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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

09.01.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | Regular screening “is one component of a good system,” said Sarah Part, a policy analyst at the nonprofit Advocates for Children. Still, she and others said implementation will be key, including what specific training will be provided and how educators will be expected to tweak their teaching in response.

“We don’t want to see this just left up to individual schools for everyone to do their own thing,” Part said. Read article

08.31.2021 | NY Daily News | Families also have the right to mount a legal challenge to secure services through the city’s overburdened special education courts — but those cases can take years to resolve and often require substantial investments of time and money.

The education nonprofit Advocates for Children has pushed the city to proactively reach out to families who need individual plans to make up services. Read article

08.30.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | A recent report from Advocates for Children of New York found an upward trend of “child in crisis” incidents, a New York Police Department label for instances in which a student in emotional distress is removed from class and then transported to a hospital for a psychological evaluation.

K.A. recalls receiving a call from her son’s school saying staff had called 911 when her son, who is mixed race, had an emotional outburst. Police responded to the call, and her son was ultimately taken to the hospital for an evaluation.

“They felt like he was out of control and called 911,” she said. “Instead of the school getting the services he needed, they called the police.” Read article

08.30.2021 | City & State | Rohini Singh, a senior staff attorney with Advocates for Children of New York, was unsure whether the addition of resources would mean greater accessibility to those resources. “While you look at a list of the programs on paper, it sounds really robust and really supports students. What we find is that there’s a disconnect between actual direct provision of services for students and access for students,” Singh said.  Read article

08.22.21 | The CITY | And this past June, a new analysis of city policing data by the nonprofit Advocates for Children showed that police involvement in “child in crisis” incidents — where students are taken to hospitals in response to emotional distress — were on the rise pre-pandemic. They’d risen from 2,700 incidents in the 2016-2017 school year to about 3,500 incidents in the 2017-2018 school year, the Daily News first reported.

There were particularly high rates for Black students and for those in schools that serve youth with special needs. Read article

08.15.21 | NY1 | Advocates for Children have been fighting for a fair and equal education for all children for the past five decades.

Special Education Policy Coordinator Maggie Moroff joined In Focus to talk about what they’re hearing from worried parents as they prepare to send their kids back to school for in-person learning.

She said, while there are some parents who are anxious to see their children back in school full-time, others are worried about the rapid spread of the Delta Variant, especially among young children, and they are asking at least to start the school year with a remote option. Watch video

08.08.2021 | NY Daily News | Advocates are urging embattled Gov. Cuomo to swiftly sign a bill to increase funding for cash-strapped programs at special education preschools and private schools serving disabled kids — worried a delay could leave vulnerable children without crucial services. 

More than 100 advocacy groups sent Cuomo a letter outlining the urgency for a measure that won unanimous support of the state Assembly and Senate in June. 

“At a time when school districts are receiving an infusion of new funding, the State must not shortchange students with the most intensive needs and the schools that serve them,” groups including Advocates for Children wrote in the Friday note. Read article

08.06.2021 | Care.com | “Reading about your child is overwhelming and sometimes confusing,” says Maggie Moroff, senior Special Education policy coordinator at Advocates For Children, a New York City based advocacy organization for students who need special education.

What’s also not helpful, according to Moroff? These evaluations can make for some dense reading. 

“[Evaluations are] not written for parents; they’re written for professionals,” adds Moroff. Regardless, she advises parents to read them thoroughly and come to the meeting stating any concerns, disagreements and questions you have about the reports you’ve read. Read article

07.28.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | Multiple advocates said they are concerned that schools will offer a fixed menu of special education services rather than figuring out what each student missed last year in consultation with parents and offering services tailored to those gaps. 

“What is most important for us is that there’s an individualized determination of what the students’ needs are and likewise an individualized determination of the assignment of services,” said Rebecca Shore, the litigation director for the nonprofit group Advocates for Children. 

The organization filed a class action lawsuit last year demanding the city come up with a streamlined system for providing compensatory services rather than relying on the formal legal complaint process. Education department officials did not respond to a question about whether they considered the after-school and Saturday sessions to be “compensatory” in nature, a distinction that has legal implications. Read article

07.16.2021 | Rockland News | “Early Intervention (EI) provides critical assistance for young children with developmental delays and disabilities at the time intervention can have the greatest impact," said Randi Levine, Policy Director, Advocates for Children of New York. "Following years of commercial health insurance companies denying the vast majority of EI claims, we thank Assemblymember Paulin and Senator Reichlin-Melnick for their leadership in passing A.5339/S.5560A to assess a fee on health insurance companies to help cover the cost of this important and cost-effective program.  We urge Governor Cuomo to sign the bill into law and to use the additional funding to strengthen the EI program so that young children don’t have to wait for needed assistance.” Read article