Saturday, April 30, 2011

Twenty-one free webinars for nonprofits

Want to build your skills?   Hone a skill you already have?   Take a look at this list of free webinars for nonprofits pulled together by Wild Apricot.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

They only hit until you cry

Wrapping up Child Abuse Prevention Month with "Luka" by Suzanne Vega recorded back in the 1980s.   It's about child abuse:
If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble. some kind of fight
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was

I think it's because I'm clumsy
I try not to talk too loud
Maybe it's because I'm crazy
I try not to act too proud

They only hit until you cry
After that you don't ask why
You just don't argue anymore

What are YOU doing to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Will I see you today at the Safe Shores open house?

Learn how Safe Shores - The DC Children's Advocacy Center provides intervention, hope and healing to children and families hurt by abuse at their first open house, April 28 from 4:30 - 6:30 pm.   Attendees will be treated to a facility tour, refreshments and giveaways.   Details are in the event invitation (PDF).

April 28 budget update

  • Here (Word, .doc) is CM Graham's opening statement from the April 18 budget hearing for Child and Family Services Agency.
  • The budget hearing schedule has changed.   Go here, to the City Council website (the sked's in PDF) for the latest version.
  • Here in PDF is the presentation the Department of Human Services used at their recent budget briefing.
  • Call In Day for Homeless Services, May 5:   This action is taking place from 9:00 am – Noon and details will be available soon.   The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless has more information; call them at 328-5500.

    The budget for homeless services is facing a $20 million reduction in the mayor's proposed budget. If funding is not restored by the Council, all singles shelters may have to close April 1, 2012, leaving 1,200 men and women on the streets.   Already family emergency shelters are refusing to accept any more homeless families due to lack of funds.

  • Call In Day to Address All Cuts and Revenue Proposals, May 12:   Save the date; details will be available soon from Save Our Safety Net.
  • All-Hands-On-Deck Action Day!: Safety Net Walking Tour of the Wilson Building, May 18:   Be on the lookout for details about this action from Save Our Safety Net.

Nonprofit news

  • Matt Rosen is the Arc's new Director of Advocacy and Public Policy.   Matt is assuming his new role following the resignation of TJ Sutcliffe who is has joined The Arc of the United States Governmental Affairs Office.   You can reach Matt via email or 636-2963.
  • Becca O'Connor is off to experience new challenges.   April 22 was Becca's last day at DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence.   During the search for a new policy director, folks should contact Amy Loudermilk, Senior Policy Specialist, via email with policy questions.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My tweets are now categorized by topic

My Tweets are now catalogued by Twylah.   This makes the tweets more useful.   They are already categorized so you can see those about the budget, the mayor, legislation, or an important issue such as child health or child abuse and neglect.

If you just want to see what I've been Tweeting, the latest Tweets are here.

Ward 8 budget town hall on Ch 16 tonight

You can watch the first of the Mayor Gray budget town halls in Ward 8 this evening at 8:00 pm on Channel 16.

April 27 budget update

  • The budget hearing schedule was updated April 25.
  • Housing For All Rally! May 3:   The Continuum of Housing Campaign and housing allies from around the city are rallying on May 3 and asking elected officials where they will sleep if funding is not restored to housing programs cut by Mayor Gray.

    The rally is taking place at the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW) at 6:00 pm.

    The flier in English and Spanish are here (PDF).

  • ONE DC members and DC residents are telling City Council how Mayor Gray's budget will impact their lives.   Watch and share this video asking, How will Mayor Gray's budget affect DC's most vulnerable?

Help DOH make plans for maternal and child health programs

The Department of Health is holding two Maternal and Child Health Forums, May 4 and May 12 (fliers in English and Spanish (PDF)).   The purpose of the events is to share the results of the community environmental scan and to get feedback from forum attendees.

There are 10 maternal and child health priorities for 2011-2015.   DOH makes funding decisions based on the priorities and the scan results, focusing attention on those areas where there are program gaps.

If your organization has not participated in the environmental scan, there is still time; complete the scan (Word, .doc) and return to DOH ASAP.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's the matter here?

If you don't think child abuse is prevalent, that you don't see it or that you can do nothing about it, watch this video of 10,000 Maniacs performing "What's the Matter Here?".

Consider some of the lyrics from this late 1980s alternative rock song:
That young boy without a name. Anywhere I'd know his face.
In this city the kid's my favorite to see I've seen him I see him every day.
Seen him run outside looking for a place to hide from his father the kid half naked
And said to myself "O what's the matter here?"

I'm tired of the excuses everybody uses
He's their kid I stay out of it
But who gave you the right to do this?

. . . .

And instead of love and the feel of warmth you've given him these cuts and sores that don't heal with time or with age.

This and that from and about the government

  • The Committee on the Judiciary's April 25 update is now available in PDF.
  • The mayor's budget town hall list in flier form is here (PDF).   The next event is being held May 2 in Ward 4.
  • If you missed the April 20 Mayor Gray presser in Freedom Plaza, watch it on-demand here on OCT.
  • The Department of Parks and Recreation has released the 2011 DC Spring/Summer Fun Guide.   The guide contains a variety of spring and summer activities for children and youth.   Also included is information about the DC Free Summer Meals Program, DC Public Library Summer Reading Programs and Summer Youth Employment Program.
  • Ward 4 State of the Schools, May 7:   This event, featuring DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson and co-hosted by Ward 4 CM Muriel Bowser, takes place May 7 from 10:00 am-1:00 pm at Brightwood Education Campus (1300 Nicholson St NW).   Attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about Ward 4 DCPS, interact with Ward 4 school leadership, meet fellow parents and community members, and share ideas about how to improve Ward 4 DCPS.   Refreshments will be served and childcare will be provided.   If you would like additional information or to RSVP, contact Davida Crockett at 724-8052 or via email.
  • ANC 7A has a new website.
  • ANC 2B's new website lets folks sign up for emails and shares information via its blog.   The latest update is about the Commissioners.

Monday, April 25, 2011

First budget town hall this evening at 7p

Mayor Gray's first budget town hall is tonight in Ward 8 (Monday, April 25, 7:00 pm at Savoy Elementary School, 2400 Shannon Pl SE).   Those who cannot attend will be able to watch the event later on Channel 16; OCT is taping it though not streaming it live.   More about the town halls is here in a previous blog post.

Mayor Gray on education in Ward 6 April 26

Mayor Gray will join Ward 6 residents April 26, from 5:30 - 7:00 pm at Logan School (215 G St NE in the auditorium) to talk education.   This event follows up on a campaign trail education discussion hosted by a Capitol Hill resident.

Budget update, April 25

  • Department of Health budget briefing, April 28:   The DOH public briefing on their FY 2012 proposed budget is April 28 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at DOH (899 North Capitol St NE, 4th Floor Conference Room).   Space is limited; RSVP (required) to DCFPI's Jenny Reed via email by April 26.

    Send questions to Jenny Reed via email by April 26.   This will allow DOH time to prepare responses.

    DOH staff will explain the budget; this will be followed by Q&A from participants.   DOH reps will be:

    Mohammad N. Akhter, MD, MPH, DOH director

    LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, MD, MPH, Senior Deputy Director, Community Health Administration

    Feseha Woldu, PhD, Senior Deputy Director, Health Regulation and Licensing Administration

    Kimberly Jefferies Leonard, PhD, Senior Deputy Director, Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration (UPDATED 4/25 2:20p)

    Beverly Pritchett, Senior Deputy Director, Health and Emergency Preparedness and Response Administration

    Fern Johnson-Clarke, PhD, Senior Deputy Director, Center for Policy, Planning, and Evaluation

    Gregory Pappas MD, PhD, Senior Deputy Director, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration

  • DC Jobs Council's Marina Streznewski testified before the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development on April 21 about the Department of Employment Services proposed budget.   Her testimony is here (Word, .doc) (UPDATED 4/25 7:34a).
  • Kathryn Baer, known best as author of the blog Poverty & Policy has joined the Twitterverse and will be tweeting all things budget!   Follow Kathryn here (@kathrynbaer).

