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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

03.24.2021 | NY Daily News | Advocates for Children, a group that represents students with disabilities, said the expansion comes with a major caveat: hundreds of preschoolers with disabilities still don’t have access to specialized classes. 

“3-K and Pre-K will never be ‘for all’ while preschoolers with disabilities are sitting at home without the classes they need,” said Kim Sweet, AFC’s Executive Director. “Announcing a major expansion of 3-K with no plan to provide legally required classes to preschoolers with disabilities is a slap in the face to parents whose children need additional help—and is a violation of children’s civil rights.” Read article

03.24.2021 | amNY | But while electeds touted the news, education advocates spoke up for special needs children who have largely been left out of the conversation when it comes to 3-K and Pre-K for All initiatives. “3-K and Pre-K will never be ‘for all’ while preschoolers with disabilities are sitting at home without the classes they need,” said Kim Sweet, executive director of the nonprofit Advocates for Children. “Announcing a major expansion of 3-K with no plan to provide legally required classes to preschoolers with disabilities is a slap in the face to parents whose children need additional help—and is a violation of children’s civil rights.” Read article

03.23.2021 | Forbes | "This is the fifth consecutive year that the number of New York City students experiencing homelessness has topped 100,000, a number that's steadily increased by more than 70% over the last decade," said Janyll Canals-Kernizan from Advocates for Children, which works to ensure a high-quality education for New York City students who face barriers to academic success. 

"There are many factors that contribute to rising rates of homelessness—a critical lack of affordable housing, domestic violence, food insecurity, job loss, low wages, and now a global pandemic—and while there's much the city can do to better support all unhoused New Yorkers, it's important to remember that students experiencing homelessness need specific support. Without a high school diploma, youth are 4.5 times more likely to experience homelessness later in life. That means that unless we are able to specifically address educational outcomes for students who are homeless and provide the support they need to access education, we will not be able to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness." Read article

03.19.2021 | City Limits | Ashley Grant, a director with Advocates for Children of New York, says they are particularly concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the city’s students of color, as well as English Language Learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities — groups disproportionately represented among students who need more than four years to graduate. Many older high schoolers have already overcome a number of educational barriers before COVID-19, and many work jobs in addition to their studies, she says.

“These are students who already are the most vulnerable and who may have become totally disconnected from school during the pandemic,” Grant says. Read article

03.16.2021 | The Hechinger Report | But after the pandemic hit, many routes to help were cut off. A study by the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York found that in New York City alone, there was an 82 percent decline in referrals to early intervention services during a four-week period beginning in March 2020. Between July and September 2020, the number of infants and toddlers in New York City receiving services was 15 percent lower than in the same period in 2019. Read article

03.15.2021 | Gothamist |  Some students are simply overwhelmed trying to work multiple jobs and keep up with school. Attorney Ashley Grant from the nonprofit Advocates for Children said that is the case for many older students who attend transfer high schools. She said her organization is calling on the Department of Education to allow kids who are aging out of the school system an extra year to finish their diploma or other types of certificates, something it allowed for certain categories of older students last June. Read article

03.11.2021 | Spectrum News Albany | "For those older students, the pandemic has been particularly rough. Many young people have lost family members, students are working much more to bring income into their homes. And so, we're very worried about students who are in their very last year of school eligibility who are struggling to engage in school remotely or make progress in school remotely," said Ashley Grant of Advocates for Children of New York.

According to Advocates for Children of New York, roughly 2,000-3,000 students each year graduate after their sixth year of high school. Read article

03.10.2021 | The 74 | The city is home to at least 111,000 children without stable housing, according to a December analysis published by Advocates for Children. That’s about 1 in 10 youth enrolled in the city’s public or charter schools — more than the population of Albany. Many of these students have long faced serious challenges to their education, including poverty, family instability and learning interruptions, issues that have only worsened during COVID-19. Read article

03.09.2021 | The 74 | In November, the nonprofit Advocates for Children filed a federal class action lawsuit against the city on behalf of students with special needs who they say have missed legally mandated services during virtual learning. Fortunately for Hamza and Sumaya, their mother Merieme and the advocacy group fought years ago to get the two NYC public school students into a state-approved private school. Once schools opened up in late September, they were able to go back, and they’ve been back ever since. Read article

03.09.2021 | CBS New York | With that directive set to expire this year, more than 100 advocates signed a letter asking state leaders for another extension. “We know that anytime a barrier comes up for a student, they’re less likely to finish their high school diploma,” said Ashley Grant, with Advocates for Children. 

Thousands of students would be impacted — mainly English language learners and those with disabilities who need transition services that can’t be done remotely. “So that might mean connecting to adult services, that might mean doing work-based learning,” Grant said. Watch video