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Micaela’s Story

Micaela is a dual-language learner who is on the autism spectrum and needed an appropriate school placement for kindergarten.

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News & Media

AFC in the News

12.17.2022 | The CITY | ”While rapid change without input from various stakeholders makes us a little uneasy, no action at all doesn’t make you feel good either,” said Matthew Lenaghan, deputy director of litigation at Advocates for Children. Read article

12.06.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | “I think what the task force can really focus in on is, how can we make sure that busing is set up promptly and students and their parents know exactly when it is starting so that the lack of transportation doesn’t pose a barrier to attendance,” said Jennifer Pringle, director of Project Learning In Temporary Housing at Advocates for Children. Read article

11.30.2021 | amNY | About 900 New York City toddlers with special needs could be left without a spot in a city preschool program next year, according to a new analysis. 

Advocates for Children of New York crunched newly released data from the New York City Department of Education and found a deficit of dozens of preschool special education classes in the spring of 2022. 

“The State and the City need to step up and address this legal violation,” said Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York.  “This is the moment for the Governor and the Mayor to show they value young children with disabilities—that they will ensure there is a high-quality class for every child who needs one instead of leaving children on waitlists in violation of their legal rights.” Read article

11.30.2021 | Harlem World Magazine | “Immigrant families, like all families in the NYC public schools, have a right to participate in their children’s education, but to do so, they have to feel comfortable communicating with their schools,” said Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York. “The NYC Department of Education should ensure that immigrant families receive all school-related documents in their home language and in a form that is accessible to them, even if they have low literacy. The DOE should also provide immigrant families with high-quality interpretation at all meetings, events, and interactions with school staff. We are encouraged by the City’s $4 million investment in language access services and hope that these additional resources lead to the creation and funding of a permanent, effective system of immigrant family-facing communication going forward.” Read article

11.24.2021 | NY1 | Kim Madden, director of family support at Advocates for Children, which is advocating for Babilonia, says it's not just one family. Between the vaccine mandate and split morning and afternoon hours, bus paras can be hard to hire and retain. 

"It's not a unique situation, and I think it's something that was very predictable and that frankly they didn't plan well for,” Madden says. 

For parents and advocates like Babilonia and Madden, the city’s insistence that it has enough staff simply doesn’t add up with their own daily experiences of not getting the services their children are mandated to receive. Read article

11.19.2021 | Gothamist | During remote learning, Randi Levine, policy director with the group Advocates for Children, said students waited months for devices, were not assigned required special education teachers, did not receive mandated services, and were placed in virtual classes that were far too large. 

“This school year, challenges have continued,” she said. “We heard from numerous families about school buses not showing up at all or getting their children to school late, students waiting for the DOE to assign staff, including the IEP-mandated one-on-one paraprofessionals.” Read article

11.18.2021 | NY Amsterdam News | In an interview with the AmNews, AFC policy director Randi Levine said city schools are required to identify students who are experiencing homelessness and report their information to the state. The data comes from the state’s education department. Levine said people don’t know how serious the number of students who are homeless in the city. 

“We think it’s critical for the public to know not only the number of students who are homeless, but the educational barriers that these students face in order to drive more attention and resources to this group of students,” she said. Read article

11.18.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | “The drop in referrals likely means that there are students with disabilities that went all year without getting the help they needed and maybe continuing into this year without getting needed support,” said Randi Levine, a special education policy expert at Advocates for Children, a nonprofit that helps low-income families navigate the city’s special education system. Read article

11.15.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | Randi Levine, a policy director at Advocates For Children New York, said her organization is still reviewing the proposal. But she noted that parents wait “months or a year or longer” to reach a resolution with the city. 

“We’re continuing to see cases to go to hearing even when the DOE is not disputing the parent’s requested remedy,” Levine said. Read article

11.12.2021 | BronxNet TV | Host David Lesch talks to Jennifer Pringle, director of Advocates for Children's Project for Learners in Temporary Housing, about a recent study about how inadequate resources and poor conditions in shelters have impacted school attendance of students who live in shelters and of students who live in their primary homes. Watch video