Do you want to fight childhood hunger? Want to join me in bake sales in May?

Is anyone interested in participating in a bake sale to raise money for the SOS Great American Bake Sale effort?

I'm thinking we get a bunch of people to bake and sell the items in the JAWB each day of the FY 2012 budget mark-up process (May 10 - 12) and again on the first vote on the budget (May 24).   I am willing to organize bakers, make fliers, etc.   But others are needed to bake, do promotion and blogging, help set-up each day, and man the event.

If you are interested, please let me know by April 27 via email.

NOTE:   Participating is also self-serving.   You will get to meet decision-makers and talk with them informally about your issues.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Get your hands dirty at The Farm at Walker Jones

Enjoy the great weather in the great outdoors while doing great work with great people at The Farm at Walker Jones.   The Farm is open Sundays from Noon - 4:00 pm for Community Workdays; deets here.

Help is needed to weed and edge the beds, split the plants and many more garden-related tasks.   All volunteers will get a logo t-shirt, too!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Conversation with Beth Kanter: Networked Nonprofits and Social Media

This free GuideStar webinar, A Conversation with Beth Kanter: Networked Nonprofits and Social Media, is being held April 27 at 1:00 pm.

Participate to learn how nonprofits can benefit from social media.   Join nonprofit social media expert Beth Kanter and GuideStar's Inga Broerman in a conversation about nonprofit leveraging of social media for social good.

Register now online.

April 21 budget update

  • The budget hearing schedule has been updated.   The April 21 edition is here (PDF).
  • Parent Melissa Rohan testified at two hearings this budget season.   Here's her testimony from the Committee of the Whole hearing on DC Public Schools (Word, .doc) and from the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation hearing on DC Public Library (Word, .doc).
  • Q&A for Department of Employment Services has been posted by Committee on Housing and Workforce Development.
  • The Q&As for Public Service Commission, Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking; and Office of People's Counsel have been posted.   These agencies are the under the purview of the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs.
  • The Committee on the Judiciary has posted a Q&A link but no FY 2012 information has been posted yet.
  • City Council Chairman Kwame Brown has posted a video on the budget process.
  • If you've not been reading DCFPI's The District's Dime, you are missing out on some great analyses of the mayor's proposed FY 2012 budget.   Recent blog posts include Cutting off a lifeline: Interim Disability Assistance Faces Potential Elimination; As the Economy Recovers, Mayor Gray’s proposed FY 2012 Budget Leaves Little Room for Affordable Housing and The FY 2012 Budget: An Unbalanced Approach on Budget Cuts
  • …With Housing and Justice For All, the blog of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, has been educating the community about the negative impact the cuts contained in Mayor Gray's FY 2012 budget will have on low-income residents.
  • Kathryn Baer's thoughtful blogging identifies shortcomings of the mayor's proposed budget.   We can expect more posts as the City Council considers the budget and moves to mark-up the Gray proposal.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Learn about hope and healing at Safe Shores open house April 28

Learn how Safe Shores - The DC Children's Advocacy Center provides intervention, hope and healing to children and families hurt by abuse at their first open house, April 28 from 4:30 - 6:30 pm.   Attendees will be treated to a facility tour, refreshments and giveaways.   Details are in the event invitation (PDF).

WPFW hosts candidate debate today, 10a - Noon

The WPFW studio will be the site of the final broadcast debate for the April 26 special election for At-Large DC Council.   The two-hour debate will begin at 10:00 am on April 21; listen on the radio (89.3FM) or online.

All candidates who qualified for the ballot have been invited:   Sekou Biddle, Tom Brown, Dorothy Douglas, Arkan Haile, Joshua Lopez, Patric Mara, Vincent Orange, Alan Page, and Bryan Weaver.

Gloria Minott of WPFW’s "Metro Watch," Nikita Stewart of WaPo and Chuck Thies, political consultant and a host of WPFW’s "DC Politics" will ask questions and moderate the debate.

EOM telephone list (UPDATED 4/21 10:30a)

Ever wanted to know how to reach a staffer in the Executive Office of the Mayor?   Here's how:   Part 1, odd pages (PDF) OR Part 1 (alternate download site and Part 2, even pages OR Part 2 alternate download site (PDF).   Note: Ignore the document names; I got them reversed.

REVISED Mayor's budget town hall sked

Ward 1 2012 Budget Briefing
Friday, May 6, 7:00 pm at Bell Multicultural High School (3101 16th St NW)

Ward 2 2012 Budget Briefing
Monday, May 9, 7:00 pm at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (1315 8th St NW)

NEW DATE Ward 3 2012 Budget Briefing
Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 pm at Alice Deal Middle School (3815 Fort Dr NW); co-host CM Mary Cheh

NEW DATE Ward 4 2012 Budget Briefing
Monday, May 2, 7:00 pm at Brightwood Elementary School (1300 Nicholson St NW); co-host CM Muriel Bowser

NEW DATE Ward 5 2012 Budget Briefing
Wednesday, May 4, 7:00 pm at Luke C. Moore Academy Senior High School (1001 Monroe St NE); co-host CM Harry Thomas Jr.

NEW TIME Ward 6 2012 Budget Briefing
Saturday, May 7, 3:00 pm at Miner Elementary School (601 15th St NE); co-host CM Tommy Wells

Ward 7 2012 Budget Briefing
Saturday, May 7, 11:30 am at Hillcrest Recreation Center (3100 Denver St SE)

NEW LOCATION Ward 8 2012 Budget Briefing
Monday, April 25, 7:00 pm at Savoy Elementary School (2400 Shannon Pl SE)

Foster kids "STAND UP! for Fashion" May 13

The 5th Annual "STAND UP! for Fashion" CFSA Annual Teen Fashion Show takes place May 13 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm at the Holiday Inn Capitol (550 C St SW).   Admission is free.

The event features teens modeling fashion provided by Charlotte Tarantola, Stop Staring (Susie: made in the USA!), Dylan George, and Adrianna Papell.   The scenes are designed by the teens based on the clothing in the show.

More information is in the event flier (NEW LINK 4/21 10a) (PDF).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

City Council recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month

On April 5, CM Jim Graham, chair of the Committee on Human Services, introduced "Child Abuse Prevention Month Resolution of 2011."   The resolution demonstrates the City Council's "support for child abuse prevention, encourages the public to ensure the protection and care of the District’s children and families through heightened awareness and preventative services for abused and neglected children."

The resolution also identifies organizations in the District playing a role in child abuse and neglect prevention.   These include Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care and Sasha Bruce Youthwork.

Photo by Andrew Hopkins.

Mayor Gray's weekly presser, April 20

On April 20 from 10:00 - 11:00 am, Mayor Gray will hold his weekly presser at Freedom Plaza (Southeast Corner, 13th St at Pennsylvania Ave NW).   On the agenda are Earth Day, Environmental Excellence Awards, Capital Bikeshare, and the People’s Counsel Appointment.

