September 22, 2020
Alice Bufkin, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York Director of Policy for Child and Adolescent Health, submitted testimony on September 22 to the New York City Council Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction on the mental health of New Yorkers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Alice discussed the inadequacy of support for children with behavioral health needs before COVID-19 and the current exacerbation of need for behavioral health services. COVID’s traumas — among them, economic distress, housing insecurity, and the loss of stability and routine — jeopardize the health and well-being of children. Despite this, city and state budget cuts threaten access to children’s behavioral health care. Her testimony concludes with considerations regarding data collection and offers recommendations on addressing these challenges. These include calling for the rejection of punitive approaches in education and the reversal of budget cuts that hinder the ability of schools to offer mental health services.