FY23 Government Funding Bill Increases Investment in Mentoring

By Caden Fabbi, MENTOR

Thanks to this movement, the mandatory annual legislation that funds federal government programs signed into law this week includes significant investments that support the mentoring movement:

  • The Youth Mentoring Program grant, managed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), will be funded at $107 million for FY23, a 5% increase from last year.
  • 15 community funding projects (“congressional earmarks”) related to mentoring – submitted by bipartisan Members of Congress – were included in the bill, resulting in $6.6 million in new public investment directly to mentoring programs.
  • All federal programs that provide access to funding for mentoring received an increase.

This wouldn’t have happened without your advocacy – thank you for using your voice to lift up our young people this year. A full analysis of where each program that MENTOR follows ended up is below.

Justice Programs

The Youth Mentoring Grant Program:

The only mentoring-specific line item in the federal budget, this program increases the capacity of state and local jurisdictions and tribal governments to incorporate evidence-based findings of best practices and principles. It also funds the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC), which provides free or low-cost technical assistance to programs across the country. This program received a $5 million increase, up 5% to a new total of $107 million.

Children Exposed to Violence Initiative:

These funds, administered through OJJDP, will be awarded to programs to develop, maintain, or enhance programs designed to prevent future violence. Funds in this program can be used to train and coordinate for educational and after-school programs on strategies to safely and confidentially identify children and families experiencing violence and properly refer children exposed and their families to services and violence prevention programs. This initiative is funded at $10 million, a 25% increase from last fiscal year.

Relevant Report Language for Agencies

The Committee recognizes that many of the programs funded under Children Exposed to Violence utilize trauma-informed practices that take into consideration the adverse childhood experiences (ACE) faced by the target population being served. The Committee notes that ACE response teams would be an allowable use of these funds. In addition, the Committee recognizes that mentoring can play a role in effective approaches to address youth and community violence. The Committee urges the utilization of this grant funding to support partnerships between youth mentoring programs and agencies, community-based organizations, and partners in the private sector to create systems of collective impact and implement community- based approaches to address violence in high-crime, high-poverty areas. The Committee encourages that awardees also offer wraparound services to youth impacted by trauma, and programming designed specifically for victims of violence.

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) Title II:

Funds in this formula grant program support innovative state efforts to adhere to standards that reduce the risk of harm to court-involved youth, ensure fair treatment of minority youth, improve the way systems address delinquent behavior, and ensure citizen involvement and expertise through State Advisory Groups. The program received a $5 million, 7% increase to a total of $75 million.

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) Title V, Local Delinquency Prevention Program:

This discretionary grant program (“PROMISE Grants”) supports programs designed to prevent delinquency and address the unmet needs of youth facing risk at the local level through data-driven, evidence-based programs. It received a $15.5 million, 31% increase to a total of $65 million. Language in the omnibus bill also requires $2 million to be for grants to protect vulnerable and at-risk youth.

Community-based Violence and Prevention Initiative

The bill includes $50 million for a community violence intervention and prevention initiative in the Office of Justice Programs.

Labor/Workforce Programs

The WIOA Title I Youth Activities Program:

This is a formula-funded state grant that helps out-of-school youth and low-income in-school youth with barriers to employment by providing them with services that prepare them for employment and postsecondary education. The program received an overall increase of $15 million, up 1.6% to a total of $933 million for FY22.

YouthBuild

This discretionary grant program helps provide disconnected youth with work readiness and industry-driven credential attainment opportunities. YouthBuild also provides significant support services, such as mentoring. The program received a $6 million, 6% increase to a total of $105 million. Report language that accompanied the legislation also encouraged the Department of Labor to serve more geographically diverse areas through this program, including rural areas through this program.

Reentry Employment Opportunities:

This program provides current or formerly incarcerated adults and youth involved in the justice system with occupational skills training leading to industry-recognized credentials and apprenticeships for employment in industries and occupations that offer competitive wages and opportunities for advancement. It also provides pre-release and comprehensive post-release services, including mentoring. This program received a $13 million, 12.7% increase to a total of $115 million.

Career Pathways for Youth Grants:

Within the Dislocated Worker National Reserve program, there is a 33% increase of $5 million, for a total of $20 million, for grants to support national out-of-school time organizations that serve youth and teens and place an emphasis on age-appropriate workforce readiness programming to expand job training and workforce pathways for youth and disconnected youth.

Education Programs

Full-Service Community Schools:

This program provides grants to local educational agencies (LEAs), in partnership with community-based/nonprofit organizations, to make available comprehensive academic, social, and health services for students, their family members, and community members in school settings through service integration and coordinated strategies for target youth and their families experiencing poverty. Grantees must secure matching funds. For the second consecutive year, this program received the largest increase, once again doubling its appropriation from the previous fiscal year, to $150 million.

Relevant Report Language for Agencies

The Committee recognizes the importance of the coordination of mentorship programs with student participants’ schools in order to support the goals of whole child learning and social and emotional learning. The Committee encourages the funding of activities that advance student success in the classroom in a manner that is informed by the coordination, insight, and partnership of mentorship programs.

Title IV-A/Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants

Grants from this flexible block grant program authorize activities in three broad areas: providing students with a well-rounded education; supporting safe and healthy students; and supporting the effective use of technology (mentoring falls within of these buckets).  The program received an 8%, $100 million increase, to a new total of 1.38 billion.

Relevant Report Language for Agencies

The Committee is concerned about the high rates of student chronic absenteeism across the country since the onset of the COVID–19 pandemic and encourages the Department to inform SEAs on how Title IV–A and other Federal funding sources can be used to support early warning data systems that identify populations of students who are chronically absent and successful interventions to address chronic absence and school engagement, such as mentoring.

21st Century Community Learning Centers:

This program enables communities to establish or expand centers that provide additional student learning opportunities through before- and after-school programs and summer school programs aimed at improving student academic outcomes. It received a 3.1%, $39 million increase and now has a total budget of $1.33 billion.

Health and Human Services

Project AWARE

This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) program uses funds to build the capacity of State Educational Agencies, in partnership with State Mental Health Agencies overseeing school-aged youth and LEAs, and in collaboration with community-based organizations, with the purpose of increasing awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth and providing training for school personnel and other adults who interact with youth to respond to mental health issues. Project AWARE received $140 million, a 20 million, 16.6% increase from last year.

Community and Youth Violence Prevention:

Within the CDC’s funding for Injury Prevention and Control, $18.1 million is for youth violence prevention, an increase of $3 million, or 20%, from last year.

CNCS/AmeriCorps

Volunteer Generation Fund:

Within CNCS/AmeriCorps, this fund supports State Service Commissions in helping nonprofit and voluntary organizations across the country more effectively recruit and retain volunteers and increase their impact on addressing community challenges. The program received a $2 million increase from FY22, up 30% to a total of $8.56 million.

Community Project Funding/Earmarks

The following earmarks were successfully included in the FY23 spending bill:

Kelly (D-IL): STRS Mentoring Youth Through Technology, Harvey, IL Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) After School Program, $100,000.

Espaillat (D-NY): Byrne Credible Messenger Mentoring Movement, New York, NY Credible Messenger Mentoring Initiative $530,000.

Lee (D-CA): Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County, Oakland, CA for the Retention Apprenticeship Mentoring Program, $1,000,000.

Van Duyne (R-TX): Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Irving, TX for a youth mentoring program, $300,000.

Casey (D-PA). Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, PA, for a mentoring program for LGBTQ youth. $105,000.

Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Rosen (D-NV). Lyon County, NV, for mentoring and other community services for at-risk youth. $119,000.

Shaheen (D-NH). Victory Women of Vision, NH, to provide assistance to refugees through a youth mentoring program, including equipment and technology. $125,000.

Schatz (D-HI). Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii, HI, for youth mentoring. $800,000.

Nehls (R-TX): Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Irving, TX for a youth mentoring program. $250,000.

Watson Coleman (D-NJ): Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties, Newark, NJ, for mentoring and student support, $1,000,000.

Pressley (D-MA): Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, MA for student mentoring and enrichment, $250,000.

Upton (R-MI): Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, Benton Harbor, MI for educational, mentoring, and tutoring program, $1,500,000.

King (I-ME): Helping Hands with Heart/Maine Highlands, ME, for a youth mentoring initiative, including the purchase of equipment, $426,000.

Graham (R-SC): Restoration Project Foundation, SC, for expansion of a mentoring program, including curriculum development. $650,000.

Schumer (D-NY): Hispanic Federation, NY, for a mentorship initiative for students attending CUNY institutions. $700,000.

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