April 20 budget update

  • The Committee of the Whole's budget hearing on the Office of the State Superintendent of Education is April 20 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.   The witness list is here.   Watch the hearing live or via computer (OCT or City Council).
  • The next Save Our Safety Net DC strategy meeting is being held April 20 at 6:30 pm at Bread for the City (1525 7th St NW).   SOS will be working on planning for large mobilizations in May, pushing forward the High Income Earner support strategy and getting their Telling the Story of the Budget Cuts art projects underway.   Call Janelle Treibitz if you have trouble finding the meeting; (646) 734-6705.
  • Amanda Hess' D.C. sexual assault, domestic violence services face budget shortfall explains the human impact of a reduced budget should the budget proposed by Mayor Vince Gray be passed by the City Council next month.   Advocates say the proposed Office of Victims Services budget shorts the community $3 million.
  • Ward 3 CM Mary Cheh has launched a survey just for Ward 3 residents.   Take the Ward 3-only budget survey here.

Free bike classes in Wards 7 and 8

Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) is offering free bicycle education for adults EoTR.   The two remaining classes, L2R, Learn to Ride, are for adults who never learned to ride a bike.   WABA uses a successful technique and bikes and helmets will be provided at no charge.   More information and registration information are on the WABA website.

Artwork is from the WABA event flier.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DC Jobs Council's Streznewski on WPFW 4/20

Marina Streznewski, Coordinator of DC Jobs Council, will guest on "What's At Stake" with Verna Avery-Brown and Esther Iverem April 20 at around 10:30 am on WPFW Pacifica Radio (89.3 FM) (and streaming live) in DC and syndicated nationally.

The program, which starts at 10:00 am, will address Black unemployment.   Streznewski will discuss some of the challenges faced by African-American and other DC residents who seek jobs but face barriers (e.g., prior incarceration, substance abuse, etc.).   She will also talk a bit about First Source.

April 19 budget update

  • The Committee on Human Services budget hearing for Child and Family Services Agency was postponed to April 20 at 10:00 am in Room 120 of the JAWB.   Technical difficulties prevented taping the hearing on Monday, thus the change.
  • The Committee on Health is holding a "Budget Open House" April 21 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm in the committee office, Suite 115 in JAWB.   Committee staffers have blocked their schedules and will be ready to chat with any advocate who feels like dropping by the office.   The goal is to provide people with an opportunity to talk with the committee staff in a more informal setting about concerns/thoughts/recommendations for how the committee should proceed with the FY 2012 budget.
  • The budget hearing schedule has changed.   Here is the April 18 edition (PDF).
  • The Committee on Public Works and Transportation has posted budget Q&A.   Agencies include WMATA and DMV.
  • Tenant Opportunity To Purchase Program public roundtable, April 19:   The Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (At-large CM Michael Brown, chair) is holding this roundtable April 19 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm in the Council Chamber.

    Thanks to the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), thousands of DC residents have become homeowners and exerted control over their housing into the future.   This will be illustrated in the first look at "We Own This", a new documentary film about DC’s tenant purchase program.

    According to a Housing for All blog post, "residents and advocates will urge the Council to protect this vital tool for preserving affordable housing."   The mayor's proposed FY 2012 budget moves $18 million from the Housing Production Trust Fund, the main source of financing for the tenant purchase program, to another housing program.   Advocates and residents report that the slowed real estate market has reduced funds going into the Housing Production Trust Fund; this has had a dramatic negative effect on the number of "tenants who can get an affordable loan from the city in order to purchase their building.   Now, the proposed $18 million cut from the Fund in the 2012 budget would essentially wipe out this funding source for new projects. Without financing from the Fund, tenant purchase will cease to be accessible to low-income residents."

    Mi Casa Inc.'s Juan Pablo Vacatello had this to say about the Tenant Purchase Program at CNHED’s Continuum of Housing Roundtable in March:

    There is return on the city’s investment. With a one-time investment, the city will receive back money from interest and principal payments from the loan. At the same time, tenant purchase is a unique tool that can be used to leverage significant private funds through public investment. The city’s investment can be one of the most cost-effective tools in terms of low-income housing preservation, especially in neighborhoods where replacement of affordable units lost would be much more expensive.

    Watch the roundtable on Channel 13, via the City Council's website (select Room 500) or via the OCT website (select Channel 13 and then on-demand).

Did you know you can share posts?

Did you know you can easily share blog posts?   You can share in a variety of ways including by Twitter, email and Facebook.   Click on the appropriate icon under the post you want to share and there ya go!

Monday, April 18, 2011

CFSA budget hearing today at 11:00 am - POSTPONED

The Committee on Human Services (Ward 1 CM Jim Graham, chair) is holding a hearing on the proposed FY 2012 budget for Child and Family Services Agency today at 11:00 am in Room 123 of the Wilson Building.   Watch live or via computer (select Room 123).   The witness list for the hearing is here (Word, .doc).   Follow me on Twitter or use Twitter Search to follow #dcfy12 to follow the hearing happenings.

UPDATE 4/19 6a:   The CFSA hearing has been postponed to April 20 at 10:00 am.

Summary of CFSA budget briefing

CFSA Director Roque Gerald, COS Loren Ganoe and AFO Justin Kopca briefed the community on the mayor's proposed FY 2012 budget on April 11.   The briefing consisted of agency staff walking attendees through a detailed presentation (PDF) and questions and answers, some of which were submitted in advance of the hearing.

Some issues discussed included the discontinuation of the substance abuse MOU with DOH, CFSA staffing versus contracting and services and permanency for older youth.   My summary of the CFSA briefing is here (Word).

April 18 budget update

  • Mayor's budget town halls:   The town halls start in Ward 3 on April 21; the mayor's team will travel to each ward to brief the community on what is in the FY 2012 budget proposed by Mayor Gray.   The schedule was posted on this blog April 14.
  • Briefing on the DHS proposed FY 2012 budget:   DCFPI is hosting this budget briefing with Deborah Carroll, Interim Director of the Department of Human Services April 21, from 9:30 – 11:00 am at DC Fiscal Policy Institute (820 First Street, NE 4th Floor).   This is your chance to hear a discussion of proposed changes to agency programs, including cuts to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Interim Disability Assistance and homeless services.

    RSVP to Aleksandra Gajdeczka of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, via email.   If you have questions, submit to Aleksandra Gajdeczka by April 19.   They will be consolidated and shared with DHS in advance.

  • Agency Q&A for Gov Ops online:   The agency questions and answers from the Committee to Government Operations and the Environment are online.
  • Walking tour of Ward 1 to learn how the proposed budget cuts will negatively affect vital services for neighbors:   If you want to learn more about your community, are confused or angry about proposed DC budget cuts or don't know how to get involved, this event is for you.

    Save Our Safety Net and the Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative are hosting a walking tour of five organizations that provide vital services to make Ward 1 the great community that it is.   Join the walk and learn how they will be affected by Mayor Gray's proposed cuts.   CMs Jim Graham (Ward 1) and Sekou Biddle (At-large) are invited to the tour.

    The tour starts at the Columbia Heights Metro station at 5:30 pm and will conclude at 6:30 pm.   Join the hosts and walkers for Happy Hour from 6:30 - 7:30 pm at Alero Restaurant (3345 14th St NW) to learn about the history of Columbia Heights, why budget cuts matter for everyone, and how you can connect with many great organizations which will also be at the event.

    To learn more or to send in a letter of support about how you or your organization will be affected by proposed cuts, go to the Save Our Safety Net website.   More about the event is also on Facebook.

