Helping Youth Succeed

The Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board (YCB) is an intergovernmental, collaborative body working to build a shared vision for Minneapolis/Hennepin County children and youth. Since its inception, the YCB has successfully implemented countless intergovernmental policy directives, and has administered and delivered numerous programs and grants to encourage the healthy development and functioning of youth. The YCB works to dissolve bureaucratic barriers and inefficiencies so that relevant groups and organizations in the community can strengthen the region's child and family support network without wasting resources on duplication and lack of coordination.

In 1985, the City of Minneapolis conceived of a body to prioritize the needs of the region's children and youth, and to provide common direction and coordination for public policy initiatives and community services. Until then, elected officials and community leaders had difficulty in effectively addressing the issues children and families face. The greatest of these challenges include increasing rates of poverty, infant mortality, violence, and sagging educational attainment.

The resulting body, the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board (YCB), is committed to enhancing and promoting the healthy, comprehensive development of children and youth through collaborative action. The YCB first convened hundreds of people representing diverse communities and organizations to create a 20-year vision for children and families in Minneapolis. The result of that effort is Cities Children 2007, a plan still being followed more than 10 years later.

Wide-Ranging Collaboration

Today, YCB's board includes the mayor; Hennepin County commissioners; city council members; Minneapolis Public School Board members; a Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioner; the chief judge of Hennepin County District Court, Juvenile Division; and chairpersons of the Minneapolis Delegations to the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota State Senate.

With more than a decade of experience, the collaboration's partners have learned that success with this approach requires energetic participation from leaders of a broad range of governmental bodies and schools. Each participating group must commit financial resources and be open to changing the way its resources are allocated and its programs are delivered.

Diverse Services

A wide array of YCB-sponsored programs have been developed to address the social, health, and educational needs of Minneapolis' youth.

Way To Grow prepares young children for school and empowers families to use community services and support systems. Family resource workers connect families to prevention and early intervention services. Public health nurses give health assessments for pregnant women and health assistance to family resource workers.

Neighborhood Early Learning Centers provide services in accessible locations. By participating in a community planning process, residents determine what services will be offered and choose a lead agency to coordinate services.

The Minneapolis Redesign works in partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools, Hennepin County, and the Forum for Nonprofit Leadership to establish services for children and their families at schools, such as health and dental care, social services, and adult basic education.

"What's Up?" is a hotline that provides youth with information about activities and employment opportunities. The YCB also uses information requests from the hotline to guide program planning.

Phat Summer opens neighborhood parks and schools during summer evenings for youth recreation and educational activities.


Recent accomplishments include the following:

5,744 families enrolled in Way to Grow programs during 1996.

3,000 young people made more than 20,000 visits to neighborhood parks and recreation facilities during summer evening hours since the inception of the Phat Summer program.

21,000 callers phoned the "What's Up?" line between June 1996 and November 1997 for information about youth activities and employment opportunities.

75 high school students participated in a Day of Listening, an annual event that brings young people and community leaders together for a day of mutual listening and learning.

5,000 young people participated in Dancin' in the Streets, a celebration for Minneapolis youth that took place in 1995.

These programs are making Minneapolis and surrounding areas a family-friendly environment that knows its children and protects, teaches, and nurtures them. Outcome-based evaluations are conducted for each of the collaboration's initiatives. One of the YCB's goals is to have 80 percent of area youth involved in at least one youth development activity before the end of the century, an increase from the 1995 level of 50 percent.

Goals of the Youth Coordinating Board

Improve the ability of public agencies to promote the health, safety, education, and development of the community's children and youth.

Facilitate cooperation among youth-serving agencies and local government bodies.

Identify and remedy conditions that hinder or prevent the community's youth from becoming healthy, productive members of society.

Communicate accurate and timely information about issues facing children, youth, and families.

For further information, contact:
Colleen Moriarity, Executive Director
Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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