Advancing Equity & Recovery for NY Children in the FY 2022 State Budget


March 3, 2021

The COVID-19 crisis has heightened disparities and long-unaddressed needs that children, families and communities throughout New York are facing. Addressing them requires significant action and investment.  However, the State is facing crippling budget gaps as a result of declining revenue and increased expenses related to the pandemic.

Austerity measures and cost-shifts to municipalities will only worsen the impact of this health and economic crisis – particularly on children from Black, Latinx, and immigrant households – and prevent a full recovery.

Now is the time to protect funding for child and family supports and invest in New York’s children to ensure they not only recover from this crisis but thrive.

CCC’s recent report, “Child and Family Well-being in New York State: Ranking Risks Across 62 Counties”  show even before the pandemic, far too many of New York’s children and families have been struggling. Throughout the state, counties are grappling with poverty, housing insecurity, and poor health, education, youth and community outcomes.

These needs are exacerbated now in the face of the unprecedented triple crises in public health, economic decline, and persistent race-based discrimination.

The following information highlights key findings in each domain of the statewide analysis and the key policy and budget recommendations that CCC is urging state leaders to prioritize this session: 

 

Click to jump to a specific domain:

Economic Security

In New York State, more than 800,000 children live in households below the Federal Poverty Level.

In nearly all counties that have child poverty rates above the state average of 20.6%, more than 90% of families have one or both parents in the labor force.

Counties with high child poverty rates and high parental labor force participation

The experience of poverty has long-term impacts on child development and well-being. As we consider the effects of the pandemic and the subsequent economic collapse, with about half of households reporting loss of income since March 2020, the data make clear there is a critical obligation to do more to combat poverty.

CCC is working with partners across New York State to advance budget and legislative solutions aimed at cutting child poverty in half in ten years.

Among them, the Child Poverty Reduction Act (S. 2755/A. 1160) would require the state to produce an annual public report of the effects that any adjustment or reduction in the state budget would have on child poverty, as well as establish a Child Poverty Reduction Advisory Council to identify and evaluate public policies demonstrated to reduce poverty and receive regular reporting from the state administration on progress.

We are also calling on legislators to combat economic insecurity by strengthening and expanding New York’s Child Tax Credit, especially to include young children, and strengthening and expanding New York’s Earned Income Tax Credit.

Join us in ensuring that State leaders prioritize ending child poverty in New York’s COVID recovery efforts.

Housing

In New York State, 43% of the population are renters, and 27% of these households pay more than half of their income on rent, affecting over 900,000 people.

In 26 counties, more than a quarter of renters spend more than half of their income on rent.

Counties where more than a quarter of renters are severely rent burdened

As we consider the effect of the pandemic and dramatically heightened concerns around housing insecurity, including more than one in six renter households that are not current on rent, these data point to the opportunity to prioritize policies and investments that promote housing stability and prevent family homelessness.

To prevent eviction and a surge in family homelessness, CCC is calling on state leaders to:

  • Support $128 million for the Homeless Housing Assistance Program to deliver critical homeless services and $250 million for the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative to expand supportive housing, including for families with children.
  • Increase investments in rent relief to increase the value of rent subsidies and make efficient use of existing federal stimulus funds.
  • Leverage incoming additional federal aid, as well as state resources, to establish a statewide rent subsidy to address the looming housing crisis and prevent family homelessness as the eviction moratorium ends.
  • Expand coverage for rent assistance by providing benefits regardless of immigration status, allocating resources to localities based on need, streamlining application processes by removing requirements that serve as barriers to assistance (e.g. eviction filing requirement), and waiving repayment of critical one-shot deals.

Join us in urging state leaders to take action to ensure that New York’s families have access to the supports needed to maintain stable housing and prevent an increase in families with children entering shelter.

Health

The share of children without health insurance in New York State is 2.7%.

Overall in 28 counties, the percentage of children without health insurance is greater than the statewide average, but several counties have double or triple this threshold.

The level of trauma experienced by children and families as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is sobering. Families have experienced illness, loss of life, economic insecurity, disruption in access to health and behavioral health care, and disruption in children’s everyday interactions with friends in child care, preschool and school settings. The needs of New York’s children at this time demand action to ensure that ALL children have access to health care coverage and services, as well as a robust behavioral health care continuum across primary care, early care and education, and in schools and communities.