  • Catania's assessment of Department of Health Care Finance proposed FY 2012 budget:   On April 14, CM Catania, chair of the Committee on Health, issued a press release following the DHCF budget hearing.   The release reads,
    DHCF has committed to making significant strides in coordinating with sister agencies, such as the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and Child and Family Services Administration, to increase Medicaid reimbursement for services provided by those agencies in the 2012 fiscal year. The efforts would result in fewer services being paid for with strictly local funds. Catania praised the establishment of a Medicaid Billing Task Force to work with the billing organization and all the partner agencies to increase billing to Medicaid.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

CM Graham concerned about dramatic changes to TANF

Ward 1 CM Jim Graham, chair of the Committee on Human Services, recently asked Deborah Carroll, interim director of the Department of Human Services, about the proposed FY 2012 budget for the city's welfare program TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).   The CM informed some advocates of this communication in the following email.   The first message is from the CM to advocates; the second from the CM to Carroll:

I wanted to share this email that I have sent to DHS Interim Director Carroll. I am going to oppose the proposed reductions until I am assured there is a real plan to provide real support that is consistent with the needs and strengths of TANF families. I will need your support on this.

Bests, Jim

Director Carroll,

Please confirm whether the planned 20% reduction in TANF benefits for families in the program in excess of 60 months went into effect yesterday, April 1. If so, how many families as of April 1, are affected?

I know the DC Auditor is prepared to initiate their process

As you know, Mayor Gray has announced future reductions in FY 12 - FY 14 along with stricter sanctions. The program will be virtually eliminated by the end of FY14.

I am very concerned with TANF reductions given the absence of a comprehensive assessment tool and a robust, engaging employment readiness and job placement strategy. The Mayor indicated to me there is in place a much stronger relationship between DHS/IMA and DC Community College and DOES job placement programs. To date, I have not seen evidence of either. Please provide details of the partnership and # of referrals / TANF placements at both DOES and the Community College.

Also, please identify the most effective TEP program that is currently serving TANF beneficiaries. I want to visit the program and talk with participants.

Finally, I am very concerned with the delay in releasing the RFP for the enhanced TEP program. Please explain in detail the delay and where is the bottleneck that is delaying the release.

Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham

Learn more about Columbia Heights, an example of a networked neighborhood

Networked Neighborhood is the result of Kara Hadge's study, "Networked Neighborhood:   Hyperlocal Media and Community Engagement in Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C."   On the site you will find a news aggregator/visualization tool powered by Dipity, a chapter on the history of Columbia Heights and Hadge's thesis examining "the use of hyperlocal media in one neighborhood to see if the potential for increased community engagement has been realized at such a micro-level."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Take a stand for greater City Council transparency

If you want more budget-related information posted on the City Council website, join others in signing onto a letter to Council Chairman Kwame Brown.   Nothing complicated is being asked for, just for all the agency questions and answers to be posted in a timely manner and for written responses from the public to questions asked from the dais to be posted as well.

If you would like to sign on, please do so by 5:00 pm April 18 by emailing me your name and Ward of residence if you are signing on as an individual or organization name if signing on as an org.

Observations on DYRS budget hearing

Here (PDF) are some observations I made of the April 7 budget hearing on the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.

Note that the DYRS budget hearing will continue May 5 at 10:00 am.

NOTE: The link to the document was fixed 4/15 at 10:25a. Apologies for inconvenience.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mayor's budget town hall meeting schedule (finally)

Ward 1 2012 Budget Briefing
Friday, May 6, 7:00 pm at Bell Multicultural High School (3101 16th St NW)

Ward 2 2012 Budget Briefing
Monday, May 9, 7:00 pm at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (1315 8th St NW)

Ward 3 2012 Budget Briefing
Thursday, April 21, 7:00 pm at Alice Deal Middle School (3815 Fort Dr NW)

Ward 4 2012 Budget Briefing
Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 pm at Brightwood Elementary School (1300 Nicholson St NW)

Ward 5 2012 Budget Briefing
Tuesday, April 26, 7:00 pm at Luke C. Moore Academy Senior High School (1001 Monroe St NE)

Ward 6 2012 Budget Briefing
Saturday, May 7, 2:00 pm at Miner Elementary School (601 15th St NE)

Ward 7 2012 Budget Briefing
Saturday, May 7, 11:30 am at Hillcrest Recreation Center (3100 Denver St SE)

Ward 8 2012 Budget Briefing
Monday, April 25, 7:00 pm at Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) (1901 Mississippi Ave SE)

April 14 FY 2012 budget update

  • Public schools budget analyst extraordinaire Mary Levy will be joining the staff of the Committee of the Whole to help with the DCPS budget.   She will start shortly.
  • Mary Levy testified before the Committee of the Whole April 11 on the DCPS budget and had this to say:
    DCPS provides local school budgets elsewhere, but these account for only $483 million of the total proposed budget of $827 million.   That leaves $344 million largely unaccounted for.   There is no way to evaluate the District’s largest agency budget on the basis of what is before us.   Nor should you have to, since the D.C. Official Code § 1-204.52 and § 38-2831 require much more detail than is given here, including the specification of all services delivered directly to students, regardless of whether they are funded in central or local school accounts.

    The rest of her testimony is here (Word, .doc) and her attachment is here.

  • Fighting Back Against the Budget Cuts is the theme of the April 16 Gray Panthers of Metropolitan Washington monthly meeting. The event is being held from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at Tenley-Friendship Library (4450 Wisconsin Ave NW, Tenleytown/AU Metro).   Speakers will be Roger Newell, Teamsters Union; Linda Leaks, Empower DC; and Joan Drake, Convener, GPMW.
  • The Committee on Health is holding a hearing on the proposed FY 2012 Department of Health Care Finance budget April 14 at 10:00 am in Room 412.   Watch the hearing on the City Council website (select Room 412).   The witness list for the hearing is here (Word, .doc) and the advance Q&A are on the Council's website.
  • The Committee of the Whole has posted responses from DC Public Schools, University of the District of Columbia, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, and Office of Zoning.
  • There is a briefing on the proposed FY 2012 OSSE budget April 18 from 9:00 – 10:30 am at OSSE (810 First St NE, Room 9014).   Space is limited; RSVP via email.
  • The second half of the budget hearing for the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services is May 5 at 10:00 am in Room 123.
  • If you are not reading budget analyses from DC Fiscal Policy Institute, start now!   Check them out here.

Healthy Schools Amendment Act working groups

The Committee on Government Operations and the Environment is convening two working group meetings to discuss each part of the bill in depth, understand concerns, and improve the bill.   The public is encouraged to attend.   The meetings are:
  • Thursday, April 14 at 2:00 pm in Room 401 of the JAWB.   At this Thursday’s meeting, attendees will go section-by-section through HSA 2011 and try to address all concerns.
  • Thursday, April 28 at 2:00 pm in Room 401 of the JAWB.   Attendees will review any sections that were not reviewed at the first meeting, discuss the revised draft of the bill, and then invite discussion on any other ideas for improving health, wellness, and nutrition in schools.

Email Drew Newman if you plan on attending either of these meetings.

A public hearing for this bill has been scheduled for May 5 at 2:00 pm. If you are interested in testifying, contact Aukima Benjamin at 724-8062 or via email.   This bill is on-schedule to be voted on in May and June so that it can take effect in August 2011, before the new school year begins.

Tune in to "DC Politics with Eugene" April 14 at 11a

Tune in today from 11:00 am - Noon for WPFW's "DC Politics with Eugene" with Eugene Dewitt Kinlow and Chuck Thies.   Mike DeBonis from The Washington Post will liven things up as the hosts talk with At-large CM Michael Brown and At-large candidate Pat Mara.

