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AFC in the News

06.06.2023 | News 12 | Advocates for Children of New York released this report on Tuesday. Services that weren’t provided to those 9,800 pre-K students include speech, occupational therapy and physical therapy, despite students being recommended for these resources.  

The advocacy group says that they work with families throughout the city, dealing with even more difficulty for the ongoing school year getting services in place for these preschoolers – which is why they think the numbers for this school year may end up being even higher. Watch video

05.23.2023 | amNY | Randi Levine, policy director of Advocates for Children of New York, highlighted inequities that cuts to the education budget would deepen: access to expedited mental health care for students at dozens of high-need schools, funding for immigrant family communication and outreach, and funding for community schools that provide comprehensive, wraparound services. 

Levine raised concerns around from the “Program to Eliminate the Gap” which would be save $305 million from a re-estimate of growth in the DOE’s fringe benefits budget. 

“The city’s explanation has been that the amount allocated for fringe has been exceeding actual fringe expenses,” Levine told amNewYork Metro in an email. “However, we understand that the DOE has used the excess fringe benefits funding this year for other purposes ranging from early childhood education to leases.” Read article

05.22.2023 | News 12 | "The city has decided not to move forward with the planned expansion of 3-K.  We think it's important for children who need early child education get a seat and it includes those with disabilities,” said Randi Levine, policy director for Advocates for Children of New York.  Watch video

05.18.2023 | Chalkbeat NY | “That is the exact problem that Promise NYC was trying to resolve,” said Betty Baez Melo, director of the Early Childhood Education Project at Advocates for Children New York. 

Three and 4-year-old children can attend many of the city’s free preschool programs, regardless of immigration status. But there are some programs within the city’s sprawling system, run through centers and by organizations outside of brick-and-mortar school buildings, that require children to be legal residents, including those that offer care past 3 p.m., advocates pointed out. Read article

05.11.2023 | The New Yorker | Many—perhaps most—due-process claims circle around this fiscal void. Rebecca Shore, of Advocates for Children, told me, “It shouldn’t be a matter of, ‘Well, we have no providers, so we can’t provide this service.’ It should be, ‘There are no providers—what are the reasons for that, and how do we come up with a solution?’ ” She went on, “The D.O.E. needs to take whatever steps are necessary to make these into jobs that people actually want to do.” In 2021, a salaried paraprofessional who shadowed a child with physical or behavioral challenges in school, for example, made between twenty-eight and forty-four thousand dollars per year. When support services such as speech or occupational therapy are not available at school, the D.O.E. offers vouchers that parents can use for approved private providers, but most therapists don’t accept them, owing to the low rates of compensation and long delays in receiving the money. “So one very simple solution is for the D.O.E. to pay more and pay quicker,” Shore said. Read article

05.08.2023 | News 12 | Child care advocates are demanding a $20 million investment into the city’s Promise NYC program. They say that amount is just a drop in the bucket for the city, but a game changer for undocumented families and their children. Watch video

05.08.2023 | NY1 | "Promise NYC les da la oportunidad a las familias de niños indocumentados que han sido excluidos de programas de cuidado y educación infantil como los programas 'early learn', 3K y preK", dijo Betty Melo, de Advocates for Children NYC. "Les da la oportunidad de asistir a estos programas". Watch video 

05.04.2023 | ProPublica | “It’s mind-boggling,” said Dawn Yuster, who directs the School Justice Project at the group Advocates for Children. “This would expedite care for young people with the most significant needs. If you’re going to say it, fund it.” 

When school staff don’t get the support they need from mental health experts, they often resort to punishing kids for behaviors they can’t control, Yuster said. It might start with “calling parents every day about a student’s behavior. Then they up the ante, calling to say, ‘We’re suspending for five days, and next time we’re going to call EMS if this behavior continues.’” Read article

04.28.2023 | Gothamist | Advocates have called for reinvesting any savings the administration has found back into the schools. 

“We are concerned that the mayor is proposing to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from our City’s schools at a time when there are so many unmet needs,” said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children of New York. Read article

04.27.2023 | NY Daily News | “This budget fails to make the investments our students need and threatens the success of several key education initiatives that are just getting off the ground,” said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children. 

“With the recent increase in the number of newly arrived immigrant families, as well as the ongoing youth mental health crisis, the need for these programs is greater than ever,” said Sweet from Advocates for Children. “If anything, the city should be increasing funding — not placing these programs on the chopping block.” Read article