LOS ANGELES, Feb. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- At the "Off the Page and Into Reality" Summit last week, some 600 stakeholders, including local elected officials, presented findings and next steps for a comprehensive Blueprint to assist youth & young adults in reentry to their family, school, community and workforce in six key areas: Case Management, Education, Employment, Mentoring, Area-wide Efforts to Reduce Crime and Violence, and Restorative Justice. L.A. County is home to over a quarter of all California residents and has one of the most diverse populations in the world—contributing factors for leading the State and nation in many justice system statistics. Its expansive criminal justice system and the State of California serve over 32,000 reentering youth and young adults annually.
The Summit was a culmination of over a year long process of countywide stakeholder meetings and planning sessions to address the social and economic impacts in L.A. County, due to these challenges. Partners of the initiative included Departments within the County of Los Angeles (Community Senior Services, the Commission on Human Relations, the Workforce Investment Board, and Probation), together with the UCLA School of Public Affairs - Department of Social Welfare, and elected officials and community stakeholders. L.A. County was one of only five grant recipients in the country and was awarded a $300K planning grant for the project (funded 100% by the Department of Labor). The Blueprint offers critical strategies to increase the coordination and collaboration of support for reentering youth and their families to impact a close to 70% recidivism rate in LA County.
Los Angeles County Deputy CEO, Jackie White said, "We recognize that the success of these Blueprint recommendations rests firmly on the ability of government, community, and workforce to work much better in leveraging efforts, resources, information and relationships to create greater efficiencies in meeting the needs of high-risk young people and their families. If we want a different outcome with recidivism in L.A. County, we need to do things differently."
Part of doing things differently includes breaking down the silos and funding streams to work collaboratively around three primary goals: 1) prioritize the delivery of high quality incarceration-based and community-based reentry services; 2) streamline the efficiency, coordination and evaluating of services for returning young people throughout the County; and 3) expand opportunities for pro-social connections and positive futures. Part of the immediate next steps planned for the Blueprint implementation include the County CEO's formation of council that coordinates and leverages existing County reentry efforts and links these more effectively with community-based efforts; the formation of a funders and community stakeholders collaborative table that will initiate efforts to implement Blueprint recommendations; and the L.A. County Workforce Investment Board's (WIB) collaboration with the Youth Council and six other regional WIBs to implement and expand upon innovations that reduce employment obstacles and increase job preparedness, placements and overall employment outcomes for this hard to place population.
The community is encouraged to weigh in on the Blueprint and recommendations until March 7, 2011 at www.css.lacounty.gov.
SOURCE County of Los Angeles