Listen on the radio (89.3FM) or streaming online.   And remember, you can send questions or comments to Kinlow and Thies via Twitter (@DiscussDC) or email.

DOH needs your assistance to achieve obesity reduction goals

The Department of Health (DOH) is asking the public to evaluate the city’s progress towards addressing the eight goals of the District of Columbia’s Overweight and Obesity Action Plan.   The feedback will help DOH improve existing services and develop plans for future programs.

To help, go online and describe your organization's current programs and outcomes and identify which of the eight goals best describes your program.   If your organization addresses more than one area, use a separate form for each.   Return completed forms by April 22 via email to Autumn Saxton-Ross.   Call (202) 442-9018 for more information.

The action plan is available from DOH at 300 E St NW 899 North Capitol St NE 3rd Floor (UPDATED 4/14, 11a) and on online in PDF.   The eight goals are also online.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fundraising for Workforce Development Professionals, April 27

DC Jobs Council is hosting the latest in their professional development series April 27 from 10:00 am - Noon.   The event is being held at the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation (1250 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 800).   Registration is required and space is limited; complete this form and email it to Marina Streznewski.   You will receive a confirmation email message from Marina at least two business days prior to the session.   Email any questions to Marina.

Only one mug rug left! You can still help Safe Shores!

My contributions to Child Abuse Prevention Month are to promote events and do a little public education AND raise some money for Safe Shores - DC Children's Advocacy Center.   I hope you will help out with the latter.   All you've got to do is make a $20 donation to Safe Shores; when you do, I will give you Mug Rug #5.

So, if you want to make a difference in the lives of child victims of sexual or physical abuse, email me and we'll go from there.

Mug Rug #5:
This simple mug rug is 6" x 9.75".

1550+ sq ft space available on 16th Street

The Washington Ethical Society is seeking a new, long-term renter for our classroom or meeting space. We have three small-medium rooms; one large (dividable) room; one secured office; and one additional office/lounge. All classrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, recent flooring and paint. The entire building underwent extensive renovation in 2008, including spacious new bathrooms and elevator accessibility to both levels. One classroom has an in-room bathroom with pediatric toilet and sink. Our tenant could also have access to our new, commercial kitchen; our newly re-fenced, large playground; our large main hall space with stage (seats 200); and our generously sized social hall with adjoining service counter. Our tenant could have access to 5 parking spaces directly behind our building, with alley access. We are located at 7750 16th St. NW, across the street from a bus stop on the S4 line and an easy walk from the Silver Spring metro station. We are a humanistic religious congregation; our Sunday School uses our classrooms on Sunday mornings. We welcome applications from schools, social service agencies, eldercare centers, therapists, and similar. Please address all inquiries to Christine Parcelli at or 202-882-6650 x11.

New community media outlet

The Capital News is the new kid in town.   It is the voice for "the untold stories" of underrepresented areas and stories of the District’s population.

Here's more FY 2012 budget information

  • is the latest tool Mayor Gray is using to connect with the public about his proposed budget.   The mayor has said those with questions about the budget should use this email; barring inundation, all emails will receive a response.
  • The Council's budget hearing schedule was updated April 12; find it here.
  • The hearing on the FY 2012 proposed budget for the Department of Health Care Finance is April 14 at 10:00 am.   DHCF's responses to the Committee on Health's questions are on the City Council website.
  • Subtitles of the FY 2012 budget support act have been assigned to standing committees; the list is here (PDF).
  • The Fair Budget Coalition is holding a rally April 20 at Noon at the John A. Wilson Building to tell the City Council that essential services must be funded in the FY 2012 budget.   More information is in the event flier (Word, .doc).
  • The Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation's Ellen London has made a good case for business support of summer programs for children and youth in "Commentary: Businesses can help keep summer camps open."   London explains the value of quality youth programming and the need for corporate support in the absence of government funding.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sign on to promote greater Council transparency

Easy access to information is the foundation of transparency.   You can take a stand for improved City Council transparency by signing on to the letter below.   Nothing complicated is being asked for, just for all the agency questions and answers to be posted in a timely manner and for written responses from the public to questions asked from the dais to be posted as well.

If you would like to sign on, please do so by 5:00 pm April 18 by emailing me your name, organization (if applicable) and Ward of residence (if applicable).

The letter is below and also here (Word, .doc).

Dear Chairman Brown:

The broadcasting of the hearings and simulcast for computer users is an excellent tool for allowing DC residents, advocates, providers, and other stakeholders to keep track of City Council actions.   Posting the videos on the website and rebroadcasting hearings on OCT and television make the hearings widely available and is applauded.

But we believe two changes can improve the utility of the broadcasting of hearings.   Both are in keeping with your commitment to budget and more general transparency.

First, post the written questions sent by committees to agencies and invited witnesses testifying at the hearings and the written answers on both the Council website and the website of the agency or entity testifying.

Second, post questions to and responses from members of the public testifying at budget hearings; accompany response with a link to the video.   We should not lose out on the views of our peers and experts when the submissions occur after the hearing, out of public view.

Revisiting the March 17 CFSA oversight hearing

On March 17, the Committee on Human Services (Ward 1 CM Jim Graham, chair) held a performance oversight hearing of CFSA for FYs 2010 and 2011.   Items from the hearing include:

More about the April 12 DMH budget hearing

The Committee on Health (At-large CM David Catania, chair) is holding a hearing on the proposed FY 2012 DMH budget today at 10:00 am in Room 123.   You can watch the hearing in person, on Channel 13 on your television or on computer using the Council's Granicus service.
  • The Committee on Health's DMH questions and answers have been posted on the City Council website.
  • The DC Behavioral Care Association will be testifying at the hearing today. Part of what they have to say is
    The proposed reduction to MHRS funding is so serious that I believe that is important for me to state, for the record for the executive branch, and for this Committee, what we calculate the impact to be. I have reviewed certified, audited financial statements for 63% of the eight largest MHRS private providers.

    Details about this are here (Word, .doc) and will, of course, be in the full DCBHA testimony.

  • The witness list was posted on this blog yesterday.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 12 DMH budget hearing witness list

Wow! What a great surge in witness registration since last week for the Department of Mental Health FY 2012 budget hearing.   The list is here.

Witness list for DCPS budget hearing, April 11

Watching the Committee of the Whole hearing featuring only public witnesses today at 10:00 am in Room 412?   Then be sure to check out the witness list (Word, .doc) so you can easily follow along.

Remember, you can watch the hearing live on the City Council website and selecting Room 412.

Why blue for Child Abuse Prevention Month?

The Blue Ribbon Campaign began in Virginia in 1989 when Bonnie W. Finney, tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car as a way to remember her grandson who died as a result of abuse and to alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse.

"I tied a Blue Ribbon on my van antenna to make people wonder.   Why blue?   I intend never to forget the battered, bruised bodies of my grandchildren.   Blue serves as a constant reminder to me to fight for protection for our children." - Bonnie W. Finney

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reminder: CFSA budget briefing April 11

Remember that Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) is holding a briefing on the agency's proposed FY 2012 budget April 11 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm at CFSA.   More information about the event is in the invitation (PDF).

Agency FY 2012 budget Q&A

Council committees have begun posting agency questions and answers on the Council's FY 2012 budget website.