We are advocating to protect public health services and strengthen New York’s healthcare infrastructure, including calling on state leaders to:

  • Restore the state’s reimbursement for New York City’s Article VI General Public Health Works from 10% to 36%. The proposed reduction would result in tens of millions of dollars in cuts to programs that provide preventive services addressing maternal and child health; mental health; substance use; and chronic diseases like diabetes asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and many more.
  • Restore the proposal to eliminate the state share of the Indigent Care Pool (ICP), which includes State funding for public hospitals, and reject proposed cut to funding that supports safety-net hospitals serving uninsured and low-income New Yorkers.
  • Increase funding for Health Navigators and efforts to address the decline in preventive and primary care engagement during COVID-19.
  • Restore $1.4 million in cuts to the Nurse Family Partnership program.

Please join us in urging state leaders to reverse cuts to NYC’s public health services.

To address the crisis in child and adolescent behavioral health, we are advocating to:

  • Oppose cuts to children’s behavioral health services, including the 5% reduction to Local Assistance and the removal of $22 million from Community Mental Health Reinvestment.
  • Pass legislation to cover Children and Family Treatment and Support Services in the Child Health Plus (CHP) Program (A.303-A/S.2539-A).
  • Support parity in telehealth rates offered statewide and equity in telehealth access.
  • Increase funding and supports for behavioral health services in schools and early care and education settings.

Take action to support mental health services for New York’s children and youth.

We are also advocating to improve outcomes for young children with developmental delays and disabilities by urging the state to:

  • Reject $13.7 million in cuts to the state’s Early Intervention (EI) program.
  • Implement a $40 million Covered Lives assessment on commercial insurers, reinvesting any savings from this assessment into the EI system.
  • Support a cost study on the rate methodology for EI programs and a strategic plan to address service loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Develop a strategic plan to address EI service loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Join us in urging Governor Cuomo and State legislators to pass a state budget that ensures all children and families can access the Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education services they need!

Education

In New York State, approximately 45% of third through eighth grade students are not scoring proficiently on ELA or Math state exams.

In the vast majority of counties, student pass rates fall below this statewide average.

Counties where Math/ELA pass rates are lower than state average

As we consider the pandemic’s impact on children’s education, with one in three students statewide experiencing canceled classes while adapting to remote learning and the opening and closing of school buildings, there are and will continue to be many needs that must be addressed.

CCC is advocating against proposals in the Executive Budget to supplant $1.35 billion in New York State education funding with stimulus funds which would limit the ability of New York’s schools to meet the needs of students and deprive them of emergency federal funds needed to reopen schools safely, to support remote learning, and to provide extra support to students who have struggled during an especially challenging school year.

Our Advocacy is calling on state leaders to:

  • Restore the $1.35 billion reduction in state education aid.
  • Deliver the full $4.3 billion in federal relief funds designated for schools and commit to fulfilling the state’s $3.8 billion obligation to Foundation Aid increases.
  • Oppose the proposal to allow school districts to seek waivers from special education requirements.

Join us in calling on State leaders to ensure New York’s schools can access all federal COVID-19 relief funding to meet the needs of their students. 

Early Education

Most counties across the state struggle with early education enrollment, with 23 counties falling below the national average of 47.9%.

In 33 counties, fewer than 50% of 3 and 4 year olds are enrolled in public or private early education programs.

Counties where early education enrollment is less than 50%

As the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on care-giving arrangements and forced many parents and particularly women out of the workforce, it is critical that investments in child care subsidies and Pre-Kindergarten increase and promote school readiness as well as facilitate parents’ reentry into the workforce.

Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 includes $40 million to lower some family co-pays. But given the needs that exist statewide, New York has a unique opportunity to make building-block investments and long-term structural changes to its child care system. New York is set to receive approximately $469 million dollars from the December 2020 federal stimulus act, and that money can and should be used to dramatically expand access to child care and child care subsidies across the state.

CCC, along with its partners in the Empire State Campaign for Child Care, are advocating for the federal funds to do the following:

  • Invest $370 million in federal funds to increase subsidy eligibility, lower family copays, pay providers based on enrollment, and prioritize families with the greatest need; and
  • Create a separate $100 million workforce compensation fund to raise wages for early childhood educators.

