Effective Advocacy Safeguards Services for Children
On June 29, 2010, the New York City Council voted to enact a $63 billion budget for City Fiscal Year 2011. Throughout the budget negotiation process, CCC staff testified at city budget hearings, held trainings for CCC volunteers, met with City Council members, and co-sponsored 5 press conferences, several of which included over 300 attendees. CCC informed Council Members of budget threats to children and families while press conferences educated the public about the negative impact budget cuts could have on children. CCC obtained media coverage from the following outlets - The Daily News, New York 1, WNBC, WNYC, El Diario, Korea Daily, The World Journal, The Epoch Times and the New York Times. CCC also secured public support for CCC priorities and kept the pressure on decision makers through e-action campaigns. These campaigns allowed New Yorkers to weigh in with local elected officials and generated more than 14,000 letters urging them to prevent reductions to child welfare programs, child care, after school programs, children’s health and mental health services and eviction prevention services. Additionally, CCC maintained a constant presence on the steps of City Hall throughout the budget negotiations.
When the budget was adopted, over $395 million in restorations, initiatives and discretionary funding were included in the city’s 2011 Adopted Budget. Restorations were made to child care classrooms, child health clinics, mental health services for children under 5, the infant mortality initiative, legal services to prevent evictions, and funding for food pantries. Notably, the Adopted Budget also recognized the life saving nature of child abuse and neglect prevention services by restoring funding for 2,900 preventive service slots, preventing the elimination of 25% of the preventive service system's capacity. The budget also restored funding for ACS child protective staff. CCC is grateful that that City Council, the Administration, the advocates and the public recognized how critical the work of ACS and its providers are to keeping children safe and out of foster care.
Click here to view a summary of budget actions taken by the City Council to restore services for children and families.
Keeping Track 9th Edition Released:
Report Reveals Early Impacts of the Economic Downturn
In June 2010, CCC released the 9th edition of Keeping Track of New York City’s Children, the most comprehensive centralized database tracking New York City’s two million children. This edition of Keeping Track identifies the setbacks experienced by children and families during the onset of the fiscal crisis. The data in Keeping Track show significant citywide increases in unemployment, family homelessness, and food stamp receipt and paint a troubling picture of the hardships New York City’s families are grappling with today.
While the economic downturn has created challenges for families across New York City, profound disparities in child well-being persist by race and ethnicity and for Black and Latino children. For example, the rate of Black unemployment has increased 101.7% since 2007, the infant mortality rate for Black babies remains twice as high as the citywide average, and the teen birth rate for Latinas is 73 percent higher than citywide average. In addition, Black and Latino youth remain more likely to drop out of high school, more likely to be out of school and out of work, and are more likely to be in local detention and state juvenile placement than their White or Asian peers.
Keeping Track also finds that risks to children differ dramatically from one neighborhood to the next. Children living in the highest risk communities - Mott Haven, Hunts Point and Morrisania in the Bronx - face incredibly daunting challenges including greater rates of poverty, crime, poor housing, poor education outcomes and limited access to essential community resources such as banks, libraries and parks.
With the release of the 9th edition, Keeping Track Online was upgraded to allow users to toggle between data in the seventh, eighth, and ninth editions of Keeping Track and provides archived data from the earliest editions, allowing users to examine how child well-being has changed in the city, each borough and the 59 community districts over the past twenty years. Finally, Keeping Track Online allows users to export the data and save customized inquires in Excel tables.
In sum, the 9th edition of Keeping Track draws attention to the issues of poverty and homelessness, as well as disparities in health, education, youth risks and safety. In doing so, Keeping Track’s data underscore where priorities must be established and hard work undertaken to ensure that progress is not lost, that disparities in child well-being are confronted, and that improvements are achieved. We encourage you to use Keeping Track and Keeping Track Online to inform services delivery, funding, and advocacy undertaken on behalf on New York City’s children.
To access more information on Keeping Track and Keeping Track Online please click here.
New York State and US Department of Justice Reach Settlement
Regarding Juvenile Placement Facilities
On July 14, 2010, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the State of New York and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) reached a settlement agreement to remedy DOJ’s findings that four OCFS juvenile placement facilities systematically violated juveniles’ constitutional rights in the areas of protection from harm and mental health care.
In 2009, DOJ issued findings that staff at the facilities consistently and excessively used a disproportionate degree of force to gain control of youth, staff overused restraints often causing injury to youth, facilities failed to investigate uses of force and failed to discipline staff found to have used excessive force, and the facilities failed to provide adequate behavioral management programs and treatment programs. In December 2009, CCC issued a report, Inside Out: Youth Experience Inside New York’s Juvenile Placement System, which is a longitudinal study of boys in juvenile placement. CCC's report also documents that mental health and other needs of youth (e.g., substance abuse, educational, youth development) were often not met and that youth safety concerns were pervasive, reflecting a corrections-based approach to serving youth in placement rather than a treatment-based approach.
Key provisions of the settlement agreement include that OCFS will limit the use of restraints; OCFS will limit “face down” restraints to no more than three minutes, train staff to monitor for distress and have the child medically reviewed within four hours; OCFS will require prompt reporting of staff misconduct; the state shall provide an integrated, adequate, appropriate and effective behavioral treatment program at the facilities; and OCFS will require standardization of documentation for prescribing psychotropic medication to juveniles in placement.
While the settlement applies only to the four facilities investigated by DOJ, OCFS Commissioner Carrion has indicated her commitment to expanding to other facilities over time. It is clear that New York State must make needed investments to ensure that youth in placement are safe and have their needs met.
In addition, to successfully reform juvenile justice, the state must also make significant and long overdue investments in community-based mental-health, youth development, and educational supports that youth so desperately need and must develop a more rational and fair reimbursement system for cost sharing pertaining to placement and alternatives to placement programs.
CCC’s report can be accessed here
The full settlement agreement can be accessed here
ASPIRE Legislation Would Provide Economic Security For Children
On July 15, 2010, Senator Schumer and Senator Dodd introduced legislation that would create a savings account at birth for every child. The ASPIRE bill (American Saving for Personal Investment, Retirement and Education Act) in the Senate (S.3577) is similar to ASPIRE in the House (H.R. 4682), which was introduced by Congressmen Kennedy, Petri and Cooper. CCC has a history of advocating for child savings accounts and included the concept as part of our Securing Every Child’s Birthright campaign to promote financial security for all children. CCC has submitted a memo of support urging Congress to enact ASPIRE legislation to provide a foundation of economic security and success for all children.
Research has shown that children from households with assets have better health, education and employment outcomes than their peers from households without assets. While it takes savings to go to college, learn a trade, buy a home or start a business, for many families, stagnant wages and the rising cost of living deters saving for their children’s future. While government has long enacted policies that encourage people to save and build assets (e.g., home-ownership, retirement, and subsidized education) most of the benefits of such programs go to those who already have substantial wealth and over 60% of taxpayers are excluded from these opportunities.
ASPIRE would help to build financial resources early on for all children. The savings account established at birth for all children would provide both an orientation toward the future and a foundation for children’s success. The ASPIRE legislation would also promote a lifetime of long-term saving habits for adults and their children and encourage higher rates of saving and investment that would have a positive impact on the national economy.
CCC will keep you posted as we continue to advocate for and track this legislation. For more information click here to read CCC’s memo of support of the ASPIRE legislation and click here to see a summary of the legislation by the New America Foundation, an organization spearheading the National Child Savings Coalition.
2010 Celebration Breakfast
Join Citizens' Committee for Children of New York
in Celebrating the Contributions of Child Advocates
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
7:30am to 9:00am
The Waldorf=Astoria, Grand Ballroom
Reservations Now Available Online
Luis A. Ubiñas, Ford Foundation President
Eleanor Roosevelt Award:
Nancy Locker, CCC Vice President
Samuel P. Peabody Award for Community Activism:
Urban Youth Collaborative
Master of Ceremonies:
Melissa Russo, NBC New York Anchor and Government Affairs Reporter
Learn more about the keynote speaker and honorees.
Andrew S. Rosen
Lee A. Link, Marge Scheuer, Nancy Solomon