Sunday, October 31, 2010

Looked at the council budget office web site lately?

Eric Goulet, budget director for the City Council, and his colleagues have spent months collecting, scanning and uploading budget documents to the council site so that the public has access to important historical records.   Many more documents still have to be uploaded so check back often.   But a big ol' shout out for a job well done to the staff.

Buy a book for a child in foster care!

There is still time to participate in Child and Family Services Agency's Partners for Kids in Care 2010 Holiday Donation Drive.   And a perfect way to participate is to buy one or more award-winning books.   Consider the following Association for Library Service to Children winners:
  • 2010 Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (children's book)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gray Ward 6 town hall video now online

If you missed the last of the Gray ward-based town halls, you may watch the video on YouTube here.

Terrific free DC gov clip service

Karyn-Siobhan Robinson is delivering an invaluable service to the community with DC Government Clips.   Clips are available online and via email and allow those who work with the DC government to get the news before 9:00 am.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An old message that still resonates

T.J. Sutcliffe created this graphic.

In preparing for my workshop with Diana Winthrop on October 29, I found these two graphics.   They were used as part of the Fair Budget Coalition's 2001 "Human Needs First" campaign.   It's truly a shame that we are still fighting these fights.

Apple cider spice cake recipe

It's that time of year when I must bake a spice cake or two.   The recipe this time around is this one from CD Kitchen.   Not so much an apple cider cake as a spice cake.   No matter, it is yummy and moist and easy to make.   I've now made three (not for me but for neighbors and friends) and I may have to keep baking them given the demand!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Who are your tweeps?

Many folks are already using Twitter and many more join every day. It is sometimes hard to keep track of whom to follow.   I'd be interested in hearing from you about who you follow and why; I'll compile the list and blog.   For the sake of being germane, let's keep suggestions related to public policy and practice for/about children, youth and families.   Local and national media are fine as are tweeps who contribute to organizational policy and capacity.

What are your must reads?

I know my day does not really get going until I have read Lori's AM Buzz, DeMorning DeBonis, and Loose Lips Daily, and Greater Greater Washington.   What is on your must read list?    Email me your list and I will blog them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Help close the digital divide, attend 10/27 broadband summit

OCTO is hosting the city's second DC Community Broadband Summit (DC-CBS)—a city-wide gathering to address the District's digital divide—October 27, from 8:30 am - 1:00 pm.   The event is being held at Deanwood Community Center and Library (1350 49th St NE).

Will I see you there?

Child welfare news

  • The Freddie Mac Foundation's Adoption Expo, November 6 from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm at the Grand Hyatt Hotel (1000 H St NW), will showcase adoption agencies and services in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland.

    Vendors will provide information about the adoption experience and the resources available if you're considering adoption.   Experts and families will share important information in myriad workshops scheduled throughout the day.

    Details about the expo are on the Freddie Mac web site.

  • Volunteers are needed to join the Citizens Review Panel (CRP).   CRP members are citizen-volunteers who are federally mandated to monitor and evaluate the policies and practices of the Child and Family Services Agency.   Members broadly represent members of the community and have an interest in foster care, child protection and related issues.   More about requirements and responsibilities are in the CRP recruitment flier.

Monday, October 25, 2010

City Council update

A little of this and that from the council this week.   We've got a hearing notice about the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, some amendments made to B B18-344, "Expanding Access to Juvenile Records Amendment Act of 2010", and the weekly update from the Committee on Health.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Three child-related items in October 22 DCR

The government is seeking public input in several fora through Thanksgiving.   Both the legislative and executive branches are holding public hearings to elicit feedback on bills, laws, and plans related to healthy schools, welfare, and public health.

Ward 8 town hall vid and sked for final two Gray town halls

The Ward 8 Gray campaign town hall video is now posted on YouTube.

