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YouthWorks at Risk of Losing State Funding

Baltimore’s summer youth jobs program is riddled with problems. That’s according to an audit presented to the Board of Estimates this morning. Acting City Auditor Audrey Askew says it puts the program at risk of losing state funding.

The audit found the 2017 YouthWorks program paid roughly $3800 last summer to 11 participants who never did any work, others lied on timesheets about hours worked and in at least one case, someone falsified a youth’s name for job placement.

Jason Perkins-Cohen, director of Youth Works, says the problems stem from a lack of resources.

“It’s really just a matter of staffing,” says Perkins-Cohen. “If we want to have more staff people and that would involve more costs that reduces the number of young people we put to work we can do that and we would have more time to deal with these fairly minor discrepancies.”

Perkins-Cohen says they have already taken steps to eliminate payment issues.

“This summer we’re only given kids who have been placed in a job the cards,” says Perkins-Cohen. Last summer everyone got a card whether or not they were hired.

City Council President Jack Young says he doesn’t blame YouthWorks for the problems.

“We’re dealing with children,” says Young. “And when we’re dealing with outside organizations that the city has no control over, these things happen.”

This year Mayor Catherine Pugh distributed $5.7 million to the YouthWorks program to provide summer jobs for youth. The program received $1.5 million from the state.