rssfacebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

Need Help?

Call AFC's Education Helpline
(866) 427-6033
Monday to Thursday
10 am to 4 pm 

Resource library: View AFC's guidebooks, fact sheets, and more

Read Gabriel's Story

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

Sign up

Receive email updates or text alerts from AFC.

News & Media

Newsfeed

November 2015 | This year marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (formerly called the Education for All Handicapped Children Act), which was signed into law by President Gerald Ford on November 29, 1975. This landmark legislation, which underlies almost all of Advocates for Children’s work on behalf of students with disabilities, ensured access to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment for every child in the United States. Prior to 1975, the majority of children with disabilities were excluded from public school entirely, segregated from their non-disabled peers in sub-par settings, or left without the services and supports they needed to make educational progress. While there remains much work to be done to ensure students with disabilities not only have a seat in the classroom, but receive a quality education and equal access to opportunities once there, we mark this milestone by paying tribute to the families and advocates who paved the way. 

Read a letter from Executive Director Kim Sweet [PDF] marking this milestone.

For more on the history of the IDEA, see the U.S. Department of Education's website



A few AFC staff members reflect on what the IDEA means to them.


10.30.2015 | Today AFC submitted comments on the New York City Department of Education’s Proposed Community Schools Policy, which we view as an important vehicle for creating shared language and expectations around the City’s Community Schools Initiative. View comments [PDF]

10.26.2015 | On the evening of November 19, the ARISE Coalition (which is coordinated by AFC) and the Mental Health Association of New York City will be co-sponsoring a panel and parent speak out on behavior supports for students with disabilities. Download a larger, PDF version of the flyer in English and Spanish

behavior support speak out flyer

10.14.2015 | Congratulations to AFC Board member Caroline J. Heller, who has been named head of the firmwide Pro Bono Program at Greenberg Traurig, LLP! In addition to serving on our Board of Directors, Caroline is a superstar pro bono attorney. Last year, an 11-year-old AFC client, for whom Caroline secured placement in a private special education school, wrote her to say, "I think this letter is not enough to tell you thank you for everything you did for me. I really love my school. Not all kids have this chance but God helped to put you in my life. I’m so happy. My mom helped me to write this letter. She is so, so happy, she thinks everything is possible in this life. Thanks again and again and again."

10.01.2015 | For many years, AFC has been a federally funded Parent Training and Information Center. Today we are proud to announce the launch of the New York Region 1 PTIC Collaborative. Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, we will be working with IncludeNYC, Sinergia, and the Long Island Advocacy Center to provide training and information to families of children with disabilities, as well as the professionals that work with them, throughout New York City and Long Island.

10.01.2015 | Today both AFC and the ARISE Coalition, which is coordinated by AFC, are testifying before the City Council Committee on Education about the new DOE structure for supporting schools and families. We are pleased that the new DOE structure includes a Family Support Coordinator in each Superintendent’s office who is responsible for addressing families’ concerns. In order for Family Support Coordinators to be effective, we have several recommendations. View AFC's testimony [PDF] and the ARISE Coalition's testimony [PDF].

09.29.2015 | Advocates for Children of New York applauds the City Council’s efforts to make New York City a model for the rest of the country in publicly reporting school discipline and police department activity in public schools.  The City Council is expected to vote tomorrow to pass amendments to the Student Safety Act that require the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and New York City Police Department (NYPD) to report more robust information related to student suspensions, arrests, and summonses in school and post the information on their respective websites.   

“We are grateful to the City Council for its leadership on this important bill, which will bring to light data necessary to the public understanding of how students are disciplined and arrested in the city’s schools,” said Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York.  “We have represented students in suspension proceedings for decades and have long noted troubling racial disparities and other patterns that called for changes in policy and practice.  This law allows schools, government agencies, and the public to see what’s happening and come together to make changes where they are desperately needed.”

View full press statement [PDF]

09.21.2015 | AFC has created a brand-new fact sheet, Questions & Answers About Literacy [PDF] (also available in Spanish [PDF]), for families of students who are struggling with reading. The fact sheet explains how to get help for your child and some of the services and supports available for struggling readers. 

In addition, we also have a new fact sheet on language access for immigrant families, Translation and Interpretation Services in New York City Public Schools [PDF] (also available in Spanish [PDF] and Chinese [PDF]).  The fact sheet explains the rights of public school parents who do not speak English and how to get translation and interpretation services.

We have recently updated many of our other fact sheets to include the latest information, including:

To download translations, or to view even more publications on a variety of education-related topics, please visit our resource library

09.16.2015 | For a Mayor who wants to address inequality, teaching children to read is a great place to start. Students who struggle with reading get the tutoring and specialized support they need if their parents have means. Students from low-income families often continue to flounder, and fall further and further behind. Every year, we receive call after call from families of children who are struggling in school because they lack the most basic literacy skills. We see this problem across the educational spectrum — from fourth graders being held over, to fifteen-year-olds who are stuck in eighth grade, to high school students who can’t pass the Regents exams. Kids who can’t read become frustrated in school. Often they start getting into trouble. Frequently, they stop attending altogether. Too many New York City schools don’t have the expertise and the resources needed to help students who need significant support in learning to read. We are encouraged to see the de Blasio administration begin making a long-overdue investment in improving literacy instruction for all New York City students, and we urge him to make sure that students with the full range of disabilities and English Language Learners are able to benefit from these efforts. View statement as pdf

09.09.2015 | As the new school year begins, we celebrate the milestone of having a full-day Pre-K seat available for every four-year-old child in New York City for the first time. Research shows that children from low-income backgrounds who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs are less likely to be retained a grade in school, be placed in special education classes, or drop out of school. After years of advocating to expand access to early childhood education, we are proud that New York City has made Pre-K truly universal, helping tens of thousands of additional children prepare to succeed in school.

As students head back to school, AFC has released a start-of-school fact sheet for families of students with disabilities. The fact sheet gives parents information about how to get help when they experience certain problems that may occur at the start of the school year, such as what to do if a child’s school does not have the type of class mandated by the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or if bus service is not in place. The fact sheet is available in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF]. Additional resources on topics ranging from promotion criteria to school discipline are available on our website. In addition, our Jill Chaifetz Education Helpline is open from Monday-Thursday, 10am-4pm, to assist parents with back-to-school questions or concerns. The phone number is 866-427-6033.

View statement as pdf