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Paige, a bright third grade student on the autism spectrum, sat at home for nearly two months waiting for a school placement that would meet her needs. 

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News & Media


03.03.2015 | Today, AFC is testifying before the City Council Education Committee about the problem of overcrowding in schools and about the charter school cap. We believe it is premature to raise the cap on the number of charter schools before putting laws and practices in place that protect students’ civil rights in the context of school discipline and ensure that charter schools serve high-needs populations. View testimony [PDF]

03.02.2015 | Today AFC will be testifying at the DOE Office of Safety and Youth Development hearing on the draft school discipline code for 2014-2015. AFC is a member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign New York (DSC-NY) and supports DSC’s goals of mandating guidance interventions prior to resorting to suspensions, expanding staff trainings that promote positive school environments, and eliminating suspensions for B21—“Defying or Disobeying Authority.” Our testimony focuses on the DOE’s revision to Infraction Code B21 and the importance of addressing the behavioral needs of Pre-K students. View testimony [PDF]

02.27.2015 | Today, AFC is testifying at the New York City Council Committee on General Welfare hearing on interagency collaboration between the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to protect children in temporary housing. We urge ACS and DHS to create a long-term plan to enroll all eligible children living in the City’s shelters in early childhood education programs. View testimony [PDF]

city council hearing

02.25.2015 | Today AFC Project Director Abja Midha (second from left) testified at the New York City Council Committee on Education hearing on English Language Learners (ELLs). In our testimony, we raised concerns about the shortage of bilingual program options for ELLs, particularly in languages other than Spanish. View testimony [PDF]

02.12.2015 |  Today, Advocates for Children of New York releases a report, Civil Rights Suspended: An Analysis of New York City Charter School Discipline Policies [PDF], with key findings that we have made after reviewing 164 New York City charter school discipline policies obtained through Freedom of Information Law requests. A significant number of City charter schools have discipline policies that fail to meet the legal requirements, leading to violations of students’ and parents’ civil rights. The report includes recommendations for state legislators to consider as they discuss raising the cap on charter schools and ensuring that charter schools serve high-needs students.

“We hear from parents who celebrated winning the charter school lottery only to have their students face repeated suspension or expulsion from school with no opportunity to challenge it,” said Paulina Davis, AFC Staff Attorney. “Students do not give up their civil rights when they enter charter schools. We urge the State to ensure that all charter schools have discipline policies that meet legal requirements.”

For families of students attending charter schools, AFC’s Guide to Charter School Discipline [PDF] explains what to do if your child has been suspended from a charter school, how to appeal a charter school's suspension decision, and your rights throughout the process.

View the press release [PDF]
Read the report
Read AFC’s Guide to Charter School Discipline [PDF]

02.03.2015 | Today, AFC is testifying in Albany about the proposed state education budget. We urge the Legislature to: 

  1. Increase funding for Pre-K statewide and support New York City’s plan to make Pre-K truly universal; 
  2. Increase funding for Career and Technical Education (CTE); 
  3. Increase funding to support English Language Learners (ELLs) and immigrant students; 
  4. Reject the Executive Budget special education waiver proposal; 
  5. Modify the Executive Budget charter school proposal to ensure that charter schools serve high-needs populations; 
  6. Support the Executive Budget proposal to establish regional rates for Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) services; and 
  7. Increase education funding overall.

View testimony [PDF]

01.14.2015 | Today AFC is testifying at the City Council Committee on General Welfare oversight hearing on EarlyLearn. EarlyLearn programs need adequate funding, training, technical assistance, and support to serve all eligible preschool students, including those who need additional support in order to succeed in the classroom and prepare for kindergarten. View our testimony [PDF]

01.06.2015 | It’s time to apply to kindergarten! Parents of children born in 2010 should apply to kindergarten between January 7th and February 13th. Advocates for Children of New York has resources to help families with this important transition. 

Kindergarten Admissions: 
All families with children born in 2010 are encouraged to participate in the DOE’s kindergarten admissions process. Families can apply to up to 12 schools using one application form. They can complete this application form online, over the phone, or in person at a family welcome center (formerly known as a borough enrollment office) between January 7th and February 13th. This year, the online application is available in 10 languages. For more information, please review and share AFC’s Kindergarten Admissions Guide, available in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF], and the DOE’s Kindergarten Admissions Website.

In addition, the DOE is holding information sessions on the admissions process.


Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus
500 East Fordham Road 

6:00 PM-7:30 PM

Staten Island

The Michael J. Petrides School, Building C
715 Ocean Terrace 

6:00 PM-7:30 PM


The High School of Fashion Industries
225 West 24th Street 

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM 


Prospect Heights Educational Campus
883 Classon Avenue 

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM


Forest Hills High School
67-01 110th Street

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Additional Process for Students with Disabilities: 
In addition to applying to kindergarten, families with children born in 2010 who have IEPs will be participating in a second process—development of kindergarten IEPs. For comprehensive information about the transition to kindergarten for students with disabilities, please review and share AFC’s Turning 5 Guide, available in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF], and the DOE’s Turning 5 Website.

12.17.2014 | As the year comes to a close, we want to take this moment to thank all of you for your partnership and support. We are truly privileged to devote our professional lives to work that has a profound impact on the futures of low-income children and families. 

The past year included the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education – a reminder of our highest aspirations – as well as the killings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner – reminders of how far away those aspirations remain. 

We work at AFC because we believe in a better future for the children we serve. Sadly, for many young people, school does not provide the road to equal opportunity that the Brown Court envisioned. Black and Latino children here in New York City have higher rates of suspension, higher rates of being labeled “emotionally disturbed,” and lower rates of admission to the City’s most coveted public schools. Those of our clients who are students of color often find that their actions are reflexively viewed with suspicion and distrust that their White peers seldom have to confront. 

Just the other day, one of our clients, Orlando, received a summons as he entered the subway on the way home from his last class. Orlando is 20 years old and has significant speech impairments. School is a struggle for him, but he is sticking with it, striving to graduate. The police stopped and ticketed him for using a student Metrocard, wrongly assuming that he was too old to go to school and must have stolen the card. Having never been in trouble with the law before, Orlando arrived home quite shaken. Though he did nothing wrong, he now has to miss school to defend himself in court, or risk a warrant being issued for his arrest. 

Too many young people, like Orlando, carry the additional burden of facing down negative assumptions about their abilities and their behavior as they come of age in New York City and pursue their education. They need the support of adults who see their potential and advocate for them to surmount the many obstacles that stand in their way. 

Thank you for joining us in the work that we do, in making sure that the children and youth we serve know they’ve got someone in their corner – that their lives matter.

kim sweet signature
Kim Sweet
Executive Director

12.15.2014 | Today Advocates for Children testified before the City Council Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Disability Services on the importance of the Early Intervention program. View testimony [PDF]