If you are anxious to attend a town hall in person, two more remain:   Wards 4 and 6.   The Ward 4 event is being held October 26 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Peoples Congregational Church (4704 13th St NW). The Ward 6 event will be held October 27 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St NE).   More information about the town halls is on the Gray campaign web site.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Gray town hall videos posted

Miss the Wards 1 or 2 town halls sponsored by mayoral candidate Vince Gray?   No worries, they are here:   Ward 1 and Ward 2.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Update on "helping others" workshops

Thanks to interest of providers and funders across the city, we have reached capacity for all the "helping others" workshops Diana Winthrop and I are offering.   Should you be interested in future workshops, email me with a request to be added to the outreach list.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The latest from Chairman Gray

City Council Chairman Vince Gray has taken on two important issues in the past few days:   bullying and paying for transition.

In a press release, Gray promised swift consideration of a new bill, "Harassment and Intimidation Prevention Act", introduced this week by Ward 5 CM Harry Thomas, Jr. and Gray.   The bill calls on various child- and youth-serving agencies to "establish policies and prevention programs to discourage and address bullying and similar offensive behavior."

On the issue of the mayoral and council chair transitions, Gray introduced a bill to restrict the government resource contribution to in-kind items such as office space and furniture.   Gray has recently said he will not use taxpayer dollars with the economy as it is.   More about this is in a Gray press release.

You can make the holidays spectacular for foster kids with just a little time

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the holiday season for children in foster care in DC.   They make the Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway successful and the holiday gift drive spectacular.

Consider making a gift of time this year with your office, civic club or friends to make the wishes of these children come true.   Learn more about holiday season volunteer opportunities with Child and Family Services Agency in this flier.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's holiday time and foster kids need us!

You can make a difference in the life of a child or youth in foster care this holiday season.   Consider making a donation to the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) 2010 holiday donation drive.

The drive is in full swing and there is a new deadline to sign up for holiday giving:   November 1.

There are donation opportunities at all price points and to meet all areas of interest.   For example, CFSA is collecting Thanksgiving baskets, holiday gifts for specific children, family sponsorship, and more.

So sign up to make a donation for foster children by November 1.

Individuals, families, businesses, civic association, and tenant groups stepped up during the 2009 holiday drive, donating 4,930 toys and other gifts which CFSA gave to 1,640 children.

Have you volunteered for the Gray transition yet?

Have you signed up to participate on a Gray transition team?   No work happening right now, but will start next week.   So get your name in the hopper, on the list!   Be part of the change.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Roundtable on Teen Pregnancy Prevention in DC: Federal Funding, Priorities and Grantees

DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is sponsoring this event November 9 from 9:00 am - 12:30 pm at American Public Health Association (800 I St NW).   You will learn more about plans and priorities of the federal government to prevent teen pregnancy and collaborating to create change in the District.   Panelists include local and federal experts. Space is limited, so register early.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Help others keep warm this winter - donate a coat, poncho, or gloves

Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue's annual coat drive is underway and as always, the community's participation is required to make this truly a "heart 'warming' mitzvah."   Consider donating never worn/lightly worn coats you and/or your family members are not using so those in need can stay warm and dry.   Ponchos, raincoats and winter coats are wonderful.   Other items like hats, scarves and gloves are appreciated.   Drop your coats and other donations in the lobby at Ohev Sholom (1600 Jonquil St NW); donations are being accepted through mid-December.

Witness list for FEED-DC public hearing 10/18

In the event you want to watch the public hearing on the FEED-DC bill before two City Council committees today at 2:00 pm and don't know the players, here is the witness list.   I use the lists to simply follow along.

Mayor Fenty cuts G'town library ribbon October 18

Mayor Fenty will join others and deliver remarks at the October 18, 10:45 am ribbon cutting at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library (3260 R St NW).

