June 6, 2023
As we approach the July 1 deadline for the City Budget, and the State legislative session is set to end on Friday, our advocacy efforts are continuing strong. There is still time to make a difference in the City Budget and with State legislation, and already there are a few positive developments happening at the state and city level.
The City Council recently passed four bills regarding City Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) vouchers that have the potential to be deeply helpful to families and children experiencing housing insecurity. The bills expand eligibility and reduce some factors that were keeping families in shelter for longer than they needed to and oftentimes sending them to shelter before they could get help.
For additional context, check out the Community Service Society’s piece on these bills from late May and read the Family Homelessness Coalition’s (FHC) press statement on the bills’ passage (CCC is a member of FHC). Also, Catherine Trapani, Executive Director of Homeless Services United and a part of FHC, appeared on “Inside City Hall” to discuss the legislation, which you can watch here.
The City Council is expected to pass five bills related to reducing lead exposure which were first introduced in April. These bills would ensure that the city uses the most up-to-date standards to protect children from being poisoned by lead—updating the current lead standards, which have been in place since 2004.
These bills align with the New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning’s (NYCCELP) 2022 Lead Agenda, which outlines steps that will close the loopholes in reporting on and enforcing removal of lead paint and improve accountability. According to NYCCELP, which CCC is a part of, New York State leads the nation in both homes with lead-based paint and childhood lead-poisoning cases. Read a statement from the coalition from when the bills were first introduced here and check out the 2022 Lead Agenda here.
We are still advocating for Early Care and Education in New York City, too. At a time when access to child care is so crucial, Mayor Adams’s administration has proposed to deeply cut funding for 3-K for All, which will stall the program’s expansion and leave countless families without preschool options. CCC’s recent comprehensive analysis of early care and education data and results from a citywide survey of parents and caregivers shows that families across the city struggle to access affordable care across age groups that is suitable to their schedules and conveniently located. In this final month of city budget negotiations we need your help to ensure city leaders prioritize expanding options for child care and restoring budget cuts to 3-K. Click here to take action with CCC and click here to read important data about the disconnect between parents and the city’s publicly funded child care system.
Advocacy efforts for several child welfare bills at the State level are continuing to make an impact. There is currently a push for the Family Miranda Rights Act (S.901) and the Informed Consent Act (S.320) that you can take part in. These important bills will ensure families know their rights and provide tools and resources to keep families together: the Family Miranda Rights Act requires that CPS investigators inform families of the rights they are guaranteed by the Constitution and New York State Law while the Informed Consent Act (supported by the NYS American Academy of Pediatrics) requires medical providers to obtain informed consent before conducting medical tests/asking questions related to substance use. To show your support, you can make calls and post on social media using this toolkit and the included script: Toolkit for Family Miranda and Informed Consent.
The #Right2RemainSilent bill (S.1099/A.1963) is receiving attention as we near the end of the session, too. This bill ensures children under 18 years old will have access to a lawyer before being interrogated by police, better protecting youth Take action to support this bill here to send a letter to state leaders. View an Op-ed on the right to remain silent legislation by Exonerated Central Park Five Member Raymond Santana and Rebecca Brown from the Innocence Project.
A new bill S.6902/A.6998, recently introduced by Assemblymember Amy Paulin and Senator Gustavo Rivera, would address the lack of Early Intervention rate increases in the New York State Budget. NYS’s low reimbursement rates are causing thousands of children with developmental delays and disabilities to go without critical Early Intervention (EI) services. This bill would increase EI reimbursement rates by 11%. Take action in support of this bill with the Kids Can’t Wait coalition here.
Stay tuned for more City-specific advocacy efforts this month leading up to July 1, including several rallies on housing access, child care, and Promise NYC.