Funding for At-Risk Youth Stalled

Funding for At-Risk Youth Stalled

Last week, the Massachusetts House passed a $124.7M supplemental budget to close the books on FY17. This budget, my first as Chair of House Ways & Means, secured $4.75M to ensure full funding for the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI).

The Senate did not include SSYI in their version of the budget, so this funding is now at risk.

As we discuss criminal justice reform, it is important to recognize the programs that successfully work on the front lines. SSYI funding goes directly to organizations in our communities that deal with youth violence, like MissionSAFE, Boston Center for Youth and Families, and Roca. It helps the most at-risk youth through targeted outreach and proven interventions.

We see their work on a daily basis. Outreach workers at MissionSAFE work long hours identifying youth, running leadership trainings, and coordinating work opportunities for youth who would otherwise struggle to secure a job. Roca’s outreach ushers youth into trainings that change their behaviors and develop life, education, and employment skills to disrupt the cycles of poverty and incarceration.

SSYI grants make these changes possible.

We live in a great community. But make no mistake – there are parts of our neighborhood where violence is real. SSYI helps programs develop the potential in our youth so they don’t fall into the trap.

As a society, it is our responsibility to lift people by building self-confidence and developing personal, social, and work skills that result in rewarding futures.

The House has shown a commitment to this idea by funding the Safe and Secure Youth Initiative. The House supplemental budget is a stop on our road to criminal justice reform.

Rep. Sánchez talks with youth from MissionSAFE about political involment during a State House visit.

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