Innovative city programs for youths and families are the topic of a new report issued Oct. 13 by the Washington-based National League of Cities' (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute). "The State of City Leadership for Children and Families" identifies 32 city programs that aim to help children and families thrive, and documents emerging and established trends in municipal leadership to promote child and family well-being.

Categories into which the initiatives fall include afterschool programs, community wellness, early childhood education and care, family economic success, education, local infrastructure, civic engagement and violence prevention. "In describing the state of city leadership for children and families in 2009, this report highlights the broad range of innovations and trends gaining traction at the local level," said Savannah, Ga., Mayor and YEF Council Chairman Otis Johnson. "It also provides municipal leaders with a valuable new tool that will strengthen city efforts and accelerate the spread of promising strategies across the nation."

Examples of the programs in the report include:

  • St. Paul, Minn.'s use of its bus system to reduce transportation barriers and coordinate afterschool learning,
  • The Boston Schoolyard Initiative, which converts deteriorating schoolyards into green spaces for recreation and outdoor learning,
  • San Antonio's FFN Training Institute, which has offered workshops for 3,600 caregivers,
  • New York City's Center for Economic Opportunity, which has invested more than $150 million in more than 40 anti-poverty strategies, and
  • City-county partnerships in San Bernardino, Calif., that have expanded access to services and reduced crime in a 20-block target neighborhood.

Download a free PDF copy of "The State of City Leadership for Children and Families" report.

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