after school pursuant to section 21-410 of the administrative code of the city of New York, the department of youth and community development, in consultation with the department of education the department of parks and recreation and any relevant city agency, shall certify to the mayor and the speaker of the council that a summer youth program slot is available for all youths.
§ 3. This local law takes effect immediately, except that section two of this local law is deemed repealed at the conclusion of the final calendar year during which the department of youth and community development, in consultation with the department of education, the department of parks and recreation and any relevant city agency, has certified to the mayor and speaker of the council that a summer youth program slot is available for all youth.