Children, Youth & Families

Children and Youth in the Greater Washington Region

With a population of more than 1.5 million children and youth, the Greater Washington region must work hard to ensure that all of these children, especially those in low-income families, have the support they need to thrive. Different organizations collect and report data concerning children and youth, but it is mostly provided on a state, not a regional, level. 
In 2012, WRAG member Venture Philanthropy Partners published a comprehensive report on the state of children and youth in the Greater Washington region. This report, Capital Kids: Shared Responsibility, Shared Future, organized its findings into three categories:
Poverty:  Despite our region’s overall economic stability, poverty is a real and growing issue. The rate of childhood poverty in the District continues to be a problem, but the rates within several other jurisdictions, while still lower than the national average of 21.6 percent, have grown in recent years – sometimes  doubling and even tripling. These children can experience negative social, academic, health, and other outcomes. 
Immigration: A growing number of children in our region (almost 41 percent) have at least one parent who was not born in the U.S. Because some of these youth have limited proficiency in English, they will require specific types of support to thrive educationally, socially, and economically. 
Opportunity Divide: There were 15,000 children (ages 5-14) and an additional 28,000 youth (ages 15-19) who were not enrolled in school in 2010. Of these young people, 14,000 youth (ages 16-19) also were not employed. These unemployed “opportunity youth” have the potential to cost our region up to $3 billion (factoring in lost earnings, lower tax revenue, and higher government assistance spending) so we must invest in them now.  
Those of us who live and work in this region have a shared responsibility to improve the outcomes for all our youth, and we must take a regional approach to do this.

Children, Youth & Families (CYF) Working Group

The Children, Youth, and Families Working Group at WRAG re-launched in 2016. The group is focused on understanding the needs of young people and families across the region and identifying how funders can best support the nonprofits that serve them. 
CYF Co-Chairs:
                          Lindsey Buss, Senior Officer, Community Connections, The World Bank Group
                          Carol Thompson Cole, President & CEO, Venture Philanthropy Partners


Funders interested in learning more about CYF should contact Gretchen Greiner-Lott.

External Resources

For more information on the issues facing children and youth, visit: