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NYC advocates, parents push for alternatives to police, ambulances for kids in mental health crisis

05.28.2022 | NY Daily News | “We have learned so much as this model is getting off the ground, and it would be just a real travesty to pull the rug out from under schools that are relying on it to meet the needs of their students,” said Dawn Yuster, the director of the school justice project at Advocates for Children. 

Advocates have been pushing to get the city to invest more in equipping schools with alternatives to law enforcement involvement and hospital trips for kids — and got a big boost last year when the city allocated $5 million in the budget to pilot a new initiative called the “mental health continuum.” 

The program, a partnership between the city’s Education Department, public hospital system, and health department, trains teachers in de-escalation, puts school staff in contact with mental health professionals who can talk them through how to handle the situation, and, as a last resort, sends a “mobile child crisis” team to the school, avoiding a trip to the hospital. 

But now, after only one year of piloting the program in 50 schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn, the city is proposing cutting its funding, according to Mayor Adams’ April executive budget. Read article