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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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07.07.2015 | WNYC Schoolbook | Maggie Moroff, a special education policy coordinator with the group Advocates for Children, said she was still waiting for more clarity around this whole process. "Obviously, parents had a horrible time getting the help they needed under the old system," she said. "So, if this new system actually allows parents to connect easily with people who can solve their problems, that will be a huge improvement." Read article

06.16.2015 | NY1 | A new report has uncovered major gaps in access to translation and interpretation services for immigrant parents in city schools. "Parents have a right to translation and interpretation services. Translation and interpretation services should be available in, at least, the top nine languages in New York City," said Abja Midha, project director for Advocates for Children of New York. Read article

06.12.2015 | City Limits | This month we celebrate commencement for thousands of high school students throughout New York state. Many will attend college, learn a new trade or enter the workforce. Graduating high school in New York is no small feat. Besides required courses, students must pass five standardized exit exams, known as the Regents. Only one other state requires more exams, and half of all states require none. In 2014, this led to 24 percent of the 2010 high school cohort not graduating on time. Just 10 states had worse outcomes. So, who is left behind? Of course, they are students traditionally branded as difficult-to-teach: low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities and English language learners. Read article

06.07.2015 | NY1 | Student advocates say hearing tests are not required in New York City public schools, so students with hearing problems can go undetected, and that can affect academic performance. “We’ve heard from audiologists that hearing impairments are much more common in students than generally people are aware of.” Watch video segment

05.20.2015 | Capital New York | The group Advocates for Children on Wednesday settled a class action lawsuit filed more than a decade ago against the Department of Education on behalf of students with disabilities who were disciplined in city schools. The lawsuit, filed in 2002 during the Bloomberg administration, alleged special needs students were denied legal protections when they were suspended or excluded from school for behavioral reasons. Read article

04.13.2015 | Gotham Gazette | Nick Sheehan, staff attorney at Advocates for Children, shares Chowdhury's view. Torres' bill, he said, would increase transparency "about how the City chooses to allocate its resources." He went further, saying the bill should also add ratios of social workers and school psychologists to school safety agents, and the ratio of those staff members to students. He also agreed that Gibson's bill would address the limitations in the Student Safety Act. "They're technical tweaks, but they're important," he said. Read article

04.07.2015 | Chalkbeat New York | When students start to show signs of significant reading difficulties — they struggle to make sense of individual words and whole texts — then experts say they need frequent, specialized help with their basic reading skills. But that demands highly trained teachers and well-structured programs. “For kids who need extra help, you can’t just leave it to the teachers to figure out,” said Maggie Moroff, special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children, the nonprofit that represented Ashley’s mother, Brenda Brazell, in the administrative hearing. Moroff is working on a study of effective literacy interventions in city schools. “If there’s anything consistent I’ve seen in all the programs that work, it’s very, very directed and focused — it’s not haphazard at all.” Read article

04.06.2015 | SchoolBook | “The City needs to find a way to provide access to these programs for a broader range of New York City's children,” said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children. She said the city's expanded pre-k options could help by providing information on gifted programs and the required tests to a wider range of four-year-olds. Read article

03.10.2015 | Chalkbeat New York | Special education advocates contend the annual reporting could provide needed context on how the department can improve its assessment and implementation of services for special education students. “We want to find out what the sticky points are in the process. Where are kids not getting services and where are they getting the wrong services?” said Maggie Moroff, special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children New York. “If the [department] is required to share this information publicly then anyone can draw their own conclusions, they can draw their own advocacy points.” Read article

03.10.2015 | City Limits | Further efforts to fix special education were made in 2007 and between 2010 and 2012, but these mostly administrative changes did not address the two biggest challenges facing the special education program: the delay in evaluating children for additional services, such as speech or physical therapy, and the delay matching children with the appropriate services. Adding fuel to the fire for advocates is the fact that the problems appear to be compounded for low-income and minority children...While black and Hispanic children make up the majority of children in New York City public schools, they are disproportionately represented in special education programs and classes, says Maggie Moroff, a lawyer with Advocates for Children. Moreover, says Moroff, black and Hispanic children are more likely to be placed in the most restrictive setting, in a District 75 school, schools that only have children with disabilities...For Moroff and other advocates for children with special needs, the whole point of the IEP process and special education services is to ensure that children with disabilities progress, with support, alongside their nondisabled peers. "The goal is to help students with disabilities achieve at the same rate." Read article