New Study Will Address Gaps in Youth Services in Midland County

Most Midland County youth are surrounded by opportunities for health, social and educational growth.  However, there are some youth who do not have access to these opportunities for a variety of reasons.  The Midland Area Community Foundation hopes to address this gap by funding a detailed quantitative study that will identify the gaps in accessibility to services for Midland County youth.

The Youth Master Plan study, proposed and managed by The Legacy Center for Student Success, will identify gaps in youth services and propose a plan to close those gaps so that all youth have access to the plentiful opportunities in Midland County.

The Midland Area Community Foundation conducted a Community Needs Survey in October of 2009.  The participants in the survey listed educational funding and family involvement within the top most critical concerns.  The new Youth Master Plan will seek to identify and then solve some of the issues youth are faced with. “The Midland Area Community Foundation is pleased to have the opportunity to fund this plan which clearly will assist youth in being successful by employing all the resources available,” said Jim Hop, Midland Area Community Foundation Chair. “We are proud to be able to ensure that we can provide support for youth in our county and we believe there will be a long-term measureable reduction in any gap in services for all youth as a result of the implementation of this plan.”

The Youth Master Plan will first define currently available youth interventions and then identify gaps such as unmet needs, ineffective programs, programs that duplicate services and programs that are needed.  Part of this initial identification will be based on community leaders’ input gathered by Karen Somers and Pam Singer, Research Associates at The Legacy Center for Student Success.  Several nonprofit leaders, area professionals, parents, students and retirees who provide services to Midland area youth or have expertise in the core areas of physical health, social/emotional health, education, basic needs and safety will be invited to attend focus groups in order to weigh in on the most pressing needs for our youth.

Additional input will be solicited from all of the Health and Human Service Council members of Midland County.  Design of the Youth Master Plan will be based on the results of the initial stages and will include the needed interventions, specific outcomes to measure those interventions, program delivery plans and sustainability options.  Once completed, the Youth Master Plan will continue to guide community investments in youth-oriented programs and intervention.