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Access to Child Services Link to Race, Neighborhood and Income, Analysis Finds

12.05.2019 | THE CITY | A new analysis building on city health records previously obtained by Measure of America and THE CITY finds that kids referred to special education evaluations are least likely to get screenings in low-income neighborhoods where most residents are people of color.

Those neighborhoods are also overrepresented among those where the highest numbers of children do not receive Early Intervention services following an evaluation, according to the report from the groups Citizens Committee for Children and Advocates for Children, released Thursday.

Coordinated and funded through the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the federally mandated Early Intervention program provides free services to children up to age 3 who show signs of delays and disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders.

The city budgeted $218.8 million for the program this year, and about 30,000 young New Yorkers received its services between 2016 and September 2018.

Earlier this year, Measure of America and THE CITY handed off the data, obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request, to the two child advocacy nonprofits, which carried out an analysis over the course of three months.

“The analysis confirms what we’ve seen on the ground,” said Randi Levine, the policy director at Advocates for Children. She said the organization regularly “gets calls from families who are having difficulty accessing the early intervention services that their children need.” Read article