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Christiana has a learning disability and recently graduated from high school thanks to AFC's assistance securing the support she needed to learn.

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11.24.2015 | NBC 4 New York | Under federal law, children living in shelters and temporary housing are entitled to free transportation due to their vulnerable state. But in many cases in New York City, the free transportation they get is not a big yellow school bus, but a small yellow MetroCard for long, exhausting subway trips...Kim Sweet of the nonprofit Advocates for Children said she sees too many families who have to battle for busing. "So if the difference between a MetroCard and a bus is being able to get a child to school in the morning, then the city needs to really provide busing where it’s needed," she said. "There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a family that is working so hard to sustain their child’s education. They are climbing up such a mountain."

11.18.2015 | Chalkbeat New York | The efforts are propelled by research that suggests that many students with disabilities benefit from mixed-ability classes starting at an early age. “Whenever possible, a preschooler should learn alongside typically developing peers,” said Randi Levine, early childhood education project director at Advocates for Children, a group that provides free legal services for students. “The expansion of pre-K in New York State and New York City provides an opportunity to do that, but it’s only possible with appropriate resources and training.” Read article

11.13.2015 | New York Times | Homeless advocates say the city is not considering the impact on the children being placed in such far-flung accommodations. Already facing family and financial instability, these children often miss school and spend more time asleep because of the grueling commutes confronting them...Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, said the city was moving in the right direction by addressing such issues. But she questioned why the city had placed families in the Staten Island hotels “as opposed to singles or couples without children.” Read article

11.13.2015 | Chalkbeat New York | Meanwhile, the lack of any reports for these schools creates challenges for families who want to monitor how their children’s schools are performing, or who are looking to move a child to a different school. That is especially true for transfer schools, since they each have different admissions criteria. And to make matters more complicated, the city has not published an updated directory for those schools as it has for traditional high schools. “When a student has to find a transfer school, it’s already a difficult process,” said Ashley Grant, a staff attorney at Advocates for Children. “So to not have all that information in one place is extremely challenging.” Read article

10.30.2015 | WNYC SchoolBook | Although student suspensions were down overall, the proportion of black and Latino students suspended remained 87 percent, the same as the previous year. These racial groups combined made up 68 percent of the total student population last school year. Students with disabilities also are suspended at disproportionately higher rates: last year they made up 38 percent of suspended students, but accounted for just under 20 percent of the student population. "Our hope was that by reducing suspensions for insubordination we could reduce the racial disparities, and also the disparities for kids who have disabilities," said Kim Sweet, executive director of the non-profit group Advocates for Children. "Apparently there's still a lot more work to be done in that area." Read article

10.20.2015 | Gotham Gazette | Some 84,000 children in the public school system are homeless or in temporary housing, and many of them are struggling in school...Homeless children often struggle to maintain consistency, cannot read at grade level, and are behind their housed peers on virtually all measures of educational aptitude. “Graduation rates, attendance, statewide assessments, grade promotion, you name it,“ Jennifer Pringle, project director at Advocates for Children of New York, told Gotham Gazette. “On any measure that you look at, kids in temporary housing underperformed not only in comparison to permanently-housed kids, but also compared to kids from low income backgrounds.” Read article

10.13.2015 | DNA Info | Her complaints fell on deaf ears until she connected with Advocates for Children, which helps low-income students struggling with discrimination. The organization helped Futrell get city funding to pay for her son to leave the public school system entirely. He is now repeating ninth grade at a private school for special-needs students, the Martin De Porres School in Far Rockaway, where there are no more than five students and three teachers in the class, she said.

"It's great to be in a community school, but you have to make sure teachers know how to meet the needs of students and more of a variety of disabilities, and that there's sufficient space to provide services like occupational therapy, physical therapy and counseling," said Maggie Moroff, of Advocates for Children. She said while the DOE's school-based special-needs policy is a "great goal" designed to end a tendency to push out students with disabilities, the execution is more complicated. It's not easy for schools to provide what individuals may need, especially a small school where only a couple of students need self-contained classes, Moroff explained. Read article

10.11.2015 | New York Post | Faust’s allegations come amid a statewide probe by Disabled Rights New York, a federally funded non-profit, which found “substantial underreporting and overuse of restraints and seclusion in schools”...The harsh practices commonly are hidden, experts agree. “Students may be non-verbal and can’t tell their parents what happened to them during the day,” said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, a city group that represents disabled kids. “If the school doesn’t tell their parents an incident occurred, they may never know.” Read article

10.06.2015 | Chalkbeat New York | Some of the most difficult students to serve are off-track middle-school students, which account for about 18 percent of eighth-grade students. Overage middle-school students have lower attendance rates and are more likely to drop out of school, according to a report last year by Advocates for Children of New York. The report also found that options for these students are limited, with about 450 slots available in programs that specifically serve off-track middle-school students. Read article

09.30.2015 | Public News Service | Children's advocates are calling a bill requiring the New York City Department of Education to make information about school discipline public a model for the nation. Police serve as safety officers in public schools and discipline can include arrests as well as suspensions. According to Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children of New York, the current law does give some data on the frequency and type of discipline taking place in the schools. "But there were big holes in that data," she said, "and this important law will close a lot of those holes and make it more understandable for all of us to see what's going on in the schools." Read article