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AFC in the News

05.26.2021 | Bronx News 12 | A new report from the Advocates for Children of New York and the Legal Aid Society found concerning numbers on the education of the 6,000 New York City students who live in foster care, but the report also outlined a possible solution. 

The advocates say the report confirms their worst fears. 

It found that only 42% of city students in foster care graduated on time last year - the lowest of any student group. One in five of them repeated a grade - nearly four times all others. And one in 10 of these students had an attendance rate of less than 50%. Watch video

05.21.2021 | Gotham Gazette | Three of the front-runners for the Democratic nomination for mayor -- civil rights attorney Maya Wiley, city government veteran Kathryn Garcia, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang -- discussed how they would approach issues affecting children and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness in a virtual forum Thursday hosted by nonprofit service-providers Win and Advocates for Children. The candidates, competing in the June primary, presented their plans for addressing housing instability and permanent housing, social services, and barriers to education for homeless children. Read article

05.21.2021| amNY | “Year after year, AFC hears from hundreds of parents whose children are struggling with reading and can’t get the help they desperately need at their public schools,” said Maggie Moroff, Advocate for Children’s special education policy coordinator. “We regularly work with middle and high school students who are still non-readers, unable to read picture books to their younger siblings, let alone age-appropriate books or their school textbooks.” Read article

05.20.2021 | NY Daily News | “New York City should seize this opportunity to make long-overdue investments in literacy curriculum and interventions,” said Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children, the group that wrote the report. “As our schools recover from the pandemic, we cannot return to ‘normal,’ when ‘normal’ was not teaching our students how to read.”

Advocates recommend a $200 million investment to shore up the city’s approach to reading instruction — with $50 million towards new curriculum and training, and $150 million for tutoring and small-group support for struggling readers — an approach backed by the City Council in its budget recommendations. DOE officials have pledged $500 million in this year’s budget for “academic recovery,” but have given few specifics on how the money will be spent. Read article

05.12.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | “We have already heard from families who were told by their schools or [community organizations] that there would not be special education supports available this summer,” said Randi Levine, a special education policy expert at Advocates for Children, adding that community organizations have sometimes struggled to accommodate students with disabilities during previous summer or after-school programs. “What the law requires is for all students to have the accommodations they need.” Read article

05.12.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | “If we have to do it one by one, and case by case, it also means, realistically, that families with more resources are going to be more likely to get the additional time,” said Ashley Grant, who oversees postsecondary readiness for the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York, which is part of a coalition that’s supporting the New York bill. Read article

05.05.2021 | Bklyner | “It’s been three years, and we’ve been pushing this for a while,” says Erika Palmer, the supervising attorney at AFC who worked on this report. “With the federal and state funding the DOE will be getting, we think it’s a particularly perfect time for them to move forward with this.” 

The advocates are urging the Department of Education to create an office specifically for the city’s foster care children. This comes three years after the Interagency Foster Care Task Force recommended the DOE to do so as well. Read article

05.05.2021 | amNY | Out of the city’s 1.1 million public school students, roughly 6,000 are in the foster care system, according to a recently released report from Advocates for Children of New York and the Legal Aid Society. Most students in foster care are Black and come from the city’s poorest neighborhoods. These students face numerous educational challenges during normal times and have had to face extra hardships during the pandemic, advocates stress. Read article

05.04.2021 | NBC News | After attending in-person classes for four weeks last fall at the Zeta Charter School, across the street from his apartment in northern Manhattan, Raynardo was banished to the school’s virtual classes for failing to wear a mask and follow other Covid-19 safety rules. 

The family’s lawyer, Michael Athy, a staff attorney with New York’s Advocates for Children, said the family applied for a meeting with city education officials to argue that Raynardo’s removal amounted to a punishment for actions related to his disability, but a scheduled meeting was canceled. 

Irizarry could transfer Raynardo to a different school, but she fell in love with Zeta the first time she toured it and that’s where she wants her son to go. “Fair is fair,” she said. “I’m going to fight for him all the way to the end.” Read article

05.04.2021 | NY Daily News | In a report to be released Tuesday, lawyers from Legal Aid Society and Advocates for Children argue for a dedicated DOE foster care office modeled on the agency’s approach to supporting homeless students, which involves a citywide office and borough-based support staff. 

“Someone who knows those laws, how to train schools in it,” said Erika Palmer, an attorney at Advocates for Children. The population of students in foster care is small enough that the office wouldn’t require a major financial investment, advocates add. Read article