The Youth Budget Commission (YBC) produces The Fiscal Scan of Illinois Public Investments in Children and Youth, Ages 8-25. The Commission has met since 2019 and is co-chaired by Representative La Shawn Ford and Brightpoint CEO Michael Shaver, and staffed by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The YBC believes all youth will thrive if they are stable, safe, healthy, educated, employable and connected. 


The Fiscal Scan has been produced annually since FY18 and is a factual accounting of how state and federal public dollars were spent on youth and young adults ages 8 to 25. In FY21, there were 3.2 million children and youth residing in Illinois with $6.3 billion were spent on youth 8 to 25 across the six developmental goals. 

The Fiscal Scan began in 2015 thanks to the generous support of the Chicago Community Trust, partnered with the Federation for Community Schools, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and United Way of Illinois, to develop a new analysis of the state budget. Looking at the budget as a series of interconnected goals rather than a list of departments and programs, the Fiscal Scan of Illinois Public Investments in Children and Youth Ages 8-25, examines how much public funding is invested in youth ages 8-25 by key developmental area. This approach gave us deeper insight into whether or not the state is providing the necessary supports to allow these youth to flourish. 

In 2018, this analysis was formalized by the state with the enactment of PA100-0818 , which created the Youth Budget Commission, a legislative effort spearheaded by Children’s Home & Aid, now Brightpoint, and the Start to Finish Coalition (S2F). The 15-member Youth Budget Commission appointed by the Governor oversees the creation of the scan each year.  

This work raises — and begins to answer — questions about how to ensure that resources are invested equitably, and in a way that ensures the best results. One thing we know is that the state of Illinois, funders and service providers must approach funding and policy for youth collaboratively, moving away from the traditional practice of focusing on individual programs and specific state agencies. The Youth Budget Commission and the Fiscal Scan of Illinois Public Investments in Children and Youth Ages 8-25 supports developing an approach in Illinois to tracking investments in older youth and young adults over time, comparing these investments to program outcomes, and making these data publicly available. These efforts, along with a mobilized community committed to the premise that all youth can thrive, will help ensure that Illinois youth become self-sufficient adults who lead exceptional lives. We invite you to join us as we work to complete our commitment to youth! 

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Our Approach & Policy Agenda

The Ahlquist Center is to analyzes, develops, and changes policies, systems, and practices impacting children, youth, and families in Illinois and nationally to improve outcomes and support thriving.

The Ahlquist Agenda Podcast

The Youth Budget Commission brings together a diverse group of youth and young adult policy and practice professionals appointed by the Governor to examine the impact of the State’s budget on youth across Illinois. 

Our Projects

Brightpoint, through its Ahlquist Center for Policy, Practice, & Innovation, works with state government and partner organizations to develop and implement programs to enrich the lives of youth and families.


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