BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott took a huge step in his plan to prioritize and invest in the city's youth Monday.
He announced the release of the Baltimore's Children’s Cabinet's action plan.
The Children's Cabinet is not just for children, it helps all youth in the city. There are nearly 200,000 people from babies to 24-year-old in the city. This cabinet has concrete plans to improve the outcomes for this age group and address obstacles rooted in racism, violence, poverty, and inequity.
For the last year, the Children's Cabinet has been engaged in the community by using work groups, surveys, and town halls to identify specific action needed to help young people faced with these adversities. The research identified seven priority areas: early childhood development, youth food insecurity, youth homelessness, youth literacy, trauma-informed care for youth, youth diversion and historical barriers for black boys and men.
The cabinet is made up of 200 members of the community.
"We're bringing our perspectives, our networks and our organization capacity to this moment. this moment of opportunity for transformational change for our city. Throughout this work, youth have been engaged. They've been part of the process and it's our commitment to young people and our belief that they have to be part of this process that is critical to the success of their work. their voice must be heard," said Sue Fathergol, Co-Lead of the Youth Diversion Task Force.
Another member of the cabinet is Matthew Johnson, who's now the CEO of a youth-based marketing firm. He talked about his struggle growing up in the city.
"As a Baltimore youth, I had to wonder where I was going to sleep. I had to question where I was going to get food and I've also had to deal with the criminal justice system. I have a two-year-old daughter that I'm working to enroll in school, while also dealing with trauma and with the effects of being a male with highly melanated skin," explained Johnson.
The cabinet took all the information they learned over the last year and is now launching 15 actions this year. The goal is to identify which of those actions have the greatest potential to help improve the lives of young people in the city in a way they can measure in 2022.
"We will improve the lives of our children and youth because all of us here will accept nothing less,” Said the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success Director Tisha Edwards. “The work of the Baltimore Children’s Cabinet in the last year, the work to get to today, is a powerful example of what collective action can achieve."
On March 4, the Children’s Cabinet’s 2021 action plan will be discussed during a hearing in the Baltimore City Council's Education, Workforce and Youth Committee. You can find more information on how to participate here.
The Children’s Cabinet holds monthly town halls for each of the priority areas. March’s meeting will focus on youth literacy and is scheduled for the 24th.