Items from the October 15 DC Register

  • Public hearing on making capital available to local businesses and nonprofits:   The Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs (Ward 4 CM Muriel Bowser) is holding a public hearing on B18-1042, "Capital Access Program Act of 2010" on October 20 at 2:00 pm in the JAWB.   The purpose of the bill is to enable the city to use federal funds to create a public-private partnership with banks and other financial institutions to make capital available to businesses and nonprofits.   The public is encouraged to testify; details about registering are in the notice.
  • Public hearing concerning the city's compliance with Title IX:   The Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Vince Gray, chair) is holding a hearing on B18-552, "Title IX Compliance Act of 2009", on November 10 at Noon in the JAWB.   The purpose of the legislation is to assess the District's compliance with federal law, require a plan to ensure compliance and to conduct an analysis after five years of the status of Title IX compliance.   The public is encouraged to testify; details are in the notice.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Youth hearing, November 13

The Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Vince Gray, chair) is holding a public hearing for youth under the age of 21 November 13 at 10:00 am in the JAWB.   All youth are encouraged to testify; more information about registering is in the hearing notice.

Gray Ward 2 town hall video is now posted

If you missed the Gray Ward 2 town hall, you may watch it on YouTube.   The Gray campaign is having technical difficulties with the Ward 7 video; as soon as those are resolved, the video will also be on the Gray for Mayor YouTube channel.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

DC students celebrate World Statistics Day October 20

Who knew there was such a day?   Not me until I saw a press release announcing that U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves will celebrate the first-ever World Statistics Day October 20 by speaking to a 12th grade math class at Eastern High School (1700 E Capitol St NE).   The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly and Groves will highlight the role of official statistics and the many achievements of national statistical systems.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Events in the community

Lots of interesting meetings and events are taking place through the end of October November, including fora on child health, poverty and economic disparities, and building a sustainable Ward 8.   Events include a fall festival and picnic.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Information from the Winter Plan hearing

On October 6, the Committee on Human Services (Ward 6 Tommy Wells, chair) held a public hearing on the District's 2010-2011 winter plan, the plan for sheltering homeless individuals and families during cold weather.   DHS director Clarence Carter testified as did many from the service provider and advocacy community; the witness list is here.   If you missed the hearing, it is now online at OCT.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gather parents for Ward 8 town hall prep meeting on child care

Empower DC's Child Care for All Campaign is holding a pre-Ward 8 town hall meeting to plan how the community will make child care a top issue for the city's presumed new mayor, Vince Gray.   The meeting is being held October 20 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Thurgood Marshall Academy (2427 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE).

Why is punishment the default, and usually singular, solution to youth crime?

Ward 4 is dealing with a spike in crime, especially gang- and crew-related crime, according to a Convention Center Community Association (CCCA) summary of the October 9 Ward 4 crime meeting convened by Ward 4 CM Muriel Bowser.   Bowser held the meeting to update the community on efforts to address truancy, youth crime, gang and crew crime, and the use of guns.   Guests included Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, At-large CM Phil Mendelson, and Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) interim director Robert Hildum.   Video segments of the meeting, by issue, are on the CCCA web site.

According to Hildum, some recent crime is disproportionately committed by young people:   while six percent of crime overall can be attributed to youth, youth commit 48% of armed robberies.   Even more troubling is Hildum's statement about the prevalence of young men who are prone to violence.

Turque on Rhee at Noon 10/13

WaPo's Bill Turque takes your questions about the future of DCPS without Michelle Rhee on Washington Post live October 13 at Noon.   You may submit questions before or during the discussion.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kids in action at the Farm at Walker Jones

If you are not convinced of the value of school gardens, this CNN video on the Farm at Walker Jones is sure to do the trick.   You will see the children of Walker Jones in action, coached by Farm volunteers and teachers.   And read this post on the Farm at Walker Jones blog for the story of the making of the CNN video.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Update on Gray town halls

The Gray campaign has announced new locations for the remaining town halls, October 12 – 27.   Town halls this week are:
  • October 12, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church (3000 Pennsylvania Ave SE) (Ward 7)
  • October 14, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St NW) (Ward 2)
If you are not able to attend the events, you can follow Mike DeBonis and others by following the hash tags #ward7 and #ward2.

