Abbie Evans and Adriane Alicea, MENTOR’s Government Relations Team
March 22nd, 2018
Posted In: Uncategorized
Yesterday, Congress released the 2018 omnibus spending bill. An omnibus spending bill packages together regular appropriations bills into a single bill to be passed as one, instead of as a series of individual bills. The bill funds critical federal programs from afterschool to national service to mentoring, and we are excited to announce that The Youth Mentoring Grant housed at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has been funded at $94 million for fiscal year 2018 — $14 million more than the previous year!
This $1.3 trillion bill must now pass the House and the Senate by midnight on Friday, March 23 in order to avoid a government shutdown. In addition, the Child Protection Improvements Act, a piece of legislation that would provide universal FBI-fingerprint background checks to all youth-serving organizations, is included in the omnibus bill. This important youth safety issue has been a priority for MENTOR for over a decade. Mentoring advocates have worked tirelessly to ensure that their members of Congress know what we in the mentoring movement do: To keep young people safe, we must have all the information possible about potential volunteers and employees serving them.
We know that this milestone moment would not have happened without the support of mentoring advocates who have written, tweeted and visited their members of Congress to ask them to demonstrate their support for youth mentoring. There’s strength in numbers, and in persistence.
We thank the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Committees for understanding the powerful impact mentoring can have on a young person. We also appreciate the leadership of Rep. Jim Langevin (RI-02), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) who worked tirelessly to garner their colleagues to support the Youth Mentoring Grant through letters to the Appropriations Committees. We also thank Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28), Rep. Mike Bishop (MI-08), Senator Orrin Hatch (UT), and former Senator Al Franken, the sponsors of the Child Protection Improvements Act who have demonstrated their commitment to the safety of young people and their leadership in Congress.
While we have a victory right now, we know that the FY19 appropriations process has already begun, and we must work just as hard to protect funds for mentoring as Congress drafts appropriations bills this year. Please take a few minutes to take action and tell Congress to increase funds for mentoring to at least $100 million in FY19.
Thank you for all your work on behalf of young people and the mentoring movement.