Advocacy and Learning Calendar updates

I apologize for my not-so-rigorous-updating of the calendar over the past month but I am back doing this with a whole bunch of energy.   Added to the calendar are many events ranging from skill building to advocacy, including:
  • Mediactive: Using Media in a Networked Age, April 12
  • Community Public Forum on Criminal Justice, April 19
  • Promoting What Works: A Symposium of Approaches for Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents, May 18

If you have items you think should be included in the calendar, email the information to me at least three weeks before the event is to take place.   If the event requires registration and more lead time, send the information to me accordingly.   I prefer to link to fliers on your website or blog, but am happy to post if such links are not possible.

FY 2012 budget hearing sked revised, April 7

Here (PDF) is the April 7 version of budget hearing schedule.   Be sure to check back here regularly for hearing schedule changes.

"D.C. Mayor’s Office Live" is a regular WaPo feature

Mayor Gray's April 9 participation in the WaPo-sponsored live chat was the first of two a month with the mayor or a member of the administration.

"D.C. Mayor’s Office Live" features the mayor answering online questions submitted by Post readers in real time.   Participants are asked to post their questions and subsequently vote for the best questions submitted by other readers.   Mayor Gray will then answer the most popular questions, as voted by the participating readers.

The latest list of Gray appointees, cabinet members

The list of Mayor Gray appointments was updated April 9; here it is.

Friday, April 8, 2011

More budget-related info and events

  • Individual school budgets:   Thanks to SHAPPE for sharing the news that the local school budget submissions are on the DCPS website.   You will learn about individual school decisions.
  • DC Budget Training: It's YOUR $$, Where is it Going?   This April 19, Grassroots Leadership Education Program event is sponsored by Empower DC & DC Jobs with Justice.   The event is being held from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Empower DC (1419 V St NW; U St/Cardozo Metro - Green Line, not wheelchair accessible).   RSVP to Adrienne at (202) 234-9119 or via email.   Limited child care will be available; be sure to request it when you RSVP.   Child care is being provided by the DC Childcare Collective.

    Attend this training and you will learn what Mayor Gray included in his proposed FY 2012 budget for the programs you care about.   DCFPI's Jenny Reed is the special guest.

  • $10M Cut from Treatment for Severe Mental Illness:   D.C. Behavioral Health Association's FY2012 Proposed Budget for Behavioral Health Services finds that the mayor's proposed FY 2012 budget for behavioral health services is cut by nearly $10 million from the FY 2011 budget.   The Department of Mental Health takes the worst hit with cuts of $9,762,453.   According to DCBHA, the cut will severely reduce treatment.
  • Will you stand up for mental health?   The D.C. Behavioral Health Association issued a call for budget hearing witnesses on the mayor's proposed FY 2012 budget for the Department of Mental Health (DMH).   The Committee on Health's hearing on DMH is scheduled for April 12 at 10:00 am.   Only eight people have signed up to testify.   If you want to testify on the budget, email Jonathan Antista today.
  • Tips on testifying to improve public transportation:   The Ward 7 Transportation Summit & Listening Tour yielded a wealth of information by presenters and attendees as well as a platform to identify community issues and solutions.   Because so much of public transportation is about funding, budget advocacy was addressed at the meeting.   According to the report of the meeting (PDF),
    The optimal strategy for transportation improvements in Ward 7 in FY 2012 is made up of two parts:

    First, testify before the City Council’s Committee on Public Works and Transportation about your priorities for the FY 2012 WMATA budget. The committee’s WMATA hearing is currently scheduled for April 18 at 2:00 pm in the Council Chamber.

    Second, testify at one of the spring WMATA hearings on the FY 2012 budget about the changes you would like made in Ward 7. At this hearing, present things such as route changes and better timing between rail and bus.
  • Briefing on the FY 2012 Department of Housing and Community Development and DC Housing Authority budgets:   The April Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED) April 21 monthly meeting is dedicated to a discussion of the FY 2012 budget.   An overall briefing will be given by DC Fiscal Policy Institute.   DHCD Director Robert Trent and DCHA Director Adrianne Todman will address the specific budget changes proposed in their departments.   The event is being held from Noon – 2:00 pm.   More information about the event is online.
  • Housing for All Education and Advocacy Session:   This May 3 Continuum of Housing Campaign event is being held for Continuum and faith community members who will discuss the importance of affordable housing for DC residents and offer opportunities to take action to protect affordable housing programs in this year’s budget.   Open to the public.   6:00 – 8:00 pm at Allen Chapel AME (2498 Alabama Ave SE).

Mayor's April 8 sked includes chatting live

Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s first Washington Post online chat, entitled "DC Mayor's Office Live," will debut today at 12:30 pm.   The mayor will answer questions on the District budget, the potential federal shutdown's effect on Washington and much more.   Submit a question using the link above or go to The Buzz blog to post questions and vote on other readers' questions.   Mayor Gray will answer the most popular question (plus many more, of course).

Read the rest of the mayor's schedule here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The mayor's budget town halls - will they ever be scheduled?

I keep trying to get the details about the FY 2012 budget town halls Mayor Gray and his administration have talked about.   The communications' staff tells me the schedule is almost final.   The last such report was yesterday.   Do I really believe them?   It's not about disbelief for me, it's about understanding how things work and no matter your deadline, it's not always met.

That said, the email below made my blood boil.   It's an example of how this administration is struggling with coordination and connecting those outside government with those inside who are responsible for tasks.

From: "Churchwell, Kenyon (EOM)"
To: ANC Commissioners
Sent: Wed, April 6, 2011 4:33:39 PM
Subject: 2012 Budget Town Hall Meetings

ANC Commissioners
Dear ANC Leaders,

Throughout the month of April and May, the Mayor will be engaging the community about many important issues and decisions pertaining to the 2012 budget. He will be hosting a series of Ward-wide Town Hall (Budget briefing) meetings. We would like your ANC to be one of the co-hosts for the Town Hall in your Ward. This would involve listing your name on the DC Website, assisting with promotions and recruitment of participants, and securing volunteers for the event. Details will follow regarding the date and location of the Budget briefing in your ward. We are asking that you please confirm your participation by email. Please send me an email at if you have any questions. Thank you.

Kenyon Churchwell

Kenyon S. Churchwell
Special Projects Coordinator
Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services
Executive Office of the Mayor
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 211
Washington, DC 20004

Budget hearing schedule changes

The FY 2012 budget hearing schedule has changed again. The latest (April 6) is here in PDF.

DYRS FY 2012 budget hearing witness list

Nearly 20 folks have signed up to testify (Word, .doc) at the Committee on Human Services April 7 public hearing on the proposed FY 2012 budget for the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.   The hearing will be held at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.   You can watch the hearing on Channel 13 or via live stream at OCT.

Mayor Gray all over tv and radio today

The mayor's media schedule today:
  • 8:00 - 9:00 am on WOL/XM Radio With Joe Madison
  • 9:30 - 9:45 on FOX 5
  • 10:00 - 11:00 am on WTOP’s "Ask the Mayor" With Mark Segraves

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Community budget activities and resources

  • Agency budget briefings:   A number of agencies including Child and Family Services Agency, Department of Mental Health and Department of Housing and Community Affairs will be briefing the community over the next few weeks.   The schedule is in an earlier blog post.
  • Advocacy training for adult education and literacy community:   Fair Budget Coalition is leading a free advocacy training for D.C. LEARNs members and participants April 20 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at the D.C. LEARNs office.   The training is for those who want to learn more about writing testimony.   RSVP using this link.   Direct questions to Julie Way Silverman, MSW at (202) 331-0141 ext 24 or via email.
  • Winning the Budget: Dinner and Action Session:   This free event is being held April 12 at Bread for the City (1525 7th St NW -- between P and Q Sts and two 2 blocks from Shaw/Howard Metro station on the Green Line).   Dinner is at 5:30 pm and the Information and Action segments are from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.   Child care will be provided upon request via email.   RSVP by contacting Joni Podschun, (202) 587-0524 or via email.

