- Budget Message
- Key Initiatives
- Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
- Investing in Education to Close the Achievement Gap
- Investing in Innovations & Infrastructure to Create Jobs, Expand Opportunities
- Expanding Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care
- Building a Strong, Safe Community for Youth and Families
- Climate Change Mitigation and Preparedness
- Transportation Reform
- Criminal Justice and Reentry
- Budget Recommendations
- Local Aid to Cities and Towns
Building a Strong, Safe Community for Youth and Families
[ index ]
FY 2015 Budget Recommendation:
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Stronger and safer communities begin with efforts to prevent youth violence and supporting services and opportunities for the most vulnerable. Since taking office in 2007, Governor Patrick has worked to provide the preventative tools needed to build a positive future for the Commonwealth’s youth that will save in the long-run on unnecessary costs and negative outcomes. In the Governor’s FY 2015 budget proposal, the Administration seeks to create a culture of opportunity for our youth by addressing violence’s root causes, and by enhancing access to community services which enable individuals and families to make positive choices.
Building Safe and Successful Communities
The Patrick Administration recognizes that positive youth development and youth violence prevention is essential to ensuring safe and strong communities. The FY 2015 budget includes a comprehensive approach that enhances community supports, continues targeted law enforcement efforts and maintains youth violence prevention initiatives. While promoting accountability, this framework focuses on providing supports and services that help young people to become assets and resources in their communities. Since the beginning of his Administration, Governor Patrick has been committed to funding programs and services that promote positive youth development and prevent youth violence. The FY 2015 budget will maintain this proven strategy of preventing youth violence in communities through the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative and other targeted positive youth development efforts.
The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative
The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) targets “proven risk youth,” young men (ages 14-to-24) identified by individual communities as high risk due to their criminal record, having been victim of shooting or stabbing violence, or being a family member of someone who has. Since its implementation, the Patrick Administration has consistently measured the SSYI impact through the Youth Violence Prevention Dashboard. Nearly 1,400 young people are currently identified in the program, and the Dashboard shows that SSYI may be responsible for significant reductions in crime in participating cities. From FY 2011 to FY 2013, cities with programs supported with SSYI funding experienced a 25% drop in homicide victims aged 14-24, and a 19% drop in aggravated assault with victims aged 14-24. Given what we understand about the targeted population, this is a significant achievement in preventing youth violence in our communities and suggests that SSYI and other positive youth development efforts of this Administration are working. Governor Patrick proposes continuing this success with an FY 2015 investment of $9.5 M, a $5.5 M increase above the FY 2014 funding and the full and most effective funding level for the program.
SSYI has also become a hallmark program demonstrating a results-driven and nimble cross-agency partnership. In the first six months of 2013, SSYI-participating cities witnessed a spike in firearm homicides and non-fatal shootings. In response, the SSYI and youth violence teams prepared a coordinated response to SSYI project sites to address the spike in violence. The data following their strategic and organized response suggests the approach had a direct impact on curbing the spike in youth violence, which is now trending downward. Since FY 2011, the Patrick Administration has invested in the SSYI program by targeting state spending to help fill gaps in services for high-risk populations. In 2013, grants were awarded to 11 cities (Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester) for targeted intervention programs for high-risk youth and their families. Today, the Patrick Administration continues to collaborate with local stakeholders including mayors, district attorneys, police, school officials and citizens from cities that experience persistently high rates of violent crime. The initiative coordinates human services, education and public safety agencies to build a sustainable and proactive solution to this systemic gap in services while saving taxpayer dollars.
Continuing a Comprehensive Approach
In addition to the Safe and Successful Initiative, the FY 2015 budget funds programs that promote positive youth development and prevent youth violence, building strong and safe communities throughout the Commonwealth:
1. Preventing School Violence – The Governor’s FY 2015 budget will establish the Cross-Secretariat Task Force on School Safety and Security, chaired by the Secretaries of Education, Public Safety and Security, and Health and Human Services. The Task Force will provide an opportunity for agency representatives and external stakeholders to discuss and assist local school districts with creating school safety and security response plans. By coordinating efforts to address issues relating to school and student safety and security in the Commonwealth, including efforts to create detailed, school safety and security response plans with local school districts, the Governor’s $200 K budget investment will allow the Task Force to seek the assistance of expert researchers and consultants to help ensure the protection and safety of youth in school settings.
