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City Council Testimony: Examining Social-Emotional Learning And Support Staff In Schools


November 20, 2020

On November 20, 2020, CCC’s Director of Policy for Child and Adolescent Health Alice Bufkin, testified before the New York City Council’s Committee on Education at an oversight hearing examining social-emotional learning and support staff in schools.

CCC’s testimony discussed the ways in which New York City children lacked access to behavioral health services even before the COVID-19 pandemic and how the pandemic has heightened existing needs. The testimony calls attention to the need for federal stimulus aid to provide relief to New York State and its localities to prevent cuts and sustain services for children and families. It also calls on New York State to grant the City borrowing authority so that New York City has the resources needed to respond to the needs of children, families and communities during the pandemic.

Recommendations include:
1. Enable recovery by protecting children and families from harmful cuts, including cuts to behavioral health services.
2. Invest in trauma-informed care and the full continuum of behavioral health services necessary to help students recover.
3. Reject punitive approaches that cause harm by pushing students out of school and into the school-to-prison pipeline.
4. Develop a proactive, cross-agency plan for reaching disconnected students, addressing their learning loss, and connecting them and their families to the health, behavioral health, and social services that they may have lacked due to the digital divide.
5. Ensure equitable access to telehealth services and close the digital divide.

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