The Center for Children & Young Adults Named Semifinalist in Harvard’s 2017 Innovations in American Government Awards Competition
January 18, 2017
Marietta, GA – The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized today The Center for Children & Young Adults as part of the 100 programs named as Semifinalists in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition. The Center for Children & Young Adults will compete to be named a Finalist in the competition and have the chance to be awarded the $100,000 grand prize in Cambridge this spring.
The Center for Children & Young Adults advanced from a pool of more than 500 applications from all 50 states, and was selected by the Innovations Award evaluators as examples of novel and effective action whose work has had significant impact, and who they believe can be replicated across the country and the world.
The Center for Children and Young Adults (CCYA) began as a grassroots effort in 1981, and over the next two decades expanded its services to include an emergency children’s shelter, a co-ed home for children age 12–17, and transitional living for youth aging out of care at 18-years-old, eventually expanding to 13 counties. CCYA also began partnering with the Cobb Master Gardeners and initiated a campus community garden. In 2010, their philosophy shifted from a “shelter” model to a “youth development” model and expanded to include a Youth Activities & Volunteer Coordinator, and in 2013 launched its National Certification for Residential Child & Youth Care Professionals through the University of Oklahoma National Resource Center on Youth Services. This research-based certification training teaches staff how to develop a “culture of care” in residential facilities, an approach that empowers youth. CCYA also uses a collaborative problem solving model that engages youth in resolving and addressing their individual behavioral challenges. Following the US Department of Health and Human Services finding in April 2013 that generic counseling alone is ineffective with regard to the homeless population being served; in 2014 CCYA formally implemented its innovative therapies initiatives, including Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and Horticulture Therapy (a “Farm to Table” garden for children and youth residing on the campus). AAT is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional, and cognitive function. Tasks are designed to assist with problematic behaviors, communication, patience, self-control, and problem-solving. Lessons are easily transferable to relationships with others.
“These programs demonstrate that there are no prerequisites for doing the good work of governing” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center, “small towns and massive cities, huge federal agencies and local school districts, large budgets or no budgets at all — what makes government work best is the drive to do better, and this group proves that drive can be found anywhere.”
The Semifinalist programs represent a cross-section of jurisdictions and policy areas, and embody one of the most diverse and sophisticated groups that have advanced to this stage in the competition’s 30-year history. They were invited to complete a supplementary application last fall, answering in-depth questions about their work, the process of creating and sustaining their programs, and how they believe they can teach others to do what they do. The Ash Center expects to announce 10 programs that will be named Finalists and be invited to Cambridge to present to the Innovation Awards Program’s National Selection Committee in March, with the grand prize winners to be named in June.
Please visit the Government Innovators Network at http://innovations.harvard.edu for the full list of Semifinalists, and for more information regarding the Innovations in American Government Awards.
For more information, contact:
Angela Thornton Esq
Chief Advancement Officer
770-333-9447 x. 135
Associate Director for Communications, Ash Center
About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu.