March 1, 2016
Today, 34 CCC staff, adult volunteers and youth volunteers traveled to Albany to urge the Legislature to adopt a State Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Budget that will make New York State a better place to be a child.
Given that we are a multi-issue, independent child advocacy organization, we had a number of priorities related to income security, homelessness, child welfare, juvenile justice, education, early education, youth services and health and mental health.
One of our critical priorities this year is raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York. New York remains one of only two states in the country that prosecutes all 16 and 17 year olds as adults, regardless of the crime they allegedly committed (the other is North Carolina). This contradicts the brain science research that shows that adolescent brains are not fully developed—which is what can lead to impulsive behavior and also makes youth more receptive to rehabilitative services. Treating youth as adults is harmful for public safety because it has been proven to increase recidivism. We are very pleased that the Governor’s budget once again proposes a comprehensive plan to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York and includes the money to fund it. Today we are urging Albany legislators to ensure the budget includes a comprehensive plan to raise the age—and you can too!
We are also supporting the Governor’s proposal to phase-in an increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour throughout the state and to create Paid Family Leave. In addition to urging the legislators to include these proposals in the budget, we are urging them to ensure the budget includes the funding for non-profits and agencies funded by Medicaid to implement the wage increase without cuts to their programs.
Another core priority of CCC is to ensure that the state’s budget includes $190 million to preserve child care capacity throughout the state. The budget gap was created because the federal government strengthened a number of health and safety rules. For example, legally exempt family/friend/neighbors will be required to have background checks and home inspections. If this budget gap is not resolved by the state, thousands of children will lose their child care subsidies, thousands of parents will not be able to work, and thousands of low-income home based child providers will not have jobs. Stay tuned for an email letter to send to your elected officials on this topic in the coming days.
Making our voices heard in Albany is critical for children and families. You can read some of our recent testimony on Education proposals and Human Services proposals. And be sure to be on the lookout for more email campaigns and call-in days.