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Leaders Honored for Helping Youth be ‘Ready by 21’

June 8, 2011

Washington, D.C. – At a time when budget cuts are slashing into youth programs around the country, The Forum for Youth Investment today honored policymakers who are taking action to help prepare our nation’s young people for successful adulthood.

In a ceremony on Capitol Hill, the Forum named the eight winners of its first Ready by 21 ® Policy Leadership Award, which recognizes efforts that improve the effectiveness of government policies and procedures to help ensure that all youth will be “ready by 21 – ready for college, work and life.”

“These policymakers have changed the way children’s issues are approached in their states and in Washington,” said long-time youth advocate Karen Pittman, founder and CEO of the Forum. “They have made tremendous strides in aligning policies, maximizing scarce resources and coordinating services across departments to help ensure that all children grow up safe, healthy, educated and prepared to join the workforce.” 

What’s more, Pittman noted, “All of this has been accomplished as a result of an impressive, sustained and increasingly unique bipartisan effort.”

Several of the awards recognize the work of children’s cabinets, which are composed of leaders from state agencies that are involved in youth issues, who meet regularly to coordinate services, policies, funding and other resources in order to make those services as efficient and effective as possible.

The winners are:

  • Martha Moorehouse, director of the Children and Youth Policy Division at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for her “leadership of the Interagency Working Group for Youth Programs, and the working group’s development of the Strategic Plan for Federal Youth Policy.”
  • Alberto Retana, director of Community Outreach for the U.S. Department of Education, for “leadership of the Voices in Action National Youth Summit.”
  • U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) “for her leadership of the Child Well-Being Research Act, which will provide states with the accurate, timely and reliable data they need to make informed decisions about where limited resources should be invested.”
  • U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), for “longstanding leadership of legislation to improve and align policies for youth through the Federal Youth Coordination Act and the RAISE UP Act.”
  • José Esquibel, for his “innovative work to coordinate child and youth policy through the Colorado Prevention Leadership Council,” where he is the director.
  • The members of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet for, among other efforts, their “substantial progress in creating a comprehensive point-of-service data system to better serve children and youth.”
  • Linda O’Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, and Cindy Perry, executive director of the Tennessee State Legislature’s Select Committee on Children and Youth, for their work to create the Resource Map of Expenditures for Tennessee Children.
  • Lauren Sterling, director of the Maine Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, “for her commitment to stewarding the work of the Children’s Cabinet over the past 11 years.”

The awards were presented to at a special briefing, “Coordinating Policies for Kids,” which also featured the release of the first-ever nationwide survey of children’s cabinets, Ready by 21 State Policy Survey: Child and Youth Policy Coordinating Bodies in the U.S.

The Forum for Youth Investment is a Washington-based, nonpartisan action tank dedicated to making sure all young people are “ready by 21.” It works with communities and states around the country to help them assess and improve the way they deliver youth services through broader partnerships, bigger goals, better data and bolder strategies.

Publishing Date: 
June 8, 2011