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AFC in the News

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

04.26.2023 | Chalkbeat NY | The mayor’s budget received a mixed reception from advocates, union officials, and budget experts. Kim Sweet, executive director at the nonprofit Advocates for Children, praised the funding for shelter coordinators, but raised alarms about broader spending cuts — including to a program that provides extra mental health services to students at 50 high-need high schools, and another that provides free child care for undocumented families. 

“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,” Sweet said in a statement, including high rates of chronic absenteeism and shortages in services for students with disabilities. Read article

04.20.2023 | Fox 5 NY | "They're not getting any additional academic benefits from passing the Regents exams," said Juliet Eisenstein a lawyer for Advocates For Children, a nonprofit. 

Eisenstein is one of 64 members on a special commission that is currently evaluating the future of Regents exams in New York.  The commission will present its findings to the Board of Regents in November.   That is ahead of schedule.  The original plan was to present the findings next year. 

Eisenstein believes standardized testing has led to an increase in dropout rates among low-income and students of color. 

"Through the work I've done with families across New York and my policy work… I have seen that Regents exams do not better prepare students for life after high school," she said. Watch video

04.19.2023 | amNY | Advocates for Children of New York, a nonprofit that supports at-risk children, noted that many of the districts that failed to comply with required services were districts where asylum-seeking children and families are housed, such as District 2 in Chelsea, Manhattan, and District 28 in Jamaica, Queens. Read article