The Republican platform states, “At a time when the federal government has become bloated, antiquated and unresponsive to taxpayers, it is our intention not only to improve management and provide better services, but also to rethink and restructure government to bring it into the twenty-first century.”
I agree. Clearly the number of individuals requiring adult intervention has become a major spending item. Adult intervention includes costs in caring for those struggling with drug and alcohol problems, domestic abuse, chronic unemployment and criminal behaviors.
As a society, we do not turn our backs on these adults. But this is not the most fiscally responsible way to help them. I am proposing we turn government upside down, aggressively shake it and start over.
One approach to significantly reduce spending is to eliminate the demand for adult intervention.
We do this by engaging at risk youth so that they will have the support they need now. This is done by making sure each at risk youth is connected to a meaningful relationship with a caring adult.
This approach is more humane and less expensive than waiting until they are adults to intervene. They will not become the next generation of adults requiring intervention.
I agree with the Republican belief that parents should take primary responsibility for their children… and most do. But YIPA estimates about 1 in 6 youth do not have the support they need.
No one is encouraging them to chase their dreams or hold them accountable when they mess up. Ignoring the situation is costly and it does not change the course of a child’s life.
The Republican platform and Youth Intervention align.
There are natural interfaces centering on:
- Smaller government – Helping our youth become well-adjusted adults reduces the size of government by securing future generations of adults who are less dependent on government.
- Less spending – It is far less expensive to help youth than attempt to change them as adults. Focusing on young people has a life-long return on investment.
- Local control – Big government is not the end game. Positive outcomes are being achieved by state and local communities intervening with their youth in community-based programs.
- Accountability – Youth Intervention focuses on holding youth accountable as a means to develop self-sufficiency skills.
- Reform – We are locked into a broken and costly failed system. Funding the status quo feeds the problem. It will simply produce more adult consumers of public services.
Generally, people in the youth work field tend to lean more to the left of the political spectrum. It is easy to think that the Democrats are the party to facilitate change… and that may be true. But the Republican platform promotes reform and cost control measures.
I encourage you to reach out to Republican lawmakers and talk to them about helping our youth become productive citizens.
I am confident that you will be surprised at the amount of support you will get from them. They care deeply about our youth and want to find a way to help them.
As someone who talks with elected officials from both parties on a regular basis, I see that everyone is looking for a way to solve the problems of our youth. The only difference is the approach that they are willing to take. Based on their platform, Republicans are aligned with us in our quest to facilitate reform for our youth.
Paul Meunier is the Executive Director of the Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA)