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April 2008Vol. 9, No. 3White House Establishes New Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs

An Executive Order establishing the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was signed by President George W. Bush on February 7, 2008. A coalition of Federal agencies will form this workgroup, which will support communities and organizations working to help at-risk youth.

The new workgroup is the next step in the Helping America's Youth Initiative, a 3-year interagency initiative begun in 2005 and headed by the First Lady. The goal of the initiative is to raise awareness about the challenges facing our nation's youth, particularly at-risk boys, and to motivate caring adults to connect with youth in three key areas: family, school, and community. The newly created workgroup will further support communities and youth-serving organizations by:

  • Expanding the work of the current Interagency Working Group on Helping America's Youth
  • Enhancing collaboration among government organizations by identifying and engaging key government and private or nonprofit organizations that can play a role in improving the coordination and effectiveness of programs serving and engaging youth, such as faith-based and other community organizations, businesses, and volunteers
  • Developing a Federal website on youth to provide a central location for high-quality interactive tools and resources that help youth-serving organizations create and execute plans to support youth in their communities
  • Promoting better outcomes for at-risk youth by encouraging rigorous program assessments to determine best practices and initiatives, such as mentoring, that offer cost-effective solutions

A key accomplishment of the initiative is the development of The Community Guide to Helping America's Youth, designed to assist communities to form local partnerships, assess their communities' assets, identify local and Federal resources, and search for evidence-based programs to meet community needs. The guide is available on the Helping America's Youth website:

The text of the President's Executive Order is available online: