New City Office Aims To Help San Diego Youth During Difficult Times
The newly-passed San Diego City budget includes $350,000 to launch the Office of Child and Youth Success.
Its goal will be to coordinate resources and support for young people in the city, specifically those aged 16-24.
Warsan Artan, with the group Youth Will, said there are a lot of services out there for young people, but there was never a centralized place for young people to turn to.
“This office gives us the opportunity for the first time to create that collaboration and coordination that has been needed for way too long,” she said.
The office will help young people to find jobs, training, mental health resources, and other focused support.
The new office will be under the mayor's purview, but Artan hopes young people will be the ones to decide how the office operates and will make up much of its staff.
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“I have never met a young person, spoken to a young person who has said that their voices are included in decision-making,” Artan told KPBS. “Could be the county, could be the city, could be school level. They feel like people make decisions for them. And they’re expected to follow just because they’re a young person. And we’re hoping this office would be a central space within the city of San Diego where young people can feel that they can get involved.”
Proponents of such an office have been lobbying for its creation for 15 years. Mayor Todd Gloria originally left the office out of his budget. But six city council members pushed for its inclusion in the final budget, which passed Monday.
Other California cities, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, have such offices.
The pandemic has underscored the need for it, Artan said. Especially with 40% of the county’s children now facing nutrition insecurity.
“For the first time in the city of San Diego, we have an office where we’re like, what does a young person need? If a person is born tomorrow in the city of San Diego, what would they need to grow up to be young, successful, functional adults?” Artan asked.
Planning for the office will begin in early July.