Looking back at 20 years of Partnership…
We are documenting our History and will update this to celebrate 15 years!
June 1998: Arlington County Board and Arlington County School Board launched the Task Force on Youth to guide a community conversation to develop strategies to prevent youth risk behaviors. Along with programmatic recommendations, the Task Force recommended that the County and School Boards establish a permanent group of citizens and School and County staff who would work together to develop a consistent community agenda for Arlington’s children and their families.
December 1999: Creation of the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families. The Task Force also recommended that there be a full-time position to coordinate the work of APCYF as well as a data coordinator to provide leadership and expertise in reviewing and disseminating data.
The Boards issued a formal charge for APCYF and from that, APCYF created a mission statement: To improve the health, well being and safety of children, youth and families in Arlington through researching young people’s needs, advocating for policies and programs to meet those needs and engaging all members of the community as part of the solution.
2000: APCYF recognized the value of a common philosophy and language to engage the community in working toward “an Arlington where all children’s needs are met and their voices heard.” After careful consideration, APCYF chose the Developmental Assets® Framework from the Search Institute. This framework focuses on the role each community member can play in ensuring that all our children and teens have the “Assets” or strengths they need to become healthy, productive, and caring adults.
2001: after an extensive community process involving gathering community input, analyzing available data and researching best practices, APCYF developed a comprehensive set of recommendations to meet the stated goals. Before 2001, there was little data about the health and well-being of young people in our community. APCYF in collaboration with Arlington Public Schools, began gathering data using both the Profiles of Student Life and Behaviors “Assets” Survey, as well as the Centers for Disease Control Youth Risk Behaviors Survey (YRBS). The Partnership was able to give the community statistically valid and reliable data regarding how young people perceive growing up here in Arlington – measuring both their strengths and their risks. The Partnership continues to administer these surveys through APS. The survey results have helped the community to better design and evaluate programs to meet the identified needs of young people and leverage grant funding for additional services.
In setting initial parameters for our mission, APCYF embraced three broad goals identified by community members and County and school staff serving on the Task Force on Youth:
- School Readiness and Success
- Activities and Opportunities for Youth and
- Health and Mental Health Services for Children and their Families.
November 2003: Using the data from the surveys as well as other data sources, APCYF produced the first Community Report Card on the Status of Children, Youth and Families. The Report Card pulls broad statistics on the well-being of young people and their families. APCYF convened an extensive community process in 2004 to identify key indicators in each of the four issue areas of the 2003 Report Card. Community workgroups then worked to identify goals for improving the priority indicators and strategies to meet those goals. In addition, hundreds of community members have been introduced to the Developmental Assets Model and what they can do to make Arlington a great community for young people.
2008 and 2011: Subsequent Report Cards have provided more breadth and depth of data APCYF has collected and analyzed to help the community identify needs and gaps in services so programs and policies can be developed to meet those needs. APCYF produces a Community Report Card every three years. The three original goals also informed the organization of the 80 indicators in the Community Report Card into four broad areas that shape APCYF’s community agenda:
- Starting Healthy, Staying Healthy
- Stable and Secure Families
- Educational readiness, and
- Success and Safe and Supportive Community.
2003: Building on a recommendation of the original Task Force on Youth, APCYF worked in collaboration with County and School staff to establish the first version of a website for Arlington teens – a web-based teen calendar.
2004: created a Teen Network Board to give Arlington teens a voice in the community and successfully advocated for Activities Coordinators in the middle schools to help connect young teens to opportunities and experiences after school.
Also in 2004, we began the Connect with Kids campaign to recognize those community members who support young people daily in diverse ways.
2009: Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol and Drug Use in Youth (READY) Coalition was formed.
2010: Helped initiate Second Chance.
2011: Teen site revised. Today what was once the Teen Portal is an interactive teen center by and for Arlington teens, Arlingtonteens.com. Also working with County and Schools, APCYF developed a community school model implemented at Carlin Springs Elementary School, now in its tenth year.
2012: Received Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG) for work of READY Coalition.
2013: Launched new website.
2016: Data Position reinstated to fulltime
2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey administered
2018 Your Voice Matters survey administered
2019 Community report completed and published
20th Anniversary year!
APCYF has acted as a catalyst and convener inviting Arlingtonians to be part of the solution – ensuring that all our young people have what they need to grow to their highest potential. APCYF is committed to continuing to work with the entire community as we reach toward the vision of a community where all children’s needs are met and their voices heard.