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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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AFC in the News

03.31.2016 | NY1 | Student suspensions were down 32 percent this past summer and fall compared to the same period a year earlier. The city claims it's the direct result of a new disciplinary policy ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio. "It means fewer kids missing class time, and it means more schools have started to use these research-based practices that prevent problem behavior," said Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children of New York. Read article

03.31.2016 | New York Daily News | For the first time, the city released data on how many students were transported by EMS from district schools. About 14%, or 601 of the 4,305 transports were related to the emotional or psychological condition of students. “This supports calls for expanding mental health services for students,” said Kim Sweet of Advocates for Children of New York. “(Staff) is calling EMS because they don’t have more appropriate strategies to help students when they act out.” Read article

03.31.2016 | Chalkbeat New York | Advocates have long criticized schools that resort to 911 calls to deal with disorderly students instead of employing other strategies to diffuse conflicts. A 2014 settlement barred schools from making 911 calls before trying to de-escalate the situation. “This first batch of data on EMS referrals supports the call for expanding crisis intervention support for school staff and mental health services for students in our city’s schools,” said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children of New York. Read article

03.28.2016 | New York Times | Advocates for Children of New York writes in support of amending state law to affirm the obligation of charters to follow disciplinary procedures. Read letter to the editor

03.21.2016 | Chalkbeat New York | Abja Midha, a project director at Advocates for Children who works to establish alternative pathways to graduation for students, said the measures are a step in the right direction. She also agrees it leaves questions for students who struggle to pass Regents exams. “We do think that it’s a good step forward,” Midha said. But she also asked, “What do we do about those student who are in the meantime are struggling with exams but have mastered standards?” Read article

03.04.2016 | Politico New York | There have been rumblings about the department possibly doing away with D75 altogether in recent years, although department officials have always maintained there are no plans to eliminate it. Instead, advocates say, there's a sector-wide call for the district to have more interaction with the 32 so-called "non-specialized" school districts in order to boost inclusion across the system. "The issue for us on D75 is that it's one or the other," said Maggie Moroff, the special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children, a special education advocacy group. "Students are either in non-specialized schools or they are in D75, and there's very, very little movement back and forth. It's really important to us that there's much more of a fluid relationship." D75 programs boast a great deal of expertise, she said, but naturally lack the academic rigor of the non-specialized schools. Read article

03.02.2016 | DNA Info | “It’s a huge number of kids,” said Maggie Moroff, of Advocates for Children, which works with families to get the services they need for their special needs students. “I wish we were surprised by the numbers, but we weren’t. We get calls every day, and a big portion of our own caseload is for kids not getting any services or not being properly served.” Read article

03.01.2016 | New York Times | The report, released to comply with a law passed by the City Council last year, said that “major deficiencies” in the design of the Special Education Student Information System, which is supposed to track students receiving special education, “continue to affect the D.O.E.’s ability to reliably report specific compliance metrics.” “That for us is one of the biggest takeaways,” said Maggie Moroff, the special-education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children, which helps at-risk students. The lack of reliable data is “hugely important,” she said, “because you need the data to figure out where the holes in the service delivery are.” Read article

03.01.2016 | WNYC Schoolbook | The non-profit group Advocates for Children also noted that these numbers were in step with what they saw on the ground and heard from families who sought help when children were not receiving mandated special education services. "Clearly, the city must address the problems delivering timely, appropriate, and legally mandated special education supports," said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, in a statement. She said it was alarming that the school system did not have an accurate picture of whether schools were in compliance at all. "Only once the city is able to identify where it falls short can it adequately remedy the holes left in the educational experiences of so many students with special education needs," said Sweet. Read article

02.18.2016 | WNYC Schoolbook | The ARISE Coalition (coordinated by AFC) and Parents for Inclusive Education (PIE) respond to the DOE's official response to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's report on barrier-free schools, which found that 83 percent of the city's elementary schools are not fully accessible to people with disabilities. Read the op-ed