Congressman Yarmuth Calls for Creation of White House Office on Children and Youth

The Forum is delighted that Congressman Yarmuth sent a letter to President Obama days after he took office calling for him to issue an executive order that would create a White House Office on Children and Youth.  This reinforces the message sent to President Obama by the Forum and more than 300 leading child and youth organizations.  Learn more at http://www.whitehouseofficeonchildrenandyouth.org

 

 

Congressman John Yarmuth

Representing Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District

PRESS RELEASE

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 27, 2009

MEDIA CONTACT

Stuart Perelmuter 202.225.5401

Yarmuth Calls for Creation of White House Office on Children and Youth

Plan would get kids much-needed attention, streamline bureaucracy, cut govt. waste

(Washington, DC) Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) sent a letter to President Obama days after he took office calling for him to issue an executive order that would create a White House Office on Children and Youth. 

The executive order would be similar to legislation introduced by Congressman Yarmuth last year, which is intended to create a continuum of care for youths in need rather than forcing them to seek assistance from numerous disjointed providers in critical areas, including health, education, and foster care.  Currently, these services are administered through more than 300 programs under the jurisdiction of a dozen separate federal agencies.

“Despite the best of intentions, the system we have in place allows millions of kids to fall between the cracks,” Yarmuth said.   “By creating a central office to oversee these services, we can focus our efforts to make sure these kids are getting the help they need while eliminating billions of dollars in government waste.”

“The steps that Congressman Yarmuth is calling for are absolutely crucial to extending needed services in the most efficient and cost-effective manner,” said Mary Kate Poling, Executive Director of Kentucky Child Now.  “I hope that President Obama will heed his call so that the United States can truly become a country where every child has the chance to succeed.”

"Now more than ever, we must arm the next generation with the skills and competencies necessary to undergird America's economy,” said Thaddeus Ferber, Program Director at the Forum for Youth Investment.  “We are at a critical moment in our nation’s history where we must increase the return on our investments in young people, ensuring that investments are aligned, efficient, and effective."

Yarmuth authored the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act, which was signed into law last year and has established himself as one of the foremost advocates for disadvantaged youth in Congress.  The Congressman held a national forum for youth advocates in Louisville in 2007 and was recently honored by the National Network for Youth for his efforts on behalf of America’s children.

The text of the letter can be found below, and a draft of the proposal is attached.

Dear President Obama:

I want to offer my sincere congratulations on your historic inauguration. I look forward to working with you and the new Administration throughout the 111th Congress.

I am writing today because I believe current federal policy does not effectively address the needs of our future generations and fails to adequately invest in the opportunities, care, and safety our youth need to succeed in life. Last year, I introduced H.R. 7004, the Federal Youth Coordination Act, to help bring together the federal government’s uncoordinated and disconnected array of youth programs. This legislation would create a cabinet-level office to coordinate youth policy and programs across every federal agency. I believe this is an urgent need and, therefore, ask that you sign an Executive Order to establish a White House Office on Children and Youth as soon as possible. This move would signify an ambitious reorganization of bureaucracy, and would also indicate a commitment to America’s future – our children.

Specifically, a White House Office on Children and Youth would strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of youth policy by creating and implementing a National Youth Strategy; review and recommend department budget requests to the Office of Management and Budget; establish a National Child and Youth Development Council composed of the heads of every relevant Department and Agency dealing with youth; and establish a National Youth Advisory Board of youth to advise policymakers on programs effecting them.  This office would also build on the coordinating efforts already in place in nearly half of the States in the U.S., such as my home state of Kentucky, as well as countries around the world. The State Children’s Cabinets and Councils Network reports that 24 states have established interagency coordinating bodies, and the Youth Councils Network reports that 12 states have created formal bodies of youth who advise high-level decision makers. Currently, over a thousand state, local, and national interest groups and agencies have endorsed the creation of this office.

I have attached a draft proposal that would establish a White House Office on Children and Youth and systematically change the fragmented and ineffective way policies and programs serve children.  I believe this office is an ideal opportunity for the Obama-Biden Administration to meet commitments made to youth, and to build a new, open government that truly serves all Americans. For more information please contact me or Kiran Bhatraju in my office at (202) 225-5401. I appreciate your consideration of this request, and look forward to working with your Administration to create the opportunities that our future generations deserve and our nation desperately needs.

Sincerely,

John Yarmuth

Member of Congress

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Publishing Date: 
February 5, 2009