Universal Summer Youth Programs Proposed by
Council Members Rose and Kallos
New York, NY – As summer break approaches, tens of thousands of low-income public school students and their families are relying on Summer Youth Programs to keep them safe, fed, and positively engaged. However, $20 million in funding for Summer Youth Programs serving at least 34,000 middle school students was excluded entirely or in part from the preliminary budgets in Fiscal Years 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016 with funding restored each time by the City Council in the Executive Budget. Legislation co-authored by Youth Service Chair Debi Rose and Council Member Ben Kallos would eliminate proposed budget cuts and mandate Universal Summer Youth Programs.
“Year after year, our summer youth programs are not funded until we come to a final budget agreement in June, leaving parents and providers in a shadow of uncertainty,” said Youth Services Committee Chair Debi Rose. “Summer program are invaluable experiences that build self-esteem, social skills, leadership skills and friendships in a safe, constructive environment. They also help curb summer learning loss, which disproportionately affects students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is time we build on our successes with early childhood education in the city and give all students seeking a spot in a summer program the opportunity to participate. I am grateful to partner with Council Member Ben Kallos on this legislation, and I look forward to building support from across the Council to pass this bill and make an investment in our future city.”
“Our children need us to take care of them, whether after school or during summer break it doesn’t matter, these children need access to healthy food, enrichment, and positive engagement,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Every year summer youth programs go unfunded in the Mayor’s proposed budget and every year Youth Service Chair Debi Rose leads the way to restore that funding to serve more than 34,000 children. This Universal Summer Youth Programs legislation will finally put an end to the budget dance and put our city on a path to guarantee every child a place to enjoy their summer.”
Currently, New York City offers summer components through the COMPASS (Comprehensive After School System of NYC) and SONYC (Schools Out NYC) after-school programs. These programs are administered by community-based organizations under contract with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). While Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has grown from 29,416 and $8.6 million in funding in 2013 prior to de Blasio, to 35,957 and $15 million in funding in 2014 the first year of de Blasio’s administration and more than doubling to 74,453 and $32 million in funding as of 2020, it only serves youth ages 14 to 24. Summer Youth Programs serve children age 5 to 13 who are not eligible for SYEP as well as serving youth 14 and older (through age 21 who are still in school) for whom employment is not desired or not appropriate.
The Universal Summer Youth Programs legislation follows a January hearing on Universal After School legislation chaired by Youth Services Chair Debi Rose who also authored that legislation along with Council Members Ben Kallos and Mark Treyger.
The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) funded programs provided a variety of educational, social, cultural, recreational, and employment-related opportunities to 337,599 New York City youth according to the 2019 Mayor’s Management Report. The majority of youth were served through one of four program areas in the DYCD portfolio: COMPASS NYC (122,390), Summer Youth Employment Program (74,354), Beacon (74,142), and Cornerstone (25,831).