For Immediate Release - October 28, 2008

Governor signs executive order establishing Child and Youth Readiness Cabinet

State leaders to streamline efforts to improve services to children, youth and families

BOSTON - Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - Governor Deval Patrick today signed an executive order establishing the Child and Youth Readiness Cabinet - a state leadership team focused on streamlining state efforts to improve services for children, youth and families. The Cabinet met for the first time today.

"We are firmly committed to providing a world class education for all students in Massachusetts that prepares them for success in a global 21st Century economy," Governor Patrick said. "The Readiness Cabinet will put into action our goals to build a strong foundation of health and nutrition, support safe and nurturing home environments and provide access to high-quality teaching and learning."

The Readiness Cabinet is jointly chaired by Paul Reville, Secretary of Education and Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of Health and Human Services and includes the state secretaries of Administration and Finance, Housing and Economic Development, Labor and Workforce Development, Public Safety and the Child Advocate. The Governor may designate additional members.

"We recognize that as constituted, schools alone cannot resolve all of the issues that lead to the achievement gap," Secretary Reville said. "The work of the Readiness Cabinet is vital in identifying the pressing needs of children and their families to ensure students arrive at school ready to learn and able to take advantage of all that is offered by our dedicated and hard working educators."

"We have a shared responsibility to foster children's healthy development and family well-being," Secretary Bigby said. "The Readiness Cabinet will provide for the consistent, efficient and effective coordination of efforts between government agencies whose services and programs collectively address the needs of the whole child and his or her family."

The establishment of the Child and Youth Readiness Cabinet is one of the initiatives outlined in the Governor's Education Action Agenda as a key strategy to improving the approach to education for students. As highlighted in the Readiness Project report, the cabinet's initial project will be the development of a comprehensive, integrated data warehouse and reporting system.

One of the goals of the Cabinet is to facilitate the launch of an Urban Drop Out Early Warning and Intervention Pilot Program to assist districts in identifying the characteristics of students at risk of dropping out as well as in providing interventions to ensure proper support is provided.

Also, the Cabinet will work on the creation of a Readiness Passport, which will provide parents, guardians and agencies with a simple tool to document key elements of a child's educational experiences as well as to chronicle various services, interventions, supports, data and performance evaluations related to that child.

Finally, members will address the development of a program to increase the supply of Student Support Coordinators in target schools in order to connect students and their families to appropriate health and human services provided by state and community and non-profit agencies.