BUILDING CAPACITY FOR BETTER OUTCOMES FOR NEW ORLEANS CHILDREN
I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to launch the Executive Director role with the New Orleans Children and Youth Planning Board, (CYPB), as I seek to fill it well with your partnership, support & assistance.
Having worked for many years alongside children, youth, families, community and systems leaders on issues impacting positive youth development, I remain committed to aligning myself with work that contributes to its advancement. The CYPB is that work and as its Executive Director, I intend to ensure that its purpose is fulfilled, as determined by the 2004 state legislation and city ordinance, which summarizes the positive youth development work of CYPB in the following ways
The New Orleans CYPB Purpose and Function:
The CYPB is to participate in the formulation of and to prepare a comprehensive plan for services and programs for the children and youth of New Orleans.
The Board is intended to encourage collaborative efforts among local stakeholders for assessing the physical, social, emotional, developmental, behavioral, educational, safety, and poverty impacts and needs of children, youth and families in their respective communities, and for assisting in the development of comprehensive plans to address such needs.
The plan will promote the following:
- development, implementation and operation of services which encourage positive youth development
- diversion of children and youth from criminal justice and foster care systems
- reduction in the commitments of youth to state institutions
- provide a community response to the growing rate of juvenile delinquency
CYPB is also expected to advance the coordination and implementation of services including but not limited to:
- Early Intervention
- Alternatives: to home displacement; incarceration
- Treatment services
- Measurement of all services that address the needs of children & youth
So how in the world would anyone be able to take on the enormity of purpose issued to the CYPB by the state and city? What is the CYPB’s role in creating change? Can the CYPB be fearless?
“Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.”
Enormity examined can produce fear and fear can produce paralysis of movement. Both responses to purpose result in another failure for children, youth and family that the CYPB will not afford. I prefer instead to approach the enormity through a possibility lens and see this purposeful journey as one that challenges us to work together better, passing through the ambiguity and chaos towards our shared pursuit of purpose. In my role as the CYPB Executive Director, it is my job to facilitate the journey so that it is successful for all. My approach will include the following:
- Clarify purpose and re-set CYPB’s go-forward direction; repeat often to ensure clarity and arrive at transparency
- Re-engage and sustain board members in advancing the go-forward direction of CYPB
- Enlist, engage and sustain children, youth and families as co-visionaries/authors, partners and leaders of plans with actions that yield desired results
- Partner with children, youth and families to make messaging matter; edit and create narratives to reflect strengths and assets based on their perspectives and realities
- Tell/share the data-informed story of processes, practices and results so that all can repeat with accuracy
- Raise the bar on accountability through meaningful and useful evaluation
- Connect with parents who have a shared vision/mission/purpose and create purpose spread together
- Fundraise to continue the journey and its delivery of expected outcomes
The CYPB is now prepared to “proceed until apprehended!” Well-poised to go forward in 2017 and beyond, the CYPB has spent the past two years building its foundation for solid performance. With wisdom, the Board determined to invest time, talent and resources in building its internal infrastructure in order to advance its external ability to move toward purpose – a solid move from the Board that positions the CYPB to move fearlessly toward its purpose.
So I ask you to join me in the work of the CYPB, as I expect 2017 to be the year that we build together. It will be whatever we make it & that’s exciting!