If you missed the Wards 3 and 5 town halls, they have been taped and are available on the campaign blog.   You can also search Twitter for tweets with the hash tags #ward3 and #ward5.

Have you registered for the "helping you help others better" workshops?

There is still time to register for the four affordable workshops Diana Winthrop and I are offering starting on October 19 22.   Topics include getting to know the media, getting to know the City Council and executive branch staffers, and conducting effective outreach.   Learn more and register here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Child-related items in October 8 DC Register

  • Pre-k rules comment period extended to December:   The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) published a notice of extension of the comment period on the city's pre-k system.   The new deadline for written comments is December 17, 2010.
  • Special education final rules published:   The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) published final rules regarding nonpublic special education schools and programs serving students with disabilities.   The final rules are substantially similar to the rules published in 2009.   OSSE did not include in these final rules a subsection concerning nonpublic school invoicing and payment.   OSSE plans to re-proposed these rules.

Public hearing on charter school graduation requirements and accreditation

The District of Columbia Public Charter School Board is holding a public hearing October 18 at 7:30 pm on these two important subjects.   Details about the policies are in the hearing notice in the October 1 DC Register.   Those who are unable to comment in person have until October 15 to submit written comments.   The Board will consider public comments at their November 15 monthly meeting.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Awesome upcoming events recently added to calendar

Recently added to the Advocacy and Learning Calendar:
  • October 9 meeting on crime in Ward 4
  • October 12 kickoff of DC Farm to School Week
  • October 13 Carrotmob
  • October 17 week without violence
  • November 6 free grantwriting workshop

Council hears testimony on "Fostering Connections" legislation

The Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (At-large CM Phil Mendelson, chair) and the Committee on Human Services (Ward 6 CM Tommy Wells, chair) held a joint public hearing on B18-579, "Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Amendment Act of 2009", on October 6.   The Children's Law Center's Sharra Greer was the only public witness.   Loren Ganoe, chief of staff, represented Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) at the hearing.   Greer's testimony is on the CLC web site; Ganoe's is here.   If you missed the hearing, you can watch it here on OCT.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

DC Farm to School Week, October 12-15

By guest blogger Andrea Northup

Imagine a D.C. schoolchild travels to a farm in Maryland and harvests green, leafy kale with his classmates. The students take the kale back to their classroom and prepare a delicious dish with the help of a prominent local chef.   He tries kale for the first time in his life - and likes it!   And when he sees kale on her cafeteria tray during lunch that week, he eats it and encourages his friends to do the same.   He gains a deeper appreciation - through his complete farm-to-table experience - of where food comes from and how it can be prepared in healthy, delicious ways.

Safe Shores seeks deputy director

Safe Shores – The D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center is looking to hire a deputy director to manage the day-to-day programmatic operations of the organization.   The last date to apply is October 22.   More information is on Idealist.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Updates from the City Council

The latest from the City Council includes this press release from council Chairman Vincent Gray on the FYs 2011 and 2012 budgets and this update from the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary.

Ward 5 Gray town hall

If you missed the Ward 5 town hall co-sponsored by presumed Mayor-elect Gray, Ward 5 CM Harry Thomas, Jr. and At-large members, check out tweets using #ward5.   Also look to reporting and blogging by the likes of Mike DeBonis, Freeman Klopott, Martin Austermuhle, among others.

The next town hall will be in Ward 3 October 7 at 6:00 pm.   Details about this and other events are at One City.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Need help this budget season? Anticipate needing help at the beginning of the Gray administration?

Now more than ever, adults with political, policy, and budget experience are needed to address the challenges facing children, youth and families in the District of Columbia.   I am currently available to consult on short- or long-term projects, capacity building, and on retainer.   Learn more about what I can contribute to your work by reading this letter in which I outline my areas of expertise and rates.

FY 2011 "financial stability measures" leg and EDR

Here are the two FY 2011 budget-related items which were on the City Council's agenda today:

Drama on the dais regarding tabling youth info sharing bill

Should anyone be interested, there was a roll call vote on the tabling of B18-344, "Expanding Access to Juvenile Records Amendment Act of 2010", which was on the consent agenda for final reading at the October 5 legislative meeting.   CM Catania moved the vote be tabled; discussion about amendments ensued with lots of drama.

