Institute for Youth, Education and Families

The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families is the go-to place for city leaders seeking to improve outcomes for children and families. With expertise in early childhood success, education & expanded learning, promoting a culture of health, youth & young adult connections, and economic opportunity & financial empowerment, the YEF Institute reaches cities of all sizes and brings together local leaders to develop strategies via technical assistance projects, peer learning networks, leadership academies, and Mayors’ Institutes.

Featured Opportunity: Healthy Housing City Leaders’ Forum

With the generous support of The JPB Foundation, NLC invites city leaders and their teams to participate in an 18-month technical assistance initiative on improving housing quality and health. NLC will support cities in implementing existing policies, programs, and practices in this field. City teams will participate in peer-learning sessions and receive intensive technical assistance from NLC staff and subject matter experts to develop and implement local action plans.

 

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Featured Resource: Mental Illness, Substance Use, and Homelessness

Mental Illness, Substance Use, and Homelessness: Advancing Coordinated Solutions Through Local Leadership

Mental illness, substance use disorder, and homelessness affect millions of people across the nation and pose significant, interconnected challenges for cities.  Local leaders play a key role in ensuring individuals receive appropriate and timely treatment and services. 

With support from Arnold Ventures, NLC is exploring city-level approaches and practices surrounding emergency response and crisis stabilization for individuals suffering from mental illness, substance use disorder, and/or homelessness. This is the first in a series of issue briefs examining city-level approaches to emergency response and crisis stabilization.

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Education and Expanded Learning

A skilled and educated workforce is increasingly vital to a community’s economic vitality. Even when city officials do not play a direct role in governing their school systems, there are numerous ways in which they can exercise leadership to support public schools, expand alternatives for students who struggle in traditional educational settings, increase high school graduation rates, and promote college access and completion.  

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Health and Wellness

Mayors and city leaders play a pivotal role in the overall health and well-being of the cities and towns they serve. With generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families at the National League of Cities (NLC) is leading an effort to educate, train and build the capacity of city leaders to address the social determinants of health and improve health outcomes where individuals live, learn, work and play.  From seeding promising practices and innovative approaches to leading cross-sector initiatives, NLC will engage mayors and city leaders in problem-solving sessions, trainings and peer-learning networks to ensure health is a key factor in their decisions across a range of issues, including education, early childhood, housing, land use, transportation and community development.

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Youth & Young Adult Connections

NLC supports and informs city leaders and stakeholders interested in improving public safety and reforming the juvenile justice system. We also provide peer learning and support to the growing number of citywide programs reconnecting young people to school.

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Early Childhood Success

Research shows a critical period of child development is birth to age 8, not just physiologically, but also cognitively, emotionally, and socially, setting the basis for future health and wellbeing. Children are cities’ future and city leaders are well positioned to champion the needs of young children and families. NLC is working with city leaders to align early childhood systems, improve quality and access, ensure every child enters school ready to learn, and ultimately reaches their full potential.

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Economic Opportunity and Financial Empowerment

City leaders can help families and neighborhoods become more economically secure by connecting children and families to public benefits and helping families learn financial skills, save for emergencies and the future and invest in assets that generate wealth and income.

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Strong Southern Communities Initiative (SSCI)

The Strong Southern Communities Initiative is designed to provide practical help and advice to municipal leaders in Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. It brings together local elected officials from across the region who want to improve outcomes for children and families, enabling them to share ideas and discuss the challenges facing their communities.

In addition, SSCI helps participating mayors and city councilmembers develop local action plans based on their unique circumstances and needs, and then connects city leaders to national experts and regional partners who can help them implement those plans.

Click here to read more about the Strong Southern Communities Initiative and sign the pledge form.

Authentic Youth Civic Engagement

One of the basics of ensuring your city is meeting the needs of its young people is to actively and authentically engage your local youth in the process. This set of youth engagement tools will help city leaders start or expand these efforts locally.

Authentic youth civic engagement provides young people meaningful opportunities to contribute their experiences, knowledge and solutions to city issues.

The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has developed a new set of resources elected officials from cities, towns and villages of any size can use to establish meaningful connections with the youth of their communities.

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