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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

06.09.2021 | amNY | “The City and State continue to expand prekindergarten while preschoolers with the most significant needs are stuck waiting for seats in violation of their legal rights,” said Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York.  “Parents of students with disabilities want to know why their children always come last.” Read article

06.07.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | “The [education department] claims that ‘All New York City students will have an opportunity to participate in the program,’” Rebecca Shore, the litigation director at Advocates for Children, wrote in a Friday letter to a top education department lawyer. “In practice, however, the DOE’s refusal to provide bus service to those students with disabilities or students in temporary housing who require it results in the exclusion of students.” 

Shore’s letter argues that the city’s transportation plans this summer run afoul of federal laws that require “equal access” for students with disabilities in programs that are available to all students and a state law that requires transportation for students in temporary housing if needed. Read article

06.05.2021 | Business Insider | "Five-, six-, seven-year-olds getting handcuffed in school. Very, very troubling," Dawn Yuster, director of the School Justice Project at Advocates for Children, told Spectrum News NY1. "I, personally, professionally have represented clients as young as eight years old, who has been handcuffed in school — and I will never forget the day that I got a call from a parent when his child was transported to the hospital." 

She added: "It only exacerbates the problems that already exist. It does absolutely nothing to change the behavior, improve the behavior, and it further alienates the family from the school." Read article

06.04.2021 | Univision | Una investigación realizada por Advocates Children of New York señala que los problemas de salud mental en estudiantes eran una realidad creciente antes de la pandemia y que el manejo que oficiales en instituciones estaban dando a estos casos criminalizaba a los jóvenes, agravando más su situación mental. Por lo anterior, Dawn Yuster, una de las autoras del informe, explicó la importancia del retiro de uniformados de los planteles y dijo que se deben aprobar leyes para evitar que los menores sean apresados en los centros educativos. Watch video

06.03.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | In a report released Thursday, Advocates for Children of New York analyzed more than 12,000 “child in crisis” incidents — a New York City 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. The analysis, an update to the nonprofit’s 2017 brief, found an upward trend in such police interventions over the past four years. Read article

06.03.2021 | NY Daily News | Advocates say the rising numbers are a sign the city needs a new approach to addressing students’ emotional needs. 

“Students in emotional crisis need emotional support. They don’t need to be arrested and handcuffed,” said Kim Sweet, AFC’s Executive Director. “As a city, we need to start treating all students as we want our own children to be treated.” 

The need for schools to address kids’ emotional distress will become more acute this fall, when city kids return to school buildings carrying the scars of the pandemic, advocates say. Read article

06.03.2021 | amNY | The report found that between 2016 and 2020, there were over 12,000 incidents of “child in crisis” interventions over half of which involved kids between the ages of four and 12 years old. 

“Students in emotional crisis need emotional support; they don’t need to be criminalized and handcuffed,” said Executive Director of Advocates for Children Kim Sweet. “As a city, we need to start treating all students as we want our own children to be treated.” Read article

06.03.2021 | NY1 | “The students who are impacted are largely black students, students with disabilities, in District 75 Special Education schools in particular, as well as low income students,” said Dawn Yuster, director of the School Justice Project at Advocates for Children. 

Around 10 percent of the time, these students in crisis were handcuffed. Among them were 23 seven-year-olds, seven six-year-olds and three five-year-olds. 

“Five-, six-, seven-year-olds getting handcuffed in school. Very, very troubling,” Yuster said.

Yuster has seen the toll these removals to hospitals can take on families.

“I, personally, professionally have represented clients as young as eight years old, who have been handcuffed in school -- and I will never forget the day that I got a call from a parent when his child was transported to the hospital,” she said. Read article

06.01.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | Three dozen advocacy and child welfare organizations are asking Mayor Bill de Blasio to pump $6.5 million into support and services for students in foster care, in time for next school year. 

The organizations want two things: a new office within the education department to create policy and provide support for the nearly 5,900 city students in foster care and guaranteed busing for students in foster care who need it. Read article

05.28.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | “As the City continues expanding 3-K and Pre-K, the City must also ensure there are enough seats for children with disabilities who need preschool special education classes this coming year,” Randi Levine, the policy director at Advocates for Children, wrote in an email. Read article