    Invite others to attend this exciting and important event using this Facebook invite or this flyer.

    The purpose of the meeting is to take action on the mayor's proposed budget that has some major drawbacks for low-income and vulnerable populations.   The Information and Action segments are comprised of a brief presentation and discussion on the DC budget basics, a campaign fishbowl and action break-out groups.   The break-out group format will be open like "unconferences" are.   This format provides space for people to propose whatever they want to work on and self-organize to get things done.   If you have a budget-related concern that needs constituent pressure and have the ability to continue to involve people in the fight through May, be in touch with Bread's Joni Podschun to talk about how to make the event work for you.   Contact Joni via email.

    Background on the event and the budget:

    Mayor Vince Gray’s proposed budget came out last week, and it’s not looking good. Two out of every three dollars cut from the budget come from programs that support DC residents struggling with poverty, even though these programs make up only one out of every four dollars in the entire budget. It doesn’t have to be this way. Join us next Tuesday evening to learn more about what’s in the city budget and what’s not, meet other people that care about these issues, and take action together.

    Event co-sponsors are Fair Budget Coalition, ONE DC, Continuum of Housing Campaign, Save Our Safety Net, Empower DC, and Bread for the City.

  • First Glance at Mayor’s Budget:   This post from the Continuum of Housing Campaign includes important public education and engagement events such as the May 3 "Housing for All Education and Advocacy Session" that is free and open to the public.   Attendees will discuss the importance of affordable housing for DC residents, and offer opportunities to take action to protect affordable housing programs in this year’s budget.
  • DC Advocates for the Arts' Arts Advocacy Day, April 27:   Community leaders will gather to speak out about what the District needs for the arts to thrive locally.   Registration is required and more information is available online.

Is your coffee lonely?

You can make your coffee (or tea) feel less lonely by making a $20 contribution to Safe Shores – The DC Children's Advocacy Center.   How?   When you send me $20 to pass along to Safe Shores, in your name of course, I will send you the mug rug of your choice.   A mug rug makes a colorful addition to your desk and gives your coffee cup a friend.   (There are four mug rugs still available).

Why am I asking you to do this?   I am recognizing National Child Abuse Prevention Month by making small art quilts and engaging colleagues in friends in the effort by giving them to those who make a $20 donation to Safe Shores.

Safe Shores is an amazing organization.   They provide a child-friendly, comprehensive, team-based approach to the investigation and prosecution of child abuse.   Pursuant to DC Code Section 4-1301.51, they work to reduce trauma and promote healing for child and youth victims of sexual and physical abuse and witnesses to violence through a public-private partnership known as the Multidisciplinary Team or MDT.   This partnership includes the Metropolitan Police Department, Child and Family Services Agency, Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and Children’s National Medical Center.

Their new facility, in the old Bundy School, is child-friendly and fabulous space, the perfect place for children and youth who have suffered at the hands of adults, to receive care and support.

Please help me help the kids Safe Shores helps.   Donate $20 (sending it to me, remember) and I'll send you a mug rug, a friend for your coffee cup.

Follow Tweets on the FY 2012 budget

New to the blog are two links to tracking tools you can use to follow Tweets about the District's FY 2012 budget.   The tool is to the left and will stay there until the final action is taken on the budget by the City Council.   The tools are

This year, use this new objective tool to analyze the mayor's proposed budget and Council actions

In January, I introduced a new tool, An Objective Tool for Assessing the Mayor's Proposed Budget and City Council Changes (Word, .doc).   The tool lists 10 important issues budget experts believe are important to consider when reviewing the mayor's budget proposal, City Council actions and community recommendations.   These issues include whether there are court orders connected to the agency (e.g., LaShawn, Salazar, Dixon, Jerry M., Blackman/Jones, Evans); whether there are requirements related to federal funding (i.e., Maintenance of Effort (MOE), Match); and whether the proposed change addresses or solves a structural problem.

Why use this tool?   This year, there are three reasons.   The first is that these items are real and can play a significant role in a particular agency's budgeting and practice.   Related to this is the second reason that these items speak to the complexity of the budget, moving analysis beyond the usual fairly simple and surface-level analysis.   The third is that these are the types of items that explicitly drove the development of the FY 2012 proposed budget.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mayor Gray April 6 presser time change

Mayor Vincent C. Gray will hold his weekly briefing April 6 at 2:00 pm in Room G-9 of the Wilson Building.   The agenda includes new appointments and the District government’s contingency plan in the event of a federal government shutdown.

The FY 2012 BSA fiscal impact statement

Hot off the press is the fiscal impact statement for the proposed FY 2012 BSA (PDF). UPDATED 4/5 1:00 pm: A correction was made to the document.

This and that about the proposed FY 2012 budget (updated 4/6 pm)

  • The City Council has added a tab at the top of the website specific to the FY 2012 budget.
  • You can sign up to receive updates from the City Council about legislation, hearings and meeting agendas.   I know.   Who knew?   The sign-up is part of the budget survey.   The Council's IT department reports signing up will be a stand-alone option on the website in a few weeks.
  • The City Council is doing a survey on the FY 2012 budget; it's on the City Council budget page.
  • The Budget Support Act and Budget Request Act are on the DC gov budget website and the City Council's budget page.
  • A number of DC government agencies are sponsoring or co-sponsoring community budget briefings:

Date, Time, Location Agency, RSVP, more
April 7, 3:30 - 5:30 pm at True Reformer Building (1200 U St NW)Department of Disability Services, co-hosted by the Arc of the District of Columbia and DCFPI. RSVP to the Arc via email or (202) 636-2963.
April 7, 6:30 - 8:00pm, Roosevelt High School (4301 13th St NW in the library) Briefing on DC Public School Budget, co-sponsored by the Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals, and Educators (SHAPPE) and DCFPI. Guest speaker is Lisa Ruda, Chief of Staff to Acting Chancellor Kaya Henderson.
TIME UPDATED 4/6: April 8, 3:00 - 4:30 pm, Department of Mental Health (64 New York Ave NE, 4th Floor)Department of Mental Health budget briefing, hosted by DC Behavioral Health Association. Seating is limited, so RSVP online to reserve your space.
April 8, 10:00 – 11:30 am, Department of Health Care Finance (899 North Capitol St NE, Room 6130)Department of Health Care Finance budget briefing, hosted by DHCF, DCFPI and DC Primary Care Association. Space is limited so RSVP to Jenny Reed via email by April 6.
April 11, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, Child and Family Services Agency (400 6th St SW)Child and Family Services Agency budget briefing, hosted by the agency, more information about the event is in the invitation (PDF).
ADDED 4/6 8p: April 14, 10:00 am - Noon, District Department of the Environment (1200 First St NE, Conference Room 718)District Department of the Environment, hosted by the agency. RSVP to Edna Ebanks at (202) 535-2615 by April 11.

News from DC government agencies

The Office of Partnerships and Grant Services has moved to 300 E St NW.   This is on the 3rd St side of Judiciary Square.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has been awarded nearly $1 million in Federal funds in recognition of the Income Maintenance Administration's performance in delivering "superior service" by the District’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).   More information about IMA's performance is in this press release.

DOES has issued RFPs for the In-School Year Round Youth Program.   Details are online (click on "Solicitations" and then click on "List All Opportunities").

