December 22, 2004
Background and Planning Process
After-school programs, once viewed as simply a safe place for the children of working families to stay until someone could pick them up, are now seen as an opportunity to contribute to the academic, social and emotional development of a young person. After-school programs offer children and youth the opportunity for enhanced academic programs and to improve their learning. Effective programming during the critical after-school hours also has the potential for reducing juvenile crime and violence, drug use and addiction, and sex and teen pregnancies.
In 2003, the City of New York began a year-long strategic planning process to design a more efficient and better coordinated system of Out of School Time (OST) programs for the city’s school-age population. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg initiated this OST system overhaul with the goal of consolidating and streamlining services and increasing accountability measures. These goals reflect the Administration’s philosophy of making government more efficient and accountable while delivering the most effective services. The OST reform effort also builds upon the Administration’s commitment to improving the academic performance of young people by insisting upon high standards and quality services.
The new OST system was developed during this year long planning process and is reflected in the RFP. The goals of the new OST System are to:
- build upon the Children First in-school education reform initiative
- improve the delivery and quality of services for youth
and working families
- create quality programs with measurable outcomes and
standards for accountability
- use scarce resources more efficiently
- target programs and resources to underserved communities
Accomplishments of the OST Initiative
The planning process was supported through a grant from the Wallace Foundation in collaboration with the Fund for the City of New York (FCNY) and Citizens Committee for Children (CCC). The process included representatives from City government, foundations, providers that deliver after-school services, parents, and community members. The City is currently working with a group of funders to bring additional resources to the OST system.
The new OST system has a stronger emphasis on full service programming with accountability and quality, as opposed to spreading our resources thinly to serve large numbers of children in one-shot programs. All youth are eligible regardless of income.
The City, providers, and funders worked collaboratively to develop a vision and goals for OST programs in New York City. Each goal is tied to a set of program requirements, sample activities and quality indicators, and providers will delineate how they plan to achieve program goals. Providers in the new system will maintain electronic attendance reporting and tracking systems so that, for the first time, the City will know how many children are served through OST programming. Providers will be expected to account for who they serve and how they have met program goals.
For the first time, the City has collected and mapped programmatic and demographic data in a uniform way across multiple agencies and created a consolidated database on OST Programs. This data is being used to inform policy and program design. The maps provide a visual representation by school region and by zip code of OST programs, school performance data, and neighborhood risk factors.
The new OST system is designed to bring resources into communities with the highest need. Funding pools will be aligned with the 10 DOE regions. The amount each region receives will be based on its shares of the City’s total youth population, youth living at or below 200% of poverty, and low performing schools. Additional targeting by zip code will ensure that those neighborhoods and populations most in need of services receive them.
The OST Request for Proposals (RFP)
Today, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) announces the release of the Out-of-School Time Programs for Youth Request for Proposals. It is anticipated that the total annual funding available for contracts awarded from this RFP will be up to $64,050,000. The term of the contracts awarded through this RFP will be for three years.
Through this RFP, DYCD seeks appropriately qualified organizations to provide a variety of comprehensive and high quality OST programs to school-age youth in each of the ten (10) Department of Education (DOE) Regions (Service Options I, II, and III). DYCD encourages small, neighborhood-based organizations, as well as large, city-wide organizations to apply. DYCD also encourages partnerships to ensure varied and comprehensive programming.
In addition, DYCD seeks organizations to provide Technical Assistance (Service Option IV) to the program providers awarded OST contracts from this RFP, and an organization to provide Evaluation Services (Service Option V).
Highlights of the OST Solicitation
- Consolidates school age youth services and resources
- Includes 5 day a week programs as well as flexible
- Targets programs to high need neighborhoods and
- Aligns funding pools with the 10 DOE Regions
- Introduces Memorandum of Understanding between DYCD and DOE
- DOE will provide up to 500 schools as sites for OST
- DOE will provide support for costs of facilities,
security, fingerprinting and snacks
- DOE will provide training to DYCD staff and to technical assistance providers
- Provides sites from the Department of Parks and
Recreation and the New York City Housing Authority
- Provides program materials and assistance from the
Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
and the New York City Library Systems
- Introduces electronic and universal attendance
reporting and outcome tracking
- Incorporates Technical Assistance and Capacity
Building for service providers
- Evaluation Services will be used to assess the effectiveness of the OST System.
For additional information please refer to the RFP, or visit the DYCD website at www.nyc.gov/dycd.