In March, the White House released its proposed fiscal year 2020 budget (FY20) in which they requested $58 million for the OJJDP Youth Mentoring Program grant housed at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). This request is a $37 million cut from the current funding of $95 million. As Congress works on their appropriations bills (which fund the Youth Mentoring Grant and all federal programs), we will keep you updated on the requested funding levels from the House and the Senate and important actions you can take to support efforts to protect and increase funds for the Youth Mentoring Grant. As a reminder FY20 begins on October 1, 2019, so you can expect this work to continue throughout the summer and into the fall.
In March and April, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees accepted letters of support from their fellow Representatives and Senators, known as Dear Colleague letters, for specific programs in the federal budget. Robust support from members of Congress can help demonstrate strong support for and the importance of a program to Appropriators.
MENTOR and our partners worked closely with our congressional champions as they led letters of support to the House and Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittees which fund the Youth Mentoring Grant. In the House, Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL) led a bipartisan letter with over 105 of their colleagues representing over 35 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam to the Subcommittee. In the letter they explained how:
“…mentoring programs are able to support young people through focusing on specific youth outcome areas like academic achievement, career exploration, college access, leadership development, life skills, resiliency, civic engagement and family support. ”
In the Senate, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) led a letter of support to the Subcommittee with 26 of his colleagues representing over 20 states. In the letter they noted that
“…despite the clear benefits of mentoring, the average mentoring program has 63 young people on their waitlist, a challenge that can be solved by an increased investment in their future. ”
In addition, a coalition of national and local youth-serving organizations collectively wrote a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of the Youth Mentoring Grant emphasizing how mentoring can help build bridges in communities and support positive outcomes for young people.
As the appropriations process progresses, MENTOR will call on mentoring advocates to use their voices to encourage members of Congress to support an increased investment in the Youth Mentoring Grant through our advocacy tool that allows everyone to email and tweet your Member of Congress in just a few minutes.
Please be sure to also check back here for more updates from the Government Relations team as the FY20 appropriations process continues in Congress.