DOES expects to issue the two Out-of-School Year Round Program RFPs on April 8.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Catania to introduce mental health and youth violence legislation April 5

At-large CM David Catania will introduce "South Capitol Street Tragedy Memorial Act of 2011" at the April 5 legislative meeting.   The act is the result of the consistent advocacy of Nardyne Jefferies, mother of one of the 2010 tragedy, and the aggressive work of the CM and the staff of the Committee on Health.

The legislation, media coverage of the introduction and other related materials are online at   The implementation timeline is here (Word, .doc).

As described in this earlier post, the legislation addresses the challenges of mental health and youth violence.   In a March 31 News Talk with Bruce DePuyt appearance, Catania said,

What we've attempted to undertake is the most comprehensive behavioral health program in the nation. We are creating something out of whole cloth that we believe, that we believe, at long last will provide kids the safety net they deserve.

Council Chairman focuses on the budget, commits to transparency

In the latest News from DC Council Chairman Brown - April 1, 2011 (PDF), the chairman dedicates a significant portion of the newsletter to the budget.

The highlights of the budget news are:

  • Public hearings will be held from April 7 to May 6 with the rest of may devoted to making revisions.   The Council is scheduled to vote on the budget June 7.
  • The FY 2012 budget process will be as transparent as possible.   The chairman has promised quick posting of budget documents following the hearings.
  • A budget questionnaire is posted on the Council's budget page.   The Council wants the community to offer comments and suggestions "to reduce government waste and increase efficiency."

Mayor Gray on News Talk With Bruce DePuyt April 5

Mayor Vince Gray is scheduled to be with Bruce DePuyt on News Talk With Bruce DePuyt from 10:00 - 11:00 am.   You can watch the interview live on NewsChannel 8.

What are you doing for Child Abuse Prevention Month?

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.   It’s a time to raise awareness about the incidence of child abuse and strengthen communities to better support children and families.

There are events being held across the city – from policy fora to training workshops to family events.   Details about the events are in the Child Abuse Prevention Month Calendar (PDF).

Safe Shores - The DC Children's Advocacy Center, for example, is offering training workshops in Wards 1, 2, 4, and 7, all co-sponsored by one or more members of the City Council.   The first 30 registrants for each training attend for free.   The schedule is here.

And in recognition of Safe Shores and their work to prevent child sexual abuse, I am giving a mug rug to the first six people who make a $20 donation to Safe Shores.   To pick the mug rug you want, visit Susie's crafty fundraiser for Safe Shores.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chairman Kwame Brown's statement on the 12 budget

On April 1, Council Chairman Kwame Brown issued the following statement about the mayor's proposed FY 2012 budget:
I want to thank Mayor Gray for sending down a structurally sound budget that reflects our mutual goals of continuing education reform and creating ways to get District residents back to work. My chief concern in my role as Chairman of the Committee of the Whole is that the school modernization program is implemented equitably throughout the District and that we adequately fund classroom instruction. I am committed to working with my colleagues to conduct rigorous oversight to ensure that any projected savings are real and that proposed tax increases do not unfairly burden any single class of taxpayers.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Aloha Lori and Pat.

I'm sad to see WaPo's Lori Aratani leave Lori's AM Buzz for a new Post post, reporting full-time on housing/development issues in DC and Montgomery County.   Lori let readers know April 1 that the new Buzz writer is Patricia Sullivan.   Good luck Lori and welcome Pat!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Need help finding budget information?

Start by going to the home of the DC budget,   Here you will find links to the range of budget information published by the executive branch.

If you are looking for the mayor's proposed FY 2012 chapters, click on "2012 Budgets by Agency."   From here, there are two ways to get to what you are looking for.   The first way, if you are only interested in the Human Support Services budget narratives and basic tables, is to go to Proposed Budget and Financial Plan - Agency Budget Chapters Part 2 (PDF).

Here are the page numbers for selected human services cluster chapters:

  • Department of Human Services (JA) (E-1)
  • Child and Family Services Agency (RL) (E-17)
  • Department of Mental Health (RM) (E-35)
  • Department of Health (HC) (E-55)
  • Department of Parks and Recreation (HA) (E-81)
  • D.C. Office on Aging (BY) (E-97)
  • Office on Latino Affairs (BZ) (E-123)
  • Children and Youth Investment Collaborative (JY) (E-131)
  • Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (AP) (E-135)
  • Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services ( JZ) (E-147)
  • Department of Disability Services (JM) (E-159)
  • Department of Health Care Finance (HT) (E-171)
  • Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (HG) (E-191)

If you are interested in the narrative and basic tables and the more detailed appendices, select Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget Chapters and Operating Appendix Tables and Capital Budgets by Agency.   Select the "human support services" link and you will be taken to a page with both sections of the budget.

Susie's crafty fundraiser for Safe Shores

In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month (April) and of the great prevention work done by Safe Shores – The DC Children's Advocacy Center, I am selling Susie-made art quilt mug rugs.

What are mug rugs?   Coasters given a fancy name by women who need something to make other than table runners and baby quilts.   (That does not describe me, by the way.   I have plenty to do; I just wanted to raise some $$$ for Safe Shores.)

The deal is this:   Each mug rug costs is worth a $20 donation to Safe Shores.   You tell me which one you want via email, you send me a check for $20 made out to Safe Shores, I send you the mug rug so you too can recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month, and I send Safe Shores all the checks.

Mug Rug #1: SOLD
At is largest point, this artfully wonky-shaped mug rug is 6.5" x 7".

Mug Rug #2: SOLD
At is largest point, this artfully wonky-shaped mug rug is 6.25" x 8".

Mug Rug #3: SOLD
This striped mug rug is 6" x 8".

Mug Rug #4: SOLD
This mug rug has a house machine appliqu├ęd on with a little decorative stitching, too.   8.5" x 7.5".

Mug Rug #5:
This simple mug rug is 6" x 9.75".

Mug Rug #6: SOLD
This is the largest of all the mug rugs and would be perfect for a tea drinker.   Can fit a small tea pot and a mug.   9.5" x 9.25".

All mug rugs are made of 100% cotton with 100% cotton batting.   They are machine pieced and quilted.   Note, if you or the person you are giving this to is allergic to cats, please don't buy.   The cat suns herself on my sewing table.

Mayor Gray releases budget to public at 11:30 am

Today from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm, Mayor Gray will hold a press briefing on his proposed FY 2012 budget.   The event is open to the public and is being held in Room G-9 in the JAWB.

DC's mental health system for youth, "a patchwork of nothing"

If one didn't know better, this would seem like the typical hyperbole:
On March 30th 2010, years of institutionalized failure cascaded into horrific violence. That night, on a front stoop on South Capitol Street SE, three young people lost their lives, another youth was murdered a short distance away, and several others were injured in a hail of gunfire.

The District’s legacy of deferred investment in youth behavioral health services and a lack of commitment to ensuring attendance in school create the conditions that make tragedy like that on South Capitol Street possible.

But it's not.   CM Catania is serious about his new piece of legislation and solving the mental health issues plaguing thousands of young people in the District and the youth violence that is often associated with it.   In fact, the CM said on News Talk with Bruce DePuyt, "What we've attempted to undertake is the most comprehensive behavioral health program in the nation.   We are creating something out of whole cloth that we believe, that we believe, at long last will provide kids the safety net they deserve."

Led by At-large CM David Catania, the City Council will be considering "South Capitol Street Memorial Act of 2011" (PDF), a comprehensive answer to the current "patchwork of programs that reach small pockets of District youth."   CMs Sekou Biddle, Tommy Wells and Chairman Kwame Brown have signed on as co-introducers of the legislation which will be introduced April 5.