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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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AFC in the News

9.27.2012 | Gotham Schools | The hearing offered a rare view into ELL issues. Elsa Cruz Pearson, a staff attorney for Advocates for Children of New York, said the main way advocates get data is through an annual report that the Office of English Language Learners submits to the state. But the city was supposed to have submitted a report in the spring, and it so far hasn’t done that, she said.  Read article

9.25.2012 | Insideschools.org | The reform has had the opposite effect in some schools, according to Maggie Moroff, special education coordinator at Advocates for Children, with neighborhood schools creating self-contained special education classes for just a few students. "Those classes aren't fully populated," says Moroff, and since children must stay in their zones, there is no one else to fill those seats.  Read article

9.24.2012 | DNAinfo.com | "We're hearing from too many families that their children's preschool services were not in place at the beginning of the school year," said Randi Levine, a lawyer with Advocates for Children, which supports disadvantaged children in New York City... Read article

9.13.2012 | City Limits | This school year the city has undertaken a dramatic transformation of special education to try to improve student achievement. While applauding the push, these writers believe the city has to put more resources into the classrooms where special ed kids are now learning.  Read article

9.12.2012 | New York Law Journal | Jamie Levitt, the President of AFC's Board of Directors, is featured in the New York Law Journal special supplement, "Lawyers Who Lead By Example." In her role on the Board, Levitt has helped to recruit Morrison & Foerster attorneys to represent parents at hearings seeking special education services for their public school children. "To me a child's education is the most important thing in their life," said Levitt.  Read article

9.06.2012 | Insideschools.org | The aim of the special education reform--being rolled out in all schools this year--is to educate special needs children in the least restrictive settings possible, and, preferably, in their neighborhood schools. Is that what's actually happening? Not in all schools, according to Advocates for Children. Before school started, the group heard from 40 parents of incoming kindergarten students with disabilities whose zoned schools could not provide the type of class or services that the child needed. According to a statement issued by Advocates for Children, some schools are just not ready to accommodate all special needs students. Read article

9.05.2012 | DNA Info | Advocates who work with special needs children say the DOE's goal of mainstreaming is admirable, but they worry that many of the city's 1,700 schools are ill prepared to serve the broad spectrum of kids who are now enrolling, including some who need small, self-contained classes. Advocates for Children, which supports disadvantaged children in New York City, has received more than three-dozen calls this summer from parents who tried to enroll their child in their zoned school, as the DOE directed, only to be told that the school couldn't provide the services the child needed. "The problem we're facing is that not every zoned school can serve every zoned student," said Randi Levine, a lawyer with Advocates for Children. "Not every school can have a small class, and not every kindergartner is ready to be in a big class."  Read article

9.03.2012 | WNYC/SchoolBook | Advocacy groups working with students who require special education services in school say many families are facing mixed messages and open questions about the services local schools can provide them, with just days to go before the start of school. Advocates for Children of New York said it has handled at least 30 cases recently involving incoming special education kindergarten students. Read article

9.03.12 | Univision | Parents describe their difficulty advocating for their children with special needs without proper translation and interpretation services. Featuring AFC staff attorney Rigel Massaro.

9.01.2012 | New York Post | At least 40 parents have approached the nonprofit Advocates for Children after being told that their kids wouldn't get small classes or extra services that were promised in official education plans.  Read article