Why We Care
In Suffolk County there are 415,000 youths under 21, representing 30% of the population.
In Nassau County there are over 400,000 youths under the age of 24 who account for over 30 percent of the population.
· Youth services can have a significant impact on lowering the rates of substance abuse among youth of every ethnic background, at all levels of the socioeconomic spectrum. They are cost effective for New York: According to in-depth analyses, estimates of the dollars saved for every dollar spent for Evidence- Based Practice education models delivered in New York State ranged from $8 to $56.
· Youth engaged in support services and mentoring programs show a reduction in depressive symptoms. (Note: almost one in four youths reported worrisome levels of these symptoms at baseline). Findings also suggested gains in social acceptance, academic attitudes, and grades.
· The state’s annual cost of criminal justice, both juvenile and adult, is over $4 billion every year, without even considering the cost to victims. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli noted that “programs focused on children who are at risk of becoming delinquent have demonstrated effectiveness in preventing young people from ever entering the juvenile justice system.”
· Effective and high-quality after-school programs result in youth receiving better grades and higher test scores, improving pro-social behaviors and demonstrating fewer problem behaviors, reporting less drug use, feeling more connected and bonded to their school and feeling better about themselves and their abilities. Youth who attend these programs are also less likely to need remediation and counseling, therefore cutting costs to school districts for these services.
· Those who participate in employment training programs are extremely likely to earn a degree or certificate upon completion and are also very likely to find employment or enter post-secondary education. These programs are also beneficial, as they teach responsibility, organization, and time management and help to establish good work habits.
· High-quality youth services support educational achievement, provide an organized outlet for pro-social leisure time, and in some cases provide much-needed social service supports. Every youth, in all our communities, deserves access to these services.
In short, it is abundantly clear that reasonable amounts of spending now on youth services will avoid much higher amounts of spending later on much more expensive and less effective services, such as incarceration in juvenile facilities, jails and prisons. It is also clear across the state that flat-funding programs has decreased vital services that will lead to higher levels of crime and lower levels of achievement in schools.