Last week, Children’s Home & Aid, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, released the third annual Fiscal Scan. Enshrined into law by Public Act 100-0818, The Fiscal Scan of Illinois Public Investments, Ages 8-25, is an analysis of public investments that directly impact youth. Rather than organizing the analysis by agency and program, we look at the state budget as 6 interconnected goals (Safe, Stable, Healthy, Connected, Educated, Employable), how the agency’s programming fits into each goal, and what service method was used. The analysis gives us a deeper understanding into whether the state is providing the necessary supports for this age group to flourish.
The investments support the finding that a person’s brain is still developing well into their 20’s; as a result, we must continue to invest in youth and young adults to prolong the early childhood investments. The Fiscal Scan also shows that the youth developmental goals are interconnected and all 6 are needed for youth to thrive. The importance of these points highlight that the state of Illinois, funders and service providers must approach funding and policy for youth collaboratively and move away from the traditional practice of focusing on individual programs and specific state agencies.
Our hope is that the Fiscal Scan will start conversations that begin to address that all youth do not have the same needs or have the same circumstances and to that end, how do we, as a state, ensure we are investing in youth and are advocating for approaches that distribute interventions, services, and resources equitably.
The key takeaways are the following but not limited to:
- $5.9 billion or 8.5% of the state’s budget was invested in whole or in part in programs and services that reach children and youth between the ages of 8 and 25
- In FY2019, investments in positive youth development increased by $67 million – an 8% increase from FY2018
- While thirteen agencies increased investments in children and youth in 2019, four agencies experienced a decrease
- We need more agencies investing in youth and young adults. Only 6 agencies represent 98% of total investments
To learn more about the Fiscal Scan or our policy work with older youth and young adults, please contact Kiara Jackson, Youth Policy Advocate, at firstname.lastname@example.org.