May 15, 2015
The New York City Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 takes additional steps to address income inequality, child safety and child well-being by including city funding for 100 new shelter beds and mental health services for runaway and homeless youth; a restoration of $5.9 million for 17 after-school programs at risk of closure; funding for additional programs to help the homeless be safe in shelters and transition to permanent housing; funding to increase city oversight of subsidized child care programs; funding for capital improvements to juvenile detention centers and child care centers; and funding for home visiting for families in shelter. The Executive Budget also continues the Administration’s commitment to the second phase of expansion of pre-k for all 4-year olds, after-school for 107,000 middle school students, and transforming 96 of the City’s lowest performing schools into community schools. Finally, state and federal resources are included to support the continuation of free middle school lunch. Notably, the Executive Budget also calls for a 2.5% COLA for staff at non-profit social service agencies and a minimum salary of $11.50 per hour.
Despite this good news, there are a number of essential programs and services for children and families that CCC is very disappointed to see were not funded in the Executive Budget. The Executive Budget failed to fund many of CCC’s key priorities such as universal free lunch for all public school students, universal Breakfast After the Bell, child abuse prevention services, emergency food programs, and Summer Youth Employment Program capacity for 50,000 youth. Notably, the Executive Budget does not address pressing early childhood education needs including the Early Learn rate, adequate compensation and benefits for child care staff, funding to prevent direct lease child care sites from closing, nor funding to expand capacity to serve children ages 0-3. Similarly, there was no funding to maintain 2,300 elementary after-school slots due to be lost or middle school summer programming; to increase the rates for after-school programs for elementary school students, Beacons or Cornerstones; nor to expand the after-school system capacity to serve elementary and high school students. Finally, the Executive Budget also failed to fund many City Council initiatives that CCC supports such as EBTs in farmers’ markets, mental health services for court-involved youth, or child advocacy centers, among others.