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Reconnecting Youth

At least 6.7 million young people between the ages of 16 and 24 (17%) are currently disconnected from school or work. Young people may become disconnected in a number of ways.  They may have dropped out of high school or college and been unable to find work. They may have been involved in the foster care or criminal justice systems, or become homeless. They may have mental or health conditions that inhibit their activities.  They may have care giving responsibilities in their families.

The consequences are serious for both individuals and society as a whole, as these young people cost the nation billions of dollars every year in lost earnings, welfare and medical costs, and unmet personal potential.

Addressing the needs of disconnected youth is critical to America’s future.  The President’s FY 2013 Budget proposes an Inter-Agency Disconnected Youth Initiative that would provide for increased flexibility for States and localities and modest funding for the Federal partners.  The Initiative would include the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, as well as other Federal agencies.

Under a proposed a government-wide general provision, States and localities would be able to apply for a waiver for enhanced flexibility to blend existing discretionary funds from multiple federal funding streams in determining how to more effectively structure services for disconnected youth in return for strong accountability for results.  The 2013 budget also seeks additional funding for the U.S. Departments of Education ($5 million), Health and Human Services ($5 million), and Labor ($10 million), to develop interagency strategies to strengthen the impact of federal programs serving disconnected youth; identify opportunities for enhanced flexibility and collaboration; and enhance our capacity to use and build evidence of what works and is cost-effective for disconnected youth.  The President’s FY 2013 Budget included a request for authority to implement “Performance Partnership Pilots” that would improve outcomes for disconnected youth. 

A Request for Information (RFI) on disconnected youth has been published by the Department of Education in the Federal Register.  To inform the development of the performance partnership pilots, the RFI asks respondents for examples of how state and local organizations could use the proposed authority to achieve better outcomes for disconnected youth, as well as existing best practices for serving this population.

Responses to the RFI will be collected via Regs.gov. Responses must be received by July 31, 2012.

Please visit Reconnecting Youth Topics to read more.