Additionally, CCC urges the legislature to ensure all children are ready for school and young children with special needs get the services they deserve by doing the following:

  • Invest $770 million to finally implement full-day universal Pre-K across New York State, where 77,000 four-year-olds outside NYC are currently without access to Pre-K;
  • Increase reimbursement rates by at least 10% for preschool special education programs; and
  • Develop a new rate-setting methodology to better reflect the costs of preschool special education services and guarantee equity in annual funding increases between public schools and preschool special education programs.

Join us in calling on State leaders to expand access to high-quality and affordable early education.

Youth

In New York State, 4.7% of teens are not in school and not in the labor force.

In 25 counties, the percent of teens who are not in school and not in the labor force exceed the New York State average of 4.7%, with six counties exceeding 10% of teens.

As we consider the loss of income experienced by two-thirds of young adults ages 18 to 24 since the start of the pandemic as well as the heightened social isolation, depression and anxiety this population is experiencing, these data point to the need to protect and expand services that prevent youth disconnection from school and work.

Among them we are advocating for programs that have been shown to have positive effects on youth outcomes like attendance, grade progression, math achievement and reductions in disciplinary incident, including efforts to:

  • Restore the $5 million cut to Advantage Afterschool programs, estimated to impact approximately 2,500 youth, which have provided crucial supports to young people and their families during the pandemic including school enrichment programs, academic help, arts and crafts, health and mental health services, and food for those suffering from food insecurity.
  • Maintain funding for community schools which offer wrap-around supports for students and families, including upstream prevention services like food pantries and benefit enrollment help, in addition to direct mental health services in the form of counselors, social workers and school based mental health clinics.

In addition, CCC continues to advocate for state leaders to build on New York’s raise the age legislation and prioritize efforts to end the criminalization of children and better serve children and youth that come into contact with law enforcement and the court system. Our advocacy this session includes calls for the state to:

  • Reinvest savings associated with the closures of state youth facilities into community services that promote healthy youth development and community safety.
  • Pass legislation to raise the lower age of juvenile delinquency from 7 to 12 years of age to better address the needs of younger children who encounter the court system and law enforcement.
  • Pass legislation to strengthen existing protections under the Youthful Offender law and create a new status covering young adults up to age 25 to help youth overcome barriers to future employment and education.

Join us in urging the state to build on its youth justice reforms and improve racial justice for New York’s youth.

Family & Community

In two-thirds of all state counties, the share of children living in single parent households is greater than the national average of 30%. These houses face greater challenges to economic stability.

 

In those 40 counties, the percentage of children in single-parent households exceeds the state average of 30.7%.

Counties where single-parent households is greater than state average

As we consider the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color, as well as heightened economic insecurity for more than one in three households in the state who find it somewhat or very difficult to pay for usual household expenses, these data point to the importance of ensuring counties are equitably resourced and that children and families can remain stable and intact.

CCC is working to push back against cuts to Child Welfare programs that have played a crucial role in connecting families with supports needed during the pandemic, including calling on state legislators to:

  • Oppose cuts to state child welfare (protective, preventive, independent living) reimbursements to localities by 5% (thereby reducing the state/local match to 59/41 when state law mandates 65/35 match).
  • Oppose consolidating the Community Optional Preventive Services (COPS) and the Supervision and Treatment services for Juveniles Program (STSJP) funding streams, as well as proposals to reduce total funding by 20% (or $4 million).
  • Oppose the proposal to cut the Foster Care Block Grant by $11.2 million.
  • Fund KINGAP outside of the Foster Care Block Grant, mirroring the structure of adoption subsidies and incentivizing more counties to use kin as a permanent placement option for youth in foster care.

We are also advocating to ensure that the State budget takes targeted action to combat hunger and food insecurity as part of its COVID-19 response efforts, including:

  • Increasing funding for the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program to $55 million
  • Protecting at least $3.02 million for the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program
  • Supporting the proposed addition of $25 million for Nourish New York.

Write your State representatives today and urge them to ensure that critical child welfare services are held harmless from austerity measures in the State FY 2022 Adopted Budget.

For Additional Information

 

Click on the button below to download CCC’s Child and Family Well-being in New York State: Ranking Risks Across 62 Counties to learn more about the needs of children and families throughout New York’s 62 counties. Tables summarizing the overall and domain specific ranking and risk categories, and data for each of the indicators in the index by county and statewide are available on pages 5 – 10 of the index.

 

In addition, you can download CCC’s analysis of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget for State Fiscal Year 2021-2022 to learn more about the impact of proposed budget cuts and cost-shifts on child and family well-being.

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