Wilmington – On Monday November 25th, Governor Jack Markell, and Lt. Governor Matt Denn joined officials from the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF/The Children’s Dept.) to announce the names of 12 organizations that have been selected to receive nearly $2.1 million dollars in after school and summer prevention program funds. The announcement was held at the Clarence Fraim Boys and Girls Club in Wilmington. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware is one of the funding recipients.
The initiative to support positive prevention activities for youth was part of Governor Jack Markell’s FY 14 Budget proposal. The General Assembly supported his budget request with $2.2 million as part of DSCYF’s budget for after school programs this session. This is the second round of funding allocated under the budget initiative. In September, a small portion of the budget was distributed to 13 organizations in the form of mini grants.
Applicants for the remainder of the funding were required to submit proposals that included evidence based practices or programs related to preventing youth violence and/or youth suicide. They were also required to include positive opportunities for youth that they might not otherwise have a chance to be exposed to. The grant recipients will be funded through June 2015 subject to continued funding appropriation in the Department’s FY 15 budget
“These places will be providing children with safe and welcoming spaces to do homework, play and enjoy being a kid,” said Governor Markell. “This is about creating opportunities for young people with positive experiences and after school activities that promote their intellectual growth and self-esteem.”
“The programs that were selected are very diverse in their makeup. They cover academics, exposure to nature, music and the arts, bullying, suicide and pregnancy prevention programming, sports and athletics, healthy living, life skills, and self-esteem building,” said Lt. Governor Matt Denn who read off the list of awardees at the event. “I feel confident that the programs being offered are going to have a long term impact on the kids who participate in them.”
The selected funding recipients will enter into contracts with the children’s Department’s Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services. Three of the 12 organizations will have programs running in all three counties, four will operate only in New Castle County, three will operate programs in both Kent and Sussex Counties only, and two will conduct their programs in Kent County alone. The Criminal Justice Council is partnering with the Children’s Department to provide monitoring and quality assurance for the contracts.
Additionally, suicide prevention training will be provided to staff of all of the selected programs so that they can assist in identifying at-risk youth. The prevention program initiative is partly an outgrowth of the initial recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the 2012 adolescent suicides in Kent County which pointed to a lack of after-school activities for youth in Kent and Sussex Counties.
“We were looking for programs that would provide positive experiences for youth, while also giving them safe and productive opportunities outside of school hours,” said DSYCF Secretary Jennifer Ranji. “The programs that were selected, coupled with the training they’ll receive, help support our mission of prevention or early identification of mental health needs so that we can prevent deeper entry into our system.”
The programs that were selected to receive after school and summer prevention program funding will serve approximately 1,500-1,800 youth. Roughly half of those children are in New Castle County, 25% are in Kent County and 25% are in Sussex County. The funding recipients are:
• Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware – to implement youth leadership clubs, operate a weekday drop in teen program and a Friday night program for academics, athletics and special events.
• Children and Families First – operating in Kent and Sussex counties. Activities will include academic support, life skills like cooking and computer classes and outdoor education.
• The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension – will operate four sites in both Kent and Sussex Counties. They will provide after school tutoring, music and art enrichment and summer programming that focuses on healthy living.
• Providence Service Academy – to operate in the city of Wilmington serving youth ages 12 – 18. They’ll implement a Youth Empowerment program to provide a variety of enrichment activities.
• West End Neighborhood House – also will operate in the City. Their focus will be on youth violence and suicide prevention through the use of several evidence based programs.
• Police Athletic League – will operate in Wilmington and NcCo in four locations. Their focus is on suicide and violence prevention through parent engagement, and after school and summer programs that promote homework assistance and fitness activities.
• Courageous Hearts – this equine assistance program operates in Kent and Sussex and will serve youth ages 12 – 17. They use horses as an equine assisted intervention to help youth overcome anxieties and build self-esteem, as well as provide a mechanism for family engagement.
• DEMCO – this Kent county program will serve children in grades 5 – 8. It provides tutoring and homework support, and sports and fitness enrichment for youth in at risk communities in Downtown Dover.
• The YMCA – will operate in Wilmington, and Kent and Sussex Counties and serve children ages 11 – 18. They will provide memberships to teens and leadership camps.
• Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Delaware – operating in all three counties, this program will serve youth ages 9 – 17 and provide mentoring services for at risk youth, particularly for LGBTQ youth.
• Delaware State University – Summer Youth Academy – this program will expose youth to opportunities for secondary education and mentoring, and promote self-discipline and self-confidence.
• The Mother African Union Church’s Peter Spencer Family Foundation project – operating in the City of Wilmington this program will provide evidence based, academically focused after school programming and gender specific summer programming at two sites.
The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts, as well as prevention services targeted toward all youth. For more information, please visit www.kids.delaware.gov.
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