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Micaela’s Story

Micaela is a dual-language learner who is on the autism spectrum and needed an appropriate school placement for kindergarten.

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AFC in the News

12.10.19 | City Limits | City public and charter schools identified 114,085 kids — one-in-10 students — who experienced homelessness at some point during the 2018-2019 school year, according to state data published by Advocates for Children of New York; 85 percent of the homeless students were Black or Latino.

Homeless children often become homeless adults, contributing to a cycle of generational poverty, says Josef Kannegaard, principal policy analyst at the Institute for Children Poverty and Homelessness.

“What we’re seeing in the city is a lot of students who are being exposed to negative effects of homelessness at a very early age and experiencing challenges to their emotional-social behavior,” Kannegaard says. Read article

12.6.19 | News 12 | New data from a recent study highlighted the shocking number of students across the Bronx who suffer from homelessness.

Advocates for Children of New York say that 114,085 students identified as homeless during the 2018-2019 school year.

The say the Bronx is the borough that is most affected by the crisis. Read article

12.6.19 | Albany Times Union | The analysis, released Thursday by Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) and Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), finds that children under the age of three with developmental delays or disabilities are less likely to receive critical services that could help them reach their full potential if they live in low-income neighborhoods of color.

While the report focuses largely on disparities in New York City, it also highlights deficiencies in the rest of the state. According to data in the report, in 2018, one out of every four children found eligible for early intervention services in New York had to wait longer than the 30-day legal deadline for services, losing valuable opportunities to address developmental delays at a time when their brains are rapidly developing.

“For years, the state has failed to adequately invest in Early Intervention, and young children in low-income communities of color are paying the price," said Kim Sweet, executive director of AFC. "This analysis confirms what we've seen on the ground: that the educational disparities we see later in life start before children even set foot in the classroom.” Read article

12.5.19 | THE CITY | A new analysis building on city health records previously obtained by Measure of America and THE CITY finds that kids referred to special education evaluations are least likely to get screenings in low-income neighborhoods where most residents are people of color.

Those neighborhoods are also overrepresented among those where the highest numbers of children do not receive Early Intervention services following an evaluation, according to the report from the groups Citizens Committee for Children and Advocates for Children, released Thursday.

Coordinated and funded through the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the federally mandated Early Intervention program provides free services to children up to age 3 who show signs of delays and disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders.

The city budgeted $218.8 million for the program this year, and about 30,000 young New Yorkers received its services between 2016 and September 2018.

Earlier this year, Measure of America and THE CITY handed off the data, obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request, to the two child advocacy nonprofits, which carried out an analysis over the course of three months.

“The analysis confirms what we’ve seen on the ground,” said Randi Levine, the policy director at Advocates for Children. She said the organization regularly “gets calls from families who are having difficulty accessing the early intervention services that their children need.” Read article

12.5.19 | NY Daily News | Only 61% of Bronx families got their assigned early intervention services in the legal 30-day deadline, according to the report by nonprofits Advocates for Children and Citizens’ Committee for Children – the lowest rate of any borough.

The shortfalls result from shrinking public funding for the private agencies that offer services like speech therapy – a gap that hits low-income neighborhoods the hardest – advocates said.

“For years, the state has failed to adequately invest in Early Intervention, and young children in low-income communities of color are paying the price," said Kim Sweet, executive director of AFC. Read article

12.5.19 | SI Live | Nearly 3% of children under 3 years old with development delays or disabilities didn’t receive their critical, required services from 2016-2018, according to a new report.

The report, titled “Early Inequities: How Underfunding Early Intervention Leaves Low-Income Children of Color Behind,” was released Thursday by Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) and Advocates for Children of New York (AFC). It analyzed data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene about the Early Intervention program services for children across all five boroughs. Read article

12.5.19 | Politico New York |  Although New York’s early intervention program was touted as a national model when it launched in the 1990s, a new report suggests that inadequate payment rates, funding cuts and provider shortages have hindered timely access to the program's services, particularly for children living in low-income and minority communities.

An analysis by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York and Advocates for Children of New York found that only about three-quarters of children eligible for early intervention services in the state received them in the 30-day legal deadline for services between 2016 and 2018, with many counties “seeing less than half of children receiving services on time.”

“For years, the state has failed to adequately invest in early intervention, and young children in low-income communities of color are paying the price," AFC Executive Director Kim Sweet said in a statement. Read article

11.27.19 | NY1| Errol Louis discussed the homelessness crisis in the city's public schools with two advocates, Raysa Rodriguez, of the Citizens' Committee for Children of New York, and Randi Levine, of Advocates for Children. Watch video

11.20.19 | amNewYork | Education advocates urged lawmakers to push to fully fund ‘foundation’ aid during a round-table discussion at Bayside High School in Queens on Tuesday. The meeting was the last of five round tables held to discuss school needs before a Dec. 3  state senate public hearing on the impact of the foundation aid formula. The round table was headed by state Senator Shelley Mayer, John Liu, Brian Benjamin, who were joined by fellow state Senator Liz Krueger along with members of the New York state education department board of regents and City Council member Mark Treyger and New York City DOE Chief Financial Officer to listen to community concerns. 

“If a child doesn’t have a notebook and they come to school…do we leave this child to just be unprepared all year? Or do we give this kid a notebook?” asked Thomas Sheppard, part of Community Education Council 11 in the Bronx. Sheppard, other CEC members and members of groups like the New York Immigration Coalition, Advocates for Children of New York and the Alliance for Quality Education agreed that the in order to best help students foundation aid needs to be fully funded ‘as it was intended.’ Read article

11.15.19 | Bronx News12 | If you have a child, chances are they will deal with bullying at some point -- but making sure your child gets the help they need is a struggle for many. Gena Miller, attorney with Advocates for Children of New York, represents the families of bullied children. She says communication is key. "Something that's a great idea to do is to ask your child targeted questions," says Miller. "Something that we know is bullying often happens when there's lots of student-to-student interaction, so pickup, drop-off lunch, recess, gym." Miller says those targeted questions can narrow down when bullying is happening.

In a special Team 12 report, cases of bullying were found to be widely under-reported citywide. Miller says it is important to ask for a copy of any bullying report involving your child. "Something we think is important is staff members report anything they suspect is bullying so that the school can do an investigation," says Miller. "Sometimes it can be difficult to tell what's happening in a social interaction, so it's good to report so the school can investigate it appropriately." Read article