Since TNOYS was founded in 1980, we have secured amazing policy advancements for and with young people in Texas:
- We have successfully fought to establish and/or maintain funding for crucial prevention and early intervention programs for the last 20 years. These include the Services to At-Risk Youth (STAR) program, the Community Youth Development (CYD) program, and other crucial programs that prevent child abuse & neglect and juvenile delinquency. During the 2015 legislative session, we successfully lobbied to increase funding for prevention and early intervention services to $117 million.
- We have been a leader in advocating for important transitional services for young people who age out of foster care. During the 2015 legislative session, we successfully lobbied for an increase of 7% for foster care services.
- We have been a leader in advocating for services and supports for young people who are homeless. During the 2015 legislative session, we lobbied for HB 679, which led to Youth Count Texas!, the first statewide study of youth homelessness in Texas. We also lobbied for that year for SB 1494, which makes it easier for students who are experiencing homelessness to complete high school and participate in extracurricular activities.
- We have ensured for decades that young people have a voice at the Capitol and in decisions affecting services they receive, and ultimately, their lives. As part of these efforts, we coordinate the biennial Youth in Action event at the Capitol, during which hundreds of youth from across the state in at-risk situations share their stories and policy recommendations with policymakers.
- We have successfully engaged service providers and other community members in efforts to advocate for quality youth services, essentially creating a movement of people willing to stand up for and support young people.
- Our leadership and staff are consistently asked to serve on prestigious task forces and committees relevant to services for young people, including the Public Private Partnership for Foster Care Redesign, the Texas Interagency Council on Homelessness, and more.