BALTIMORE (WJZ) — City leaders champion the cause of young people in legislation to create a children and youth investment fund.
Pat Warren reports the plan requires voter approval.
This is one of several ways members of the city council propose to address the unrest that rocked the city this summer.
Baltimore saw its worst moments this summer after the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody, when a protest turned to an assault on police.
“They were supposed to march,” said one woman. “There wasn’t supposed to be no riot or nothing like that.”
“Please call your children; help them to understand that violence is not the way,” said Senator Catherine Pugh.
Young people hurling rocks at police and destroying property was followed by youthful appeals for peaceful resolutions, like the Living Classroom’s “Believe in Music” program.
But that and other programs for the kids’ safe zone are in short supply.
“It’s very important that we have money to keep the doors open,” said Erica Alston.
“They prove that sacrifice is the life blood of the city’s recovery,” said Council President Jack Young.
Young wants to earmark three percent of the city’s budget—which currently amounts to $31 million—in new funding for city children’s programs. The Children and Youth Investment Act requires an assessment of the city and to outline which programs should be eligible for how much funding. The voting requires voter approval and would start in the 2018 budget year.
“I hope that you all believe, like we do, that our children are our future, they are our today,” Young said. “If we don’t take care of today, there will be no future.”
“It takes a lot of work for the city to get programs initiated but they need to start working as fast as possible,” said .
The proposal will get a lot of attention in the coming weeks.
This is $31 million in addition to the current funding of youth-related programs.
Young’s proposal is patterned after children’s funds in California and Florida.