Westchester County Executive George Latimer and the Westchester County Youth Bureau are pleased to announce the establishment of the Ossining Youth Bureau and the reestablishment of the Port Chester and Yonkers Youth Bureaus.

County Executive George Latimer said: “Across the county generations of parents, young adults, and youth have benefitted from Youth Bureaus. Prior to the economic devastation brought on by COVID-19, discussions surrounding the need for social, emotional, physical, educational, and economic supports were ongoing; but the pandemic made this more pronounced. This historic addition of three Youth Bureaus in Westchester stand as a clear reminder that we are investing in county’s children, youth, and families.”

Westchester County has become the first county to establish a new Youth Bureau since the 1980s.  

Westchester County Youth Bureau Executive Director Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden said: “For decades local governments have contemplated the feasibility of starting or reviving municipal Youth Bureaus; yet, efforts did not advance until recently, when key community members, local and county governments, and the Westchester County Youth Bureau began developing local strategies to address the multitude of children, youth, and family’s needs.”

A youth bureau is an agency created by Counties and Cities, or a Town or Village with a total population of 20,000 or more, for the purpose of planning, coordinating and supplementing the activities of public, private, and religious agencies devoted to the welfare and protection of youth.

Yonkers Parks, Recreation & Conservation Commissioner Anthony Landi said: “Now more than ever, we need to reengage our young people with programs and enhanced offerings that can tackle their growing needs. Special thanks to the County and our local community-based organizations for their support in investing in our next generation.”

County Legislator Ruth Walter said: “As one of four County Legislators representing Yonkers, I’m excited to see this important investment in the youth of the City. From economic security, to physical and emotional health, education, citizenship and community, the newly reformed Yonkers Youth Bureau will make a tremendous positive impact on youth and families across Yonkers. A big thank you to Dr. Harris-Madden, the County Executive and all those in Yonkers who worked so hard to put this together.”

County Legislator José Alvarado said: "With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting school and family life, more than ever, young people need community support. The social, educational, and emotional help we can deliver to our children through Youth Bureau programs can help provide a stabilizing foundation for their growth in uncertain times. That's why I'm so pleased that we are reactivating the Yonkers Youth Bureau.  My thanks go out to my colleagues on the Board of Legislators as well as to Mayor Spano and Commissioner Landi for immediately creating a Director's position.  I look forward to working with all of them in the new year to bring new programs and opportunities to the young people of Yonkers."

County Legislator Christopher Johnson said: “The Youth are the foundation for our future. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is how important it is that we have the necessary resources in place for our young people to continue to be educated and prepared for the world ahead. The Yonkers Youth Bureau will hopefully be used as a catalyst that empowers our young people to be great in all areas of their lives.”

Port Chester Mayor Richard “Fritz” Falanka said: “With the assistance of Trustee Alex Payan, The Village of Port Chester has reinstated the Port Chester Youth Bureau.  It is our hope that its mission shall be to continue to work hard with our local youth so that they may gain valuable experience and measurable skills that will in turn improve their confidence as abilities as they prepare to be successful members of today’s society. Many of our youth have already expressed that they have great pride in having successfully completed various work programs provided by the village government.  Many of our youth received compensation for the first time in their young lives which contributed to needs of family life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Port Chester Youth Bureau will continue to build a foundation of progressive programming that will create youth leaders through workforce empowerment.”

Village of Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity said: "Helping Ossining youth build confidence and leadership skills, as well as achieving their physical and academic goals, is more important than ever as families face the economic challenges of the pandemic. The Ossining Youth Bureau will be a powerful tool for our young people and families."

County Legislator Catherine Borgia said: “Young people in Westchester County have modeled resilience during the COVID pandemic. We owe it to them to support their futures and their development. The creation of a youth bureau in Ossining, and the reestablishment of youth bureaus in Port Chester and Yonkers, could not have come at a better moment. I commend the County Youth Bureau and the municipal leaders, particularly the Ossining Village Board and long-time youth bureau advocates Francine Vernon and Alice Joselow, who are partnering to invest in young people and families at a time when many of our educational inequalities are at risk of worsening.”

Harris-Madden, who is also the President of the Hudson Valley Youth Bureau Association, said: “What once was a system focused on bats and balls is now understood to be a hub for formal and informal supports that are wide ranging, and touch upon all areas of a young person’s development.”

Frank Williams, the Executive Director of the White Plains Youth Bureau and President of the Association of New York State Youth Bureau Association said: “Youth Bureaus rely on the evidenced based Positive Youth Development philosophy. We approach working with children and youth through a strength based formula that allows youth to develop skills and competencies so they can transition into self-sustaining adults, exercise their voices, and increase their awareness of leadership and civic duty. We are thankful for the leadership of the County Youth Bureau and the local Mayors, Councilpersons and Town/ Village Supervisors who help to champion this work.”