NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Children and Youth Planning Board has announced a multi-year push of transformative wins among community members and organizations working toward equity and well-being for New Orleans youth. The local planning board is one of three organizations stewarding the New Orleans Youth Master Plan, a 10-year, citywide strategy to set the stage for all New Orleans children and youth to achieve their full potential and build youth leadership. Joining CYPB as partners in this initiative are the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families and the New Orleans Youth Alliance.
This summer marks the two-year anniversary of the Youth Master Plan’s implementation phase, resulting in collaboration with many community organizations and City departments to implement and monitor tangible gains for New Orleans youth through improvements in six areas: health and well-being; safety and justice; space and place; learning; economic stability; and youth voice, agency and identity.
Included in the current list of wins for youth are innovative pilots and youth-centered investments in areas such as public transportation, non-punitive school culture, youth mental health, and more. These wins exemplify collective progress for the city’s 111,871 young people, from birth to age 24, and their families. Key wins include:
- Several NOLA Public Schools will pilot a holistic approach to supporting students’ academic success and healthy development through the multidisciplinary support team model COST (Coordination of Services Team).
- Every child born in New Orleans will receive free home-nurse visits, connecting parent and child to well-being resources, through the New Orleans Health Department’s Family Connects program.
- Twelve youth ages 18-24 received Mental Health First Aid Training in Spring 2023 to understand, cope, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges, with more trainings for youth to come.
- And more…
“I hope to see more youth become aware of the Youth Master Plan,” said Sofia Chavez, CYPB Youth Advisory Board secretary and rising senior at Mount Carmel Academy High School. “As the world continues on, as imperfect as it is, having an educated coalition of young people and open-minded adults can put a stop to the issues faced by young people not only in New Orleans but also in the rest of the world.”
Stewards of the Youth Master Plan communicated that these victories are just a few of the many current wins for youth and their families, with more to come. With eight years of the plan’s timeline ahead, CYPB is looking toward the future, building on the momentum to date, and sharing the message of this roadmap for youth success with the broader community.
“There are no small wins, and every win counts. It is abundantly clear that there are a host of community providers that are getting it done for young people in New Orleans,” said Karen Evans, executive director of CYPB. “It is also clear that we have an opportunity to know each other better—to connect our existing work, identify where greater investments are needed, and lift up our collective results with coordinated data practices while considering the lived experiences of young people. In this way, we have a city where all of our young people believe that they matter and have paths that are paved well.”