2. Responding to Community Violence – A comprehensive youth violence prevention strategy must include effective law enforcement to protect the community from the most violent offenders, particularly those who use guns in gang-related violence and drug distribution. The Charles E. Shannon, Jr. Community Safety Initiative Grants prevent gang violence and are targeted at high-risk youth in communities with high crime rates. The Governor will increase Shannon Grants by $1 M from FY 2014, funding them at $8 M. These grants may be utilized by local police departments to bolster their ability to respond to youth crime, as well as by community groups that provide supportive services for at-risk youth.
3. Building a More Peaceful Community – The Patrick Administration’s strategy taps into demonstrably effective methods of promoting peaceful environments, including building strong and engaged communities; providing structured, positive out-of-school time activities; and creating opportunities for youth leadership development. Governor Patrick’s FY 2015 budget maintains funding for Youth-at-Risk matching grants and After School and Out of School Grants at $2.7 M and $1.6 M, respectively, to use public health and education resources to ensure a coordinated approach that reaches young people before they turn to violence or other destructive activities.
4. Engaging and Supporting Youth – Providing youth with increased opportunities to learn and grow will also build stronger, safer communities. Youth who are engaged in educational activities or leadership development programs will have increased opportunities to build a healthy and safe future. Therefore, Governor Patrick will increase his support to $12 M in FY 2015 for Summer Jobs for At-Risk Youth and offer local communities and businesses a way to offer subsidized work for community youth. Further, the FY 2015 budget will preserve funding for YouthBuild at $2 M and maintain its support for School to Career Connecting Activities at $2.7 M. YouthBuild specifically targets low-income students to improve education, job training, leadership development and community services. School to Career Connecting Activities establishes public-private partnerships to connect schools and businesses and provide structured work-based learning experiences for students.
Supporting Families for Stronger Communities
Family Resource Centers
Governor Patrick’s initiative builds stronger and safer communities through targeted
positive youth development and youth violence prevention efforts, as well as
services that improve or expand supports to youth and families in need. To
this end, the FY 2015 budget will maintain its FY 2014 efforts and continue to
build a network of Family Resource Centers (FRCs) in Massachusetts communities.
FRCs are community-based centers that address child abuse and neglect, juvenile
delinquency, mental illness, poverty, substance abuse and other special needs.
Family Resource Centers are focused on serving the most vulnerable populations
in the state, and provide a one-stop, “no wrong door” approach to accessing
services or programs in the community. This initiative represents the first
major reform to the Children in Need of Services (CHINS) program since its
creation in the 1970s, which also modifies criminal justice processes and
encourages children and families to seek preventive assistance before going
The goal of Family Resource Centers is to help children, where appropriate, remain at home and at school to avoid involvement in the criminal justice system. The 11 existing Family Resource Centers in seven counties have served almost 7,000 families since its inception. In FY 2013, almost 11,550 parents enrolled in group-based parenting education and support programs, and over 8,000 children were enrolled in playgroups and special events. This growth in service demonstrates that Family Resource Centers are an effective and compelling local service model that allows the most vulnerable to engage and seek assistance in their own community, and builds on the promise of a safe and productive future for the Commonwealth’s children and families. With a total FY 2015 investment of over $7.2 M, Family Resource Centers will serve children up to the age of 18 (up from 12 currently) and have a presence in every county by FY 2016.
Rehabilitating Youth and Paying for Success Through Social Innovation Financing
While every effort is made in the FY 2015 budget to build safe, strong communities and ensure youth are provided opportunities for a successful and positive future, youth currently involved in the criminal justice system deserve similar opportunities or the chance to turn their lives in a more positive and productive direction. In addition to resources to assist in Raise the Age implementation, the FY 2015 budget continues efforts to strengthen youth criminal justice reform while saving taxpayer dollars by innovative “pay for success” contracts. As proposed in the FY 2015 budget, the Juvenile Justice Pay for Success Initiative uses pay for success contracting, also called Social Impact Bonds, to pay for services for young men who are exiting the juvenile justice system or in the probation system.
