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Youth Development Council visits county commissioners
Commissioners not yet ready to make decisions on county’s youth programs
The importance of community was evident Wednesday morning in county offices.
Members from Oregon’s Youth Development Council met briefly with Union County Commissioners and other county leaders Wednesday to discuss the future of county youth programs.
“The idea is (to discuss) what works best in your community as we target these young people,” said Iris Bell, executive director of the council.
The Youth Development Council was formed in 2012 as a result of House Bill 4165. It will be taking over some of the duties and responsibilities of the Commission on Children and Families, which is sunsetting this year on limited funding. Bell and other members of the council are traveling across the state to get local input for funding directives for the next fiscal year.
Bell told county commissioners that they are targeting youth between the ages of 6 and 20 with a focus on preventing crime and increasing academic success.
A large percentage of those youth, Bell said, are disengaged, either from education or from the workforce. The idea through the council’s initiatives is to get them “re-attached or to stay attached,” she said.
Commissioner Steve McClure told Bell he is not sure how this new system will work, especially since they will be downsizing youth programs in terms of funding.
“We are really trying to open up and engage as many folks as possible,” Bell said. “We’re looking for innovative investments, target
Bell said they are looking to find out from communities what works for them and what programs need to continue to be funded.
McClure said he would be “uncomfortable” with answering that at the meeting since resources are limited and he wants to get the most out of whatever funding they get.
“I think it needs to be more organized,” he said.
Commissioner Mark Davidson agreed, saying they must set community priorities before those decisions can be made.
Youth Development Council members also visited Baker City Wednesday and were in Ontario for meetings there on Thursday.