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In the face of widespread economic hardship, and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and Latinx communities, New York’s children and families must have access to programs that support their immediate and long-term well-being.
Throughout the onset of the pandemic last spring, 4,200 children in New York lost a parent or guardian to COVID-19—that is one out of every 1,000 children. Black and Latinx children experienced the death of a parent or caregiver at twice the rate of white children.
Moreover, 325,000 children across New York State were pushed into poverty. The heightened needs and economic insecurity New York families are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly compromises child safety and well-being. In 2019, more than two-thirds of allegations of child maltreatment in New York City were related to concerns of neglect stemming from unmet basic needs due to economic hardship, such as insufficient or inadequate food, education, clothing, healthcare, and housing.
Child welfare preventive services are critical to maintaining child safety and family stability. In the last two decades, New York City and State have experienced historic declines in the number of children in foster care thanks to investments made in child abuse and neglect prevention. During the height of the pandemic and economic shutdown, preventive services providers quickly pivoted to deliver a wide array of family supports including alleviating food and housing insecurity; providing essential material supports and services such as cash aid, groceries, diapers, baby formula; offering remote academic supports for students, support groups for parents; and tele-therapy for children and adolescents; and more.
NOW IS THE TIME TO PROTECT THESE CRITICAL SERVICES NOT CUT THEM!
Unfortunately, the Governor’s Executive Budget proposes to cut child welfare services that promote child safety and family stability. Among them, the Executive Budget proposes a 5% cut in reimbursement to localities for child welfare protective, preventive and independent living services, totaling $30.5 million statewide. In addition, the Budget proposes a 20% reduction in total funding for programs that prevent entry into child welfare and juvenile justice systems, as well as 5% reductions to kinship foster care programs and adoption subsidies.
To truly protect New York’s children and families, now is the time to prioritize investments in services proven to maintain child safety and well-being.
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.