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AFC in the News

01.29.2021 | Chalkbeat | The yet-to-be appointed special master will specifically focus on the city’s compliance with a longstanding legal settlement from 2007 requiring the education department to provide services or payments to families within 35 days of receiving a hearing officer’s order. Because the city consistently failed to comply, the nonprofit group Advocates for Children requested an independent monitor in 2019. 

“Students have gone months, if not years, without ordered services,” said Rebecca Shore, litigation director at Advocates for Children. “Our hope is that this will make a difference.” Read article

01.29.2021 | The 74 | Eight candidates in the heavily crowded race for New York City mayor traded views this week on the critical issues facing the nation’s largest school system, from pandemic-driven learning loss to desegregation. 

The forum, presented by Advocates for Children, which works to advance the interests of New York’s most underserved students, took place over a publicly broadcast Zoom call and drew some 1,000 viewers. Read article

01.27.2021 | School districts will need their full share of federal relief dollars to launch “ambitious and comprehensive” recovery efforts, said Randi Levine, policy director at Advocates For Children New York. 

“It needs to have a focus both on academics and on mental health,” Levine said. “It needs to provide additional support to students with disabilities and English language learners who missed out on instruction and services that they had the legal right to receive.” Read article

01.27.2021 | Juvenile Justice Information Exchange | Dawn Yuster and her organization, Advocates for Children of New York, are calling for a mental health continuum to be established in schools with high rates of child-in-crisis cases. This model was developed by the Mayor’s Leadership Team on School Climate in 2016, which urged the city to adopt it. Last year, the City Council and other advocacy groups recommended it for high-needs schools but there was not enough money in the budget to adopt it. Read article

01.20.2021 | CBS New York | Wi-Fi connectivity and device distribution is ongoing, while schools are trying to track down 2,600 students who have never logged on.

“Recognize the disparate impact the pandemic has had and get students caught up so that this learning loss doesn’t have ripple effects for generations to come,” said Randi Levine of Advocates for Children. Watch video

01.20.2021 | Brooklyn News 12 | Betty Baez Melo, early childhood education project director at Advocates for Children of New York, talks about the coronavirus pandemic and school protocols in place as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Watch video

01.16.2021 | New York Daily News | Between 3,000 and 6,000 fewer city youngsters enrolled last year in supportive services like speech and physical therapy than in previous years after referrals from pediatricians plummeted by more than 80% at the peak of the pandemic, an analysis from Advocates for Children found. 

“Infants and toddlers cannot afford to wait for critically important Early Intervention services,” said Kim Sweet, Advocates For Children’s Executive Director. “The state and city need to take quick action to ensure young children with developmental delays and disabilities get the services they need right away.” Read article

01.16.2021 | NY1 | "We don’t know what has happened to all of the children who weren’t referred at the height of the pandemic. At some point, we would expect to see a significant increase in referrals to early intervention, and think it’s important to identify the children who were not referred and make sure they get connected to services as soon as possible,” Levine said.

Advocates for children is urging the city and state to launch an outreach program for parents and develop plans to screen more  children for developmental issues. Read article

01.15.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | “Infants and toddlers cannot afford to wait for critically important Early Intervention services, said Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children, the advocacy group that conducted the analysis. “The State and City need to take quick action to ensure children with developmental delays and disabilities get the services they need right away.” Read article

01.15.2021 | NY Post | Advocates for Children of New York found an 82 percent drop in the number of cases that were brought to the attention of the city’s Early Intervention program between March and April 2020. 

“As a result, thousands of young children with developmental delays or disabilities missed the chance for intervention at the time it is most effective,” the agency said in a statement Friday. Read article