Citizens’ Committee for Children FY24 State Priorities
Budget Analysis & Priorities
February 15, 2023
In January 2023, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) released the “Child & Family Well-being in New York State” index, a comprehensive report that examines county-level data on economic security, housing stability, health care, education, youth, and families and communities. Findings from this report underscore the urgent need for the State to invest in solutions that lift incomes, increase housing stability, strengthen child developmental and behavioral health outcomes, enhance youth mobility, and enhance supports for families and communities. Below, we outline the steps our State must take through legislation and in the Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget to ensure that every New York child is healthy, housed, educated, and safe.
Address the child and adolescent behavioral health crisis
- Commit half of the $1 billion in proposed behavioral health investments in the Executive Budget to services for children and families.
- Fund an 8.5% COLA for health and human service workers, significantly and permanently increase rates for children’s behavioral health services so they match the cost of care and ensure viability, and increase investments in workforce strategies including loan forgiveness, scholarship programs, and tuition remission.
- Build on Executive Budget proposals around parity and network adequacy by enhancing funding for surveillance, monitoring, and enforcement of parity and network adequacy violations, and by requiring commercial insurers to pay Medicaid APG rates in all settings.
- Provide at least $5.5 million in flexible state funding for Family and Youth Peer Support services outside of Medicaid.
- Increase wraparound funding to School-Based Mental Health Clinics so services can be more comprehensive, inclusive, and effective.
- Enable social workers to bill and be reimbursed at Medicaid APG rates for the full range of behavioral health services in primary care.
Enhance supports for young children with disabilities
- Increase reimbursement rates for Early Intervention (EI) providers and evaluators to 11% to help address provider service shortages and increase access to in-person services.
- Institute higher rates or rate add-ons to cover higher costs of in-person EI service delivery to ensure all children who need in-person services have access to them.
Prevent evictions and a surge in family homelessness, keeping children and families housed
- Enact and fund the Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP) to create New York’s first ever statewide rental subsidy program (A4021/S568A).
- Increase state funding for Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to address over 100,000 pending applications.
- Require and fund social services districts to set up the shelter allowance to match one hundred percent of the Fair Market Rent Standard and raise the allowance every time the market rents increase (S02982).
- Permit housing programs like CityFHEPS to be made available to individuals and families regardless of immigration status (A10510/S09416).
Support children’s school readiness and parental workforce attachment
- Support proposals in the Executive Budget to cap family copays, increase child care subsidy eligibility, and establish automatic income eligibility for families enrolled in other public benefits.
- Invest $60 million to extend child care subsidy eligibility to undocumented children and families statewide.
- Increase investments to raise the median child worker pay, fund rate supplements and grants for providers offering non-traditional hour care, and eliminate benefits cliffs for families above the current eligibility threshold.
- Support the Executive Budget proposal to invest $125 million to expand pre-K and ensure that pre-K special education is adequately funded.
Enhance K-12 Education supports
- Support the Executive Budget proposal to invest $2.7 billion to complete the three-year phase-in of Foundation Aid and dedicate $250 million as a set-aside for tutoring programs in grades 3-8 to address learning loss.
- Invest $100 million to create a Community Schools Categorical Grant to expand community schools statewide and increase by $1 million investments in community schools technical assistance centers.
- Pass the Solutions Not Suspensions Act (S1040) to improve school climate and limit the number of days a student can be suspended to a maximum of 20 days.
Reimagine child welfare services to strengthen families and communities
- Restore and enhance Child Welfare Funding to a 75/25 state/county statutory share for preventive, protective, and independent living services.
- Fund KinGAP outside of the Foster Care Block Grant, mirroring the structure of adoption subsidies, to incentivize more counties to use kin as a permanent placement option.
- Increase the value of the child welfare housing subsidy from $300 to $725 to promote family reunification and successful independent living, and adjust it annually to inflation (A02525A/ S02038A).
- Create and fund a flexible Child and Family Well-being Fund for primary prevention to expand access to a wide range of upstream preventive supports.
- Create and fund a UBI pilot for pregnant and parenting households with children under three years of age, focusing on counties with high rates of child poverty.
Invest in youth and communities
- Reject entirely Executive Budget proposals that revisit the components of bail reform.
- Expedite the distribution of Raise the Age funds to counties, prioritize directing a share of resources to local CBOs that work directly with justice-involved youth, and ensure NYC can access RTA funds.
- Reauthorize and invest state funding in the Close to Home juvenile justice initiative.
- Prioritize reaching special populations of youth – homeless youth, youth aging out of foster care, youth leaving detention or placement, and undocumented young people – with year-round youth development and employment training opportunities.
- Increase investments in community-driven, youth informed violence interrupting and alternatives to detention and incarceration initiatives.
- Pass the Youth Justice & Opportunity Act (A4238/S3426), which expands alternatives to incarceration and immediate record sealing for youth and emerging adults up to age 26.
- Pass the Youth Interrogation Bill (A1963/S1099), which ensures that young people under 18 must consult with legal counsel prior to being questioned by the police.
Lift incomes and Combat food insecurity
- Increase the minimum wage and index the wage to inflation, supporting 2.9 million workers (A7503/S3062).
- Eliminate the sub-minimum wage to support over 250,000 tip-wage workers left out of previous minimum wage increases (A2244/S808).
- Expand and deepen the New York State Earned Income Tax Credit by permanently increasing the percentage of the state credit paid to families from 30% to 45% of the federal credit, and adjust filing requirements so all immigrant tax-filers can access the credit.
- Reform the Empire State Child Credit to ensure households with children under 4 years of age are eligible, that credits are greatest for lowest income households, and that all immigrants filing taxes with an ITIN receive the full tax credit.
- Increase the value of public benefits so that the basic cash aid grant, including the utility allowance, reflects inflation (A9130/S9513).
- Establish and fund a Healthy School Meals for All program across New York State schools (A1941/S1678).
- Increase Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program funding by $6.5 million and Nourish NY funding by $25 million.
- Establish and fund a state task force to study the development and impact of a State funded nutrition program for undocumented New Yorkers that are not eligible for SNAP.