Raise the Age
In the fall of 2013, Governor Patrick signed “An Act Expanding Juvenile Jurisdiction,” expanding the delinquency and youthful offender jurisdiction of the juvenile courts to include youth who commit crimes when they were younger than 18, up from the previous age of 17. This legislation is a major step forward in ensuring our young people receive every opportunity for rehabilitation and reform. Seventeen year olds will now fall under the custody of the Department of Youth Services (DYS), rather than into an adult prison or jail, although the District and Superior Courts will retain their discretion to impose an adult sentence for violent criminal activity. As a result of the new law, juvenile offenders will be afforded an additional year to benefit from juvenile court judges, probation officers and youth corrections agency personnel who have particular and age-appropriate expertise in child and adolescent development. The Commonwealth joins 38 other states and the District of Columbia in expanding the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts to age 18. The Governor’s FY 2015 budget includes $15 M to support implementation of Raise the Age.
Paying for Outcomes with Social Innovation Financing
Critical to improving our justice system is experimenting with innovative approaches to positive youth development and documenting interventions that work. Building on the Patrick Administration’s commitment to performance, accountability and transparency, the Juvenile Justice Pay for Success Initiative uses pay for success contracting, also called Social Impact Bonds, to pay for services for young men who are exiting the juvenile justice system or in the probation system. Under its pay for success contract, the state will only pay for services if they are proven to succeed in reducing the rate at which young men are incarcerated and increasing their job readiness and employment. Pay for success contracts overcome the government’s chronic inability to find the resources necessary to invest meaningfully in innovative approaches to solving social problems by allocating taxpayer resources only to proven solutions. This innovative approach aligns the incentives of all partners to achieve better outcomes for at-risk young men and enables the government to leverage private-sector financing for preventive services.
The Juvenile Justice Pay for Success Initiative is motivated by the reality that within five years of release from the juvenile justice or probation systems, over 65% of high-risk young men return to prison. This outcome creates unsafe communities and a cycle of violence, poverty and repeated incarceration for young men, and it is expensive to taxpayers. The Juvenile Justice Pay for Success Initiative aims to interrupt that cycle by filling a gap in services for young men who need support to change the trajectory of their lives.
In 2012, Governor Patrick announced that his Administration had selected Roca, Inc., a Chelsea-based service provider, and Third Sector Capital Partners, a nonprofit fundraising intermediary, as its partners in this initiative. Roca will provide services to over 900 of the highest-risk young men living in the Boston, Chelsea and Springfield areas. Roca’s intervention model includes four basic elements: relentless outreach to young men by Roca staff; intensive case management; life skills, education, prevocational and employment programming; and work opportunities with community partners. Roca’s model has proven effective at reducing violence and creating positive behavioral changes for the young men it serves. Third Sector Capital Partners is responsible for raising the up-front funding to pay for services provided through this initiative. A combination of commercial and philanthropic funders will assume the risk of nonpayment in exchange for an opportunity to achieve positive social outcomes and modest financial returns.
The state will only repay funders if Roca proves successful in reducing incarceration and increasing job readiness and employment among the young men it serves. The Commonwealth has committed up to $27 M in success payments to this Initiative, and these payments are backed by the full faith and credit of the Commonwealth. In FY 2014, Governor Patrick set aside $7.5 M into a Social Innovation Financing Trust Fund for this and other pay for success contracts. In his FY 2015 budget, the Governor has requested that an additional $7 M be set aside.
In September 2013, the Commonwealth was also awarded a first-of-its-kind $11.7 M pay for success grant from the United States Department of Labor. If the initial phase of the project proves successful, this grant will enable the Commonwealth to expand the number of young men that Roca can serve from over 900 to more than 1,300.
Governor’s Priorities in the Program Budget
For more information on the Governor’s priority of Building a Strong, Safe Community for Youth and Families in program format, please visit www.mass.gov/budget/governor , the online version of the FY 2015 Governor’s Budget. Click on the Administration Priorities tab in the FY 2015 Program Budget Recommendations Quick Link. The tab will open to show a list of the Governor’s priorities and the core set of programs that are critical in supporting the goals of each initiative.
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