Governors' Children's Cabinets

Bringing state cabinet officials together to coordinate services to children and youth, including afterschool, is another strategy states are using. Find information on how to establish one and the pros and cons of doing so.

Some governors have created Children’s Cabinets, which are special cabinets that bring cabinet secretaries, who run a state’s various agencies, together to focus on the needs of children. These can be an effective strategy goal for developing an issue’s prominence, but they can also be a lot of work. See below for an outline of other pros and cons of developing a children’s cabinet.

The governor can create this without any legislative action and  include these benefits:

It creates an institutional basis for issues to be explored, considered and addressed. 

  • The cabinet members have the staff support to focus and collaborate through the governor’s office on one key policy focus—children’s needs.
  • Without the need for a crisis, the agencies are brought together to consider creative approaches, joint strategies and improvements to government responses to children.
  • Cabinet secretaries have administrative rulemaking authority, so action could take place at this level

Things to consider, however, may include:

  • Governors change. Even with statutory backing, the next governor can choose not to have a Children’s Cabinet. 
  • Administrative rulemaking may occur as a result of these meetings, therefore advocates may need to include this policy path to their policy development/monitoring activities.

The Forum for Youth Investment publishes a guide on the "Child and Youth Policy Coordinating Bodies in the United States". Find your state in their 2015 report.