In every city and town, many stakeholders share responsibility for the safety, well-being, and healthy development of young people. School districts typically take the lead on education. City parks and recreation departments and nonprofit organizations provide afterschool opportunities. Police, fire, and health departments play roles in keeping youth healthy and safe. State and county agencies often are in charge of juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Finally, a host of nonprofit and other community groups – from local United Ways and faith communities to business, civic, and neighborhood associations and youth-serving organizations – all respond in important ways to the needs of children and youth.
The concept of a master plan – as both a product and a process – is a familiar one to city leaders, who frequently use such plans to guide and inform land use decisions and infrastructure investments across their communities. As a product, youth master plans carry many different labels (including a children and youth agenda, city blueprint, or children’s bill of rights), but they almost always offer a vision for the future, an assessment of current resources and needs, and a road map for moving forward that seeks to ensure accountability and sustainability over time. As a process, the development of a youth master plan advances a strategy in which municipal leaders – working together with school officials, and with input from young people as well as community organizations, parents, and other residents and stakeholders – craft a comprehensive and effective agenda for children and youth.
This action kit, based on the diverse experiences of cities that have created such plans, contains advice, ideas, and city examples to help municipal and school leaders tackle this important challenge.
Download the full Action Kit for more information.