CM Mendelson called for the roll call vote on tabling and the votes are:   Evans (Ward 2) – yes; Graham (Ward 1) – yes; Gray (At-large, chairman) – no; Mendelson (At-large) – no; Thomas (Ward 5) – no; Wells (Ward 6) – no; Alexander – yes; Barry (Ward 8) – yes; Bowser (Ward 4) – yes; KBrown (At-large) – yes; MBrown (At-large) – no; Catania (At-large) – yes; Cheh (Ward 3) – yes.   The vote was eight yes's and five no's.   The bill was tabled.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Here we go again dealing with reduced revenue

Four days into the new fiscal year, Mayor Fenty issued Mayor's Order 2010-160, "Allocation of Spending (FY 2011)", (secure PDF; PDF from which you can copy) which reduces FY 2011 spending by $100.2 million.   Of this amount, nearly $74 million, comes from agencies serving children, youth and families.  

Will Singer responds to blog post

You may have read my October 1 blog post on the utility of the Fenty human services transition team final report to the Gray transition.   Will Singer, former Fenty administration staffer, had this to say about the post:
Lately I've been reading many Post articles (c. 1985-1994) about Oak Hill and Cedar Knoll.   The problems then were more extreme, but the general categories sound very similar to accounts from 2000-10:   escapes (including a shocking number aided and abetted by staff), overcrowding, insecure facilities with easy access to contraband, assaults inside the facilities, insufficient community-based care or alternatives to incarceration, kids getting out and committing horrible crimes, lacking mental health/substance abuse/educational services.   I strongly believe that if the problems remain the same over time, then it is an indictment of the people in charge.   Because you don't hold back, I expect you to say so.

Of course, I would argue that the Schiraldi and Schindler made an astonishing range of real improvements from 2004-10--the only period under Jerry M. of anything besides abject despair.   In addition to fixing stuff, I think they moved further towards PYD than any other contemporary agency.   As long as basic procurement/personnel problems, reacting to tragedies, and daily firefighting consume the energy of human services management, I don't see PYD and information-sharing really taking hold.

My response to Will, and to others, is that I leave assessments such as his, which are content specific, to those with greater expertise and knowledge.

Rules from September 25 DCR

First, I apologize for the delay in getting this info blogged.   Second, some important things in the hopper for children and youth, two of which are open for public comment.   Consider commenting on mental health or Medicaid rules.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Upcoming City Council hearings

Two child- and youth-related public hearings/roundtables have recently been noticed (though only the CYITC notice is posted on the council's page of such notices).   One is with the Children and Youth Investment Trust and the other about the plan for hypothermia season.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Is the Fenty human services transition team report still relevant?

Largely, yes.   And that is not an indictment of the Fenty Administration.   It is simply a reflection of the complexity of the issues.

And full disclosure, I was one of the co-leaders of the Fenty Human Services e-Transition Team.   Mustaafa Dozier was the other co-leader.

So what can the 2006 Fenty transition team report contribute to the Gray transition?   We can start with the themes common across the teams' working groups.   The themes are interagency collaboration, information sharing, procurement, and reconnecting disconnected youth.   All require attention.

It's holiday season and foster kids need us

There are many ways DC residents, businesses, nonprofits, the faith community, and civic associations can make a difference to DC children and youth who are in foster care or whose families are under the supervision of the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA).   The 2010 holiday donation drive is in full swing.   There are donation opportunities at all price points and to meet all areas of interest.   For example, CFSA is collecting Thanksgiving baskets, holiday gifts for specific children, family sponsorship, and more.

Sign up to make a donation by October 12.

Individuals, families, businesses, civic association, and tenant groups stepped up during the 2009 holiday drive, donating 4,930 toys and other gifts which CFSA gave to 1,640 children.