Completing Our Commitment to Youth
The Ahlquist Center for Policy, Practice and Innovation is pleased to present A Fiscal Scan of Illinois Public Investments in Children and Youth, Ages 8-25.
Thanks to the generous support of The Chicago Community Trust, this scan takes a new approach to the state budget, organizing it by goals for youth rather than by individual state agencies. The fiscal scan — conducted as part of a collaborative effort including Children’s Home + Aid, the Federation for Community Schools, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and United Way of Illinois — allows us to see how Illinois’ funds are currently invested in youth ages 8–25. We view this as the first step toward developing a comprehensive policy, research and funding agenda that supports youth to be stable, safe, healthy, educated, employable and connected.
In addition to the fiscal scan, we compiled six issue briefs, corresponding to the six developmental goals youth must reach in order to thrive. These briefs provide a more thorough analysis of the investments identified in the fiscal scan. Each brief includes an overview of its corresponding goal and its associated programs, and detailed descriptions of programs with the most significant financial investment by the state.
We also explored how Illinois youth are faring under these investments in our companion report, Are We Keeping Our Commitment to Youth? The report outlines specific outcomes related to each developmental goal, as well as the impact of historical policies, race and socioeconomic status on youth well-being.
The fiscal scan raises — and begins to answer — questions about how to ensure that resources are invested equitably, and in a way that ensures the best results. One thing we know is that the state of Illinois, funders and service providers must collaboratively approach support for youth and move away from a traditional practice that involves program and department silos. Illinois should develop a system to track these investments over time, compare them to program outcomes, and make data publicly available. These efforts, along with a mobilized community committed to the premise that all youth can thrive, will help ensure that Illinois citizens become self-sufficient adults who lead exceptional lives. We invite you to join us as we work to complete our commitment to youth!
Download our full report, scan and briefing materials from here.