Health and Family Services Cabinet
Governor Fletcher Announces Funding for After-School Teen Project; Six-county pilot begins in Barren and McCracken
FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 13, 2007) – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced $150,000 in state funding to launch an after-school project to help at-risk teens and pre-teens in two counties.
The Youth Promise Program for teens, which includes the “Smart Moves” research-based program, will begin this spring at the Boys and Girls Club of Glasgow/Barren County and the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club in McCracken County. Each club will receive $75,000 for their teen after-school efforts. The project will expand to four more counties later this year.
“This effort gives vulnerable Kentucky teenagers a strong foundation to build better adult lives,” Governor Fletcher said. “So many youth at this age who have fragile family backgrounds will get the additional support they need through this project.”
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ (CHFS) Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) is funding the early intervention project, which is one facet of DCBS’ Partners in Prevention initiative, a comprehensive strategy to care for vulnerable families and children. The after-school teen project will build on DCBS’ Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Team (START) pilot program, which assists families with substance abuse issues. These programs are being supported through the community partnerships of DCBS’ regional networks of local service providers, state agencies, volunteers and faith-based organizations.
The Youth Promise Program will target middle and high school students ages 10 to 18 who are at risk of experiencing alcohol and substance abuse, out-of-home care, school delinquency and teen parenthood. Risk factors include low income, low literacy skills, mental or physical disability, homelessness and being a foster child.
Tom Emberton Jr., CHFS’ undersecretary of Children and Family Services, said the project is an early preventive measure for teens who face issues related to drugs, alcohol and school truancy as they come into maturity.
“The Youth Promise Program is similar to the START program in its focus on strengthening community partnerships,” he said. “It gives young adults an opportunity to learn the health and life skills they need to resist unsafe situations and behaviors. This initiative can help instill discipline and decision-making abilities in teens whose parents are unable to positively guide them because of substance abuse and other issues.”
Shannon Stockstill, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Glasgow/Barren County, said this project can provide long-term benefits to a vulnerable population.
“This will be more than a diversion program,” Stockstill said. “Many of the teens we’re trying to reach have never experienced the pride or confidence that it takes to be independent, goal-oriented adults. With this multi-faceted program, we can identify the disadvantaged teenagers and give them the opportunity to grow.”
The project will implement the Smart Moves and Five Promises programs.
Smart Moves – Skills, Mastery and Resistance Training – is a life-skills program developed by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. It uses a team approach and encourages individual participation to educate teens about the problems of drug and alcohol use and premature sex.
The Five Promises are defined by the nonprofit America’s Promise – the Alliance for Youth as a framework to shape children’s development. The promises are: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education and opportunities to help others. Research by America’s Promise shows that the more promises a young people have in their lives, the more successful they will be.
Participant recruitment will be in coordination with local organizations and partners including representatives from the courts, Family Resource and Youth Services Centers and schools.
DCBS will provide ongoing administrative and technical support and training to the local organizations that will manage the after school projects.
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