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Paige’s Story

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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02.13.2018 | On February 12, 2018, AFC submitted testimony for the New York State Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the 2018-2019 Health Budget proposal, urging legislators to increase the reimbursement rate for Early Intervention providers and to reject a budget proposal to restructure the Early Intervention screening and evaluation process. View testimony [PDF]

Previously, on January 31, AFC testified at the hearing on the 2018-2019 Elementary and Secondary Education Budget proposal, urging state legislators to increase investments in education initiatives such as positive approaches to discipline, prekindergarten, and support for English Language Learners and to reject harmful special education proposals. View testimony [PDF]

12.22.2017 | In the fall of 2017, AFC with Greenberg Traurig, LLP filed federal complaints against the New York City Department of Education on behalf of four parents whose children did not receive the nursing services that they required to attend school. As a result of the lack of nursing services, two of the students were unable to attend school for two or more years. The complaints allege that the DOE’s failure to provide nursing services is a result of systemic problems within the DOE. The court in one instance had to issue an injunction ordering the DOE to provide the necessary nursing, transportation, and porter services for a student, noting at the hearing that the student’s denial of education over the past two years is a “Dickensian saga.”

Read the complaint [PDF]

View coverage by NBC New York

guide cover12.19.2017 | Advocates for Children has a new guide on preventing and addressing bullying! This guide describes bullying behavior and signs a child may be bullied. It also includes the education rights of students who are bullied or engaged in bullying behavior and attend NYC Department of Education schools, including special protections for students with disabilities. 

View the guide [PDF]

first page of data brief11.02.2017 | Today, Advocates for Children of New York is releasing a brief analyzing data reported by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) showing that Black students are significantly over-represented in NYPD “child in crisis” interventions – incidents involving students in emotional distress sent to the hospital for psychological evaluation.  The new data brief, entitled Children in Crisis: Police Response to Students in Emotional Distress [PDF], scrutinizes data made public as part of 2015 amendments to the Student Safety Act that require reporting of enhanced information on police activities involving students in New York City public schools. The brief examines the demographic characteristics of students involved in child in crisis interventions, as well as the NYPD’s use of handcuffs on students as young as 5 years old during these incidents between July 2016 and June 2017.

Read the news release [PDF]
Read the data brief [PDF]

10.30.17 | Today, AFC testified before the City Council Education Committee offering several recommendations to prevent and address bullying behavior, including expanding whole-school trainings that improve school climate, better utilizing existing data, better utilizing Field Support Center personnel, increasing awareness of anti-bullying resources, and improving reporting. View testimony [PDF]

10.11.2017 | Today, AFC is testifying before the City Council Committee on Education and Committee on General Welfare about support for students who are homeless. We are calling on the City to ensure there is high-level leadership on this issue, expand the number of DOE social workers for these students, and devote additional resources to address the significant challenges faced by the rising number of students who are homeless. View testimony [PDF]

report cover09.29.2017 | Today, Advocates for Children of New York and SCO Family of Services, a social services provider, announced the launch of a Parent Toolkit, an easy to use guide that provides recommendations and resources to enhance parent involvement in their child’s education while in foster care.  The Toolkit helps parents navigate the education system while embracing the important role they play in their children’s academic success and achievements.  

“Parent engagement can have a dramatic impact on a child’s education, and the recommendations contained in the report demonstrate that more can be done to fully engage parents in their children’s education while in foster care,” remarked Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children. “These recommendations provide a road map for involving parents who have often felt excluded and focus on shared education planning and decision-making, with parents serving as both advocates for their children and partners with schools and foster care agencies.”

The Toolkit accompanies a jointly produced report, Empowering Parents So Children Succeed, and is the product of a three-year partnership between Advocates for Children and SCO Family of Services. 

View the press release [PDF]
View the report [PDF]

Toolkit

Parent Engagement Workflow [PDF]

Parent Education Bill of Rights [PDF]
(also available in Spanish)

Talking to Your Child about School [PDF
(also available in Spanish)

Translation and Interpretation Services Fact Sheet [PDF
(also available in ArabicBengaliChineseFrenchHaitian CreoleKoreanRussianSpanishUrdu)

School Template Letter [Word file]

School Contacts Sheet [PDF
(also available in Spanish)

IEP Information Sheet [PDF

Parent-Teacher Conferences Tip Sheet [PDF
(also available in Spanish)

Advocates for Children’s Guide to Special Education [PDF
(also available in ArabicBengali, ChineseSpanish)

Online Tools for Locating Community-Based Resources [PDF

Homework Tip Sheet [PDF
(also available in Spanish)

Advocates for Children’s Education Helpline Flyer [PDF
(also available in Spanish)

09.06.2017 |  Tomorrow starts a new school year for most of the 1.1 million students in New York City's public schools. Students will take buses, cars, trains, and ferries to over 1,700 schools scattered throughout the five boroughs. They'll come from homes that speak more than 100 different languages, practice a wide variety of religions, and span the entire spectrum from extreme poverty to enormous wealth. Though their families may have little in common, they will all participate in this annual ritual — a ritual that unites our city, perhaps as much as anything else.

No matter where we're from, how we worship, or what else we believe, families all share a commitment to our children and to education as essential to preparing them to live full and productive lives. We have a collective faith in education's power to transform — not just individual children, but society itself. If we are ever going to overcome the powerful plagues of poverty, racism, and injustice, we know that education is our best hope. As Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." 

That is why it is so crucial that ALL children have the opportunity for an excellent education, and why Advocates for Children of New York is 100% committed to toppling barriers that stand in their way. During the school year that starts tomorrow, we will advocate for families in more than 7,000 cases, ranging from a student with a disability who is reading three years behind grade level because she didn't get the special education services she needs, to a parent who cannot communicate with her child's teacher because she can't get an interpreter, to a student who is being excluded from school because he was denied necessary mental health support. We will provide hundreds of "know your rights" workshops in Head Start centers, shelters, schools, and community-based organizations throughout the city's diverse neighborhoods. And we will fight for policies to ensure access to quality education for students who are often forgotten, including students who are homeless, undocumented, in foster care, or court-involved. 

As we embark upon another school year, we are proud to partner with you and so many others in service of New York City's families. Together, we can work towards a better world for each and every child. 

Sincerely,
Kim Sweet signature
Kim Sweet
Executive Director

08.24.2017 |  AFC submitted comments on SUNY’s proposed regulations regarding charter school teacher certification. While we believe there is important work to be done across the State to strengthen teacher certification pathways, address shortages of qualified teachers in certain areas, and ensure there is an excellent teacher in every classroom, we are concerned that the proposed regulations would run counter to these goals and would violate state law. View comments [PDF]

08.24.2017 | The first day of school is Thursday, September 7! In preparation, we've updated our back-to-school fact sheet for families of students with disabilities, which covers concerns that typically come up at this time of year, such as what to do if a child does not yet have a school assignment or the school assigned says they cannot serve the child’s needs. View the fact sheet in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF]. 

If you have additional questions or need assistance, please call AFC’s Education Helpline: (866) 427-6033, Monday—Thursday, 10am—4pm.