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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

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

09.17.2015 | City Limits | Said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, which often sues the city on behalf of parents of children with special needs, the mayor’s emphasis on literacy as a way to equality struck the right note. "For a mayor who wants to address equality, teaching children to read is a great place to start," said Sweet. Every year her office fields phone calls from parents of students who are falling further behind. While students of means tend to get the support they need, "students from low-income families often flounder and fall further and further behind and never really learn the basic skills they need to function." AFC was pleased to see the investment in reading specialists, "we're hoping it can spread into middle school and high school as well," said Sweet. Read article

08.25.2015 | City Limits | The "summer slide" impacts students in different ways. Science and math losses are widespread, and slips in literacy affect students to varying degrees. But students with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to regression; without consistent services, disabled students often face the prospect of more severe losses in the summer than their peers. According to advocates for the parents of these public school students, securing services from the DOE can be a struggle during the summer months. Read article