A City Platform for Children and Families - Resources to Support Your Local Efforts

  • Opportunities to Learn and Grow
  • A Safe Neighborhood to Call Home
  • A Healthy Lifestyle and Environment
  • A Financially Fit Family in Which to Thrive
The Institute provides city officials with direct access to effective strategies and innovative local approaches for strengthening families and improving outcomes for children and youth, as well as networking opportunities that promote cross-city peer learning and exchange. The following resources are available to municipal officials, and more information can be found on the YEF Institute page of the NLC website at www.nlc.org/iyef. 

The State of City Leadership for Children and Families Report

This YEF Institute report highlights innovations and emerging and established trends in municipal leadership to help children and families thrive.  Local officials can learn about cutting-edge strategies and widespread practices in the areas of early childhood, education, afterschool, youth in transition, violence prevention, family economic success, community wellness, youth civic engagement, and local "infrastructure" for children, youth and families.  The first volume of this report was published in October 2009.  Future volumes will be available on the NLC website.

Action Kits for Municipal Leaders

Not sure how to get started on a specific issue?  The Institute's signature series of action kits offers a menu of action steps that municipal leaders can consider, and provides city examples and other informational resources to guide local efforts. Additional reports, strategy guides, toolkits, and other publications draw upon lessons and experiences from cities across the nation that have made strong efforts to improve the lives of children, youth, and families.

Peer Networks

Municipal officials can join one of the YEF Institute's issue networks that help them stay connected to their peers in other communities and share information on progress, pitfalls, and lessons learned. Peer networks and learning communities focus on education, afterschool, disconnected youth, early childhood success, youth participation, family economic success, community wellness, and other topics.  Network members interact and exchange ideas through online communities, regular conference calls, periodic e-newsletters, and face-to-face convenings at NLC conferences.

Technical Assistance

NLC staff are standing by at any time to assist city officials in developing and implementing strategies and to answer questions on specific topics. In addition, the YEF Institute periodically sponsors technical assistance projects that enable municipal leaders in selected communities to receive in-depth help and support over a longer period of time.

Leadership Academies and Training Sessions

These intensive learning opportunities enable local elected officials and staff from cities and towns of all sizes to acquire a deeper understanding of key issues in a specific program area, offering exposure to new research and the most innovative developments in the field. Invitations to apply for these events are typically extended to all NLC member cities and participants are selected on a competitive basis.

Mayors' Institute on Children and Families

The YEF Institute's newest form of assistance to city leaders brings together mayors from larger cities for intensive problem-solving sessions with a carefully chosen faculty composed of local practitioners and academic experts. Peer learning and cross-city support within the Mayors' Institute model ensures a strong focus on practical solutions that can developed and implemented immediately with continuing assistance from NLC staff.

National Summit on Your City's Families

The biennial National Summit on Your City's Families is the nation's largest gathering of municipal leaders and their school and community partners working to improve the lives of children, youth and families. Now held in conjunction with NLC's annual Congress of Cities, each summit focuses on best practices and cutting-edge city innovations that can guide and inspire local officials throughout the country.  


The YEF Institute's monthly series of free, hour-long webinars allows participants to listen to lively discussions between Institute staff, national policy experts, and city officials on best practices and key opportunities for municipal leadership on behalf of children, youth, and families.