MACo: Keep Youth Service Bureau Funding Flexible

MACo Associate Director, Barbara Zektick, and Policy Associate, Kevin Kinnally, testified in opposition of legislation (SB 784 and HB 1187) that would have a significant impact on Local Management Boards’ funding and decision-making authority when it comes to oversight of the Youth Services Bureaus.

MACo’s testimony states,

As funding for children and family services, including those for Youth Services Bureaus, has traditionally been awarded to Local Management Boards for local distribution, the shift could result in a cut to local board funding. It would also circumvent the boards’ authority to make funding decisions based on the specific needs of their communities.

Currently, Local Management Boards receive funding through the CCIF. In turn, they award funds to community-based strategies and programs, such as Youth Services Bureaus, to help deliver services that align with the local needs assessment and community plans. Local management boards make funding decisions based upon the ability of a program to locally address a critical need, fill a gap in services, meet community priorities, and demonstrate improved outcomes for the children and families serviced.

Under SB 784, Youth Services Bureaus would receive funding regardless of whether a local board has determined if it is in the best interest of the community for the program to be funded. While Youth Services Bureaus provide a specific service to jurisdictions in need, not all counties have them. In those counties, the CCIF funds are awarded to other local programs. Other counties without Youth Service Bureaus may find it beneficial to channel resources elsewhere. The decision-making flexibility to channel resources to meet local needs is crucial.

SB 784 was heard by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and HB 1187 was heard by the House Appropriations Committee. Both hearings took place on March 7, 2017. Pamela Brown, Executive Director of the Anne Arundel County Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families joined the MACo staff in opposition to this bill.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 Legislative Session here.