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Gabriel needed an appropriate placement and special education services for kindergarten.

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01.15.2013 | More than 152,000 New York City students, including 54,000 with special education needs, depend on school buses to get them to their classes each day. In the event of a strike, Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) urges the City to take every possible action to ensure that these students do not become victims of a labor dispute and that they have a safe, alternative way to get to and from school... Read full statement

01.14.2013 |  There is a chance of a system wide bus strike that could impact your children's transportation services in New York City in the very near future. We want to make sure that all families, including families of students receiving preschool and school-aged special education services, have the information needed in the event of a strike. We want you to know your options.

The DOE sent a communication from the Chancellor home to families on January 4 detailing the protocols that will go into effect for the duration of the strike, including the use of MetroCards and reimbursement for actual transportation costs. To see that letter in multiple languages, visit the DOE’s website. Yesterday, the Chancellor announced additional measures the City will take in the event of a strike. View that announcement here.

We recognize that for some of you these protocols may not be enough. If you can’t wait for reimbursement or your child needs accessible transportation services, feel free to call the AFC Helpline at (866) 427-6033 for more information.

To get updates as the threat of the strike progresses, we urge you to return to the DOE's website frequently at or call 311.

01.11.2013 |  AFC has signed on to a joint issue brief of the Advancement Project, the Alliance for Educational Justice, the Dignity in Schools Campaign, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, entitled "Police in Schools are Not the Answer to the Newtown Shooting." The brief explains why police in schools are not the answer to reducing violence in our communities and classrooms, sheds light on the unintended consequences of placing more police in our schools, and recommends what steps should be taken to ensure that all young people are safe in their schools. As the brief notes, "We have seen increased police presence leading to high numbers of youth – particularly youth of color, students with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students, and gender non-conforming students – being arrested for minor and trivial misbehaviors. We have seen young people who are pushed out of schools by hostile and prison-like school cultures. We have seen time, energy, and resources devoted to the criminalization, not the education, of young people." View the issue brief

01.02.2013 | AFC commends the New York Education Reform Commission for proposing an expansion of high-quality prekindergarten programs. At a time when the city and state are implementing the rigorous Common Core Standards and emphasizing college and career readiness, we cannot afford to have some children start school behind. Providing high-quality prekindergarten programs to low-income children is one of the most effective strategies for improving educational outcomes... Read full statement

12.13.2012 | Today, AFC, the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), and parents gathered in Albany to speak about the vital role that preschool special education services play in helping preschoolers with delays prepare for kindergarten. Recent media attention around fraud and inefficiencies in the program may threaten its state funding. The state should crack down on fraud. However, the state should not use fraud as a justification for proposing changes that make it harder for young children with delays to access the services they need at the time when these services have the greatest impact.  Read our recommendations in support of the preschool special education program.

12.06.2012 | Today, the DOE proposed changes to the Chancellor’s Regulations to make kindergarten mandatory with certain exceptions. While the proposed regulations include exceptions required by state law, the proposal sends the message that kindergarten is a fundamental part of a child’s education... Read full statement

11.16.2012 | AFC's NYS-TEACHS, our project focusing on students in temporary housing, has a new flier on the educational rights of students who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Download the flier here, and visit for even more resources. 

11.05.2012 | Advocates for Children hopes you and your loved ones made it safely through Hurricane Sandy. The New York City public schools have experienced a number of disruptions due to the storm. We hope the following information and resources will assist you and your family as students transition back to school. 


The majority of New York City schools reopened today. A number of schools, however, sustained severe damage from the storm and remain closed. Those schools will be temporarily relocated, and the Department of Education says they will reopen to students on Wednesday, November 7. You can find a list of relocated schools, as well as the schools that will host them, here. In some instances, schools will be relocated across multiple sites. Additional schools remain closed today because they are serving as shelter sites or do not have power. Students in those schools can return on Wednesday, November 7.

All schools will be closed on Tuesday, November 6 for Election Day.

For the most current information on school closures and relocations, visit the Department of Education's website.


Many families have been displaced by the storm and are currently staying with friends or relatives, or at a motel or shelter. These families are considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Under McKinney-Vento, homeless children residing outside their original school district have the right to continue to attend their school of origin OR enroll in a school closer to their temporary residence.

Displaced elementary and middle school students who wish to attend the zoned school for their temporary residence can find their zoned school by visiting or calling 311. If there is no zoned school for an address, you should visit an enrollment office. To find the enrollment office nearest you, visit or call 311. All displaced high school students should visit an enrollment office if they would like to enroll at a high school that is closer to their new residence. Displaced students do not need to provide any documents in order to enroll.

For more information on students' rights under the McKinney-Vento Act, visit the website of Advocates for Children's New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS) at or call the NYS-TEACHS toll-free Helpline, 1-800-388-2014.


If you or your loved ones have been affected by Hurricane Sandy and are in need of assistance, you can register with FEMA for aid. To do so, call (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585 or register online at

The Red Cross has shelters throughout affected areas. Visit their website for a listing or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Distribution locations for food, water, and blankets can be found here.

Information on Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available here.

Additional information about the relief effort can be found at,, and

For other questions related to the NYC schools, AFC will try to help. Call the Jill Chaifetz Education Helpline, 1-866-427-6033, Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 4 pm.

10.26.2012 | AFC has a new guide to Section 504! This guide explains what Section 504 is, how it applies to children in public schools, and how to get Section 504 services or accommodations for your child. View the guide

10.25.2012 | Today AFC testified before the Education Committee of the New York City Council, expressing concerns about the NYC Department of Education's network-based structure for supporting the City's 1,700 schools. Our concerns center on two different problems: (i) the structure diffuses accountability by separating the supervision of principals from their support; and (ii) it diminishes opportunity for collaboration and resource sharing between schools that are geographically close to each other. View testimony