Cutbacks Mean Bleak Summer For Low-Income Urban Kids

The harsh cutbacks of a failing economy are cutting into American kids’ futures like never before.  This time, it’s summer services for kids that are being targeted for cuts, leaving urban youth without the staff, materials, money and facilities they need to advance their learning, find work or have a safe place to spend their time. Tight financial budgets in several states will mean a bleak summer for many inner-city youth, as summer 2011 children’s enrichment and summer school programs are shuttered or slashed to the bone due to lack of funds.

Among the standard programs and activities for urban kids that are facing cuts: pools and swimming programs, recreation centers, libraries and reading/literacy programs, short-term job options and all manner of learning and enrichment activites, nature experience camps and even summer school.

Hardest hit by cutbacks are kids in such huge metropolitan areas as New York, Washington D.C., Houston and Detroit, all cities long dependent on summer programs for serving the learning and activity needs of low- and middle-income youngsters through structured encrichment.

The non-profit youth advocacy group, D.C. Action for Children, reports on the negative impact these deep cuts may have:

“With the District slicing away at summer school, the youth jobs program and a host of summer programming and enrichment activities, children will lose an estimated $17 million worth of programming this summer…

These cuts will directly impact up to 15,000 District children and youth. But it will also impact the entire city. Parents of young children who rely on summer camp or afterschool programs that have been cut will now have to find alternatives such as paying a babysitter —  if they can afford to — to be able to continue to work regular hours. These alternatives often lack the learning and enrichment component of community-based programs. Neighborhoods may see a surge in youth crime as more idle teens stay out on the street and get into trouble. Nonprofits will face the prospect of turning away children in need of summer programs, and the schools will not be able to provide classes to many students looking to bridge the summer learning gap or earn the credits needed for graduation.”

In New York, about 10,000 teens who would typically partake in the city’s summer jobs program will find themselves unemployed due to a $15 million reduction in that program’s funding. Samantha Gross of The Associated Press New York reports:

“Also on the chopping block in New York City’s proposed budget: four swimming pools, New York Public Library children’s program cuts that would result in 70 percent fewer youngsters being served, more than 6,000 public-school teaching jobs, family literacy programs and outreach for homeless youth.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, one of many officials who opposed to the program cuts, points out the elimination of these youth services will most prfoundly hit the city’s middle class and working poor families who have no other options. “This is certainly not going to be the year of the child in New York,” he said.

Related Stories:

Budget Cuts Put Homeless and Disabled Youth At Risk

Budget Details Emerge: What Got Cut, What’s Not, What Got Shifted, What Got Shafted


Photo credit: dreamstime




Charles Temm JR
Charles Temm JR6 years ago

Funny how the automatic response of most Care2 stalwarts is to belittle those they disagree with and assume they are also rich elitists...

How about a realization that subsidized make work jobs can only "employ" a fraction of the kids wanting work out there? Not only that, how about thinking what the minimum wage laws do in preventing kids from getting private sector jobs where they might learn a trade or good work habits?

No, instead statists like the Care2 crowd support regs/laws that RESTRICT access to work. The young have little in the way of job skills and minimum wage laws mandate they be among the last hired for any sort of job that might train them. Add in the overall additional labor costs of ObamaCare and various mandates on any firm trying to expand (increased insurance costs for instance) and it all constricts the labor market.

So poor economic decisions by government at all levels are adding to the horrible job market. Drop in attempts to mandate inexperienced labor to be paid the same as experienced and you see the current firestorm of youth unemployment.

You want to see more inexperienced/youth labor get their chance? Changing minimum wage laws would be a good start. Of course anything you did that got government out of the economy would be good but I know saying that to the good progressives of Care2 will only garner blank stares at best and the normal ranting at worst of those whose faith in the godhead of government is being challenged.

Mike Chrissie
Mike Chrissie6 years ago

typical lib whining with no ideas how to fund an optional program when the state has no money. government can't provide what they can't pay for. That's not mean that's being real.
Maybe parents need to responsibility for their kids activities.

Myriam G.
Myriam G6 years ago

Marie W, are you related to Marie-Antoinette?
Let them eat cake...

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Typical. As usual the poor and disadvantaged always suffer while the idle rich live it up thanks to tax breaks and loopholes paid for by the hardworking, long-suffering middle class. Ahem...You're welcome by the way!

Thanks Marie W. So speaks the voice of someone who's probably rich, elitist and conservative since they only are about themselves and what's best for those like them.

Lynn C.
Lynn C6 years ago

Cut these programs and pay down the road. What an ethos this country has....

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago

I don't think it is the govt's responsibility to baby sit or entertain kids for the summer.

Mary Johnston
Mary Johnston6 years ago

My daughter wanted to go to summer school and take a few classes this summer, but there is no way we can afford the enormous fee. It costs $300 and guess how many weeks each class is? 3!. I don't really see how that's worth the money or how they could possible teach much in 3 weeks.

As for summer programs here, forget it. There aren't many to begin with, and parents can't afford the fees in order to send them to any kind of structured activities. Like the post below stated, if kids can't find something constructive to do, they WILL find something..and it won't be what we want them to be doing.

Alice E.
Alice E6 years ago

If kids don't have fun summer programs like swimming and other activities, they'll find something to do, and it might not be what we'd prefer they'd be doing. Just saying................

Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez6 years ago

thanks for the article

Claire M.
Claire M6 years ago

My grandson is signed up for summer school but its ALL an online program. This may be where school is headed.