Putting New York’s Children & Families on the Road to an Equitable Recovery: A Transition Plan for City Leaders


January 21, 2022

Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York is a 76-year-old independent, multi-issue child advocacy organization. We do not accept or Children of New York receive public funding, provide direct services, nor represent a sector or workforce; our primary goal is to improve outcomes for children and families in New York. We document the facts, engage and mobilize New Yorkers, and advocate for solutions to ensure that every New York child is healthy, housed, educated, and safe.

As our city begins to recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that newly elected leaders prioritize addressing the critical needs of New York City’s children and families.

Families have experienced immense loss of life, job and income loss, and heightened housing and food insecurity, and children within families have experienced social isolation, disruption in education and developmental supports with too many having missed out on months of learning. The presence of multiple and heightened stressors has led to trauma and resulted in skyrocketing behavioral health needs.

These unprecedented challenges have not only exacerbated existing inequities but have drawn attention to long unaddressed needs and barriers to wellbeing rooted in structural racism and systemic discrimination of all forms, with particularly negative impact wrought on women of color and immigrant households.

Incoming city leaders must act with urgency to address the needs of children, families and communities hardest hit by the pandemic to not only promote family and child wellbeing but to avoid repercussions that will be profound, long-lasting, and unacceptably costly in both human and socio-economic terms. CCC stands ready to partner with city elected leaders and policymakers to prioritize equity, justice, and wellbeing for our city’s children, families, and communities. In addition to informing budget, policy, and legislative action locally, we are ready to work alongside incoming leaders to ensure that decisions made in Albany and in Washington DC result in the financial partnership required for bold progress here at home in NYC.

All Children Healthy

Create and support a robust continuum of primary health and behavioral health care for children,
adolescents, and their caregivers by:

  • Promoting healthy child development by expanding access to two-generational initiatives, such as HealthySteps
    and H+H’s 3-2-1 IMPACT model. These models not only integrate primary and behavioral health care for children,
    but also ensure pediatric and maternal health care is coordinated. These initiatives critically advance whole
    child health and development and parental health and wellbeing.
  • Promoting young child health and development by supporting the integration of behavioral health and Early
    Intervention services into Early Care and Education programs across all settings, including family-based child
    care and center-based care.
  • Strengthening the continuum of behavioral health supports for students by promoting whole- school,
    healing-centered approaches to school climate; providing adequate and sustainable compensation for school and
    community-based behavioral health care providers; and increasing students’ access to clinical care options
    within schools and communities.

Increase overall access to – and eliminate racial and geographic disparities in engagement with – Early Intervention
(EI) services for young children with developmental delays and disabilities, including by:

  • Supporting targeted outreach to families and underserved communities to identify and address barriers to
    participation.
  • Investing in and bringing to scale community- based initiatives to identify and address racial and geographic
    disparities in evaluation rates and service provision, mirroring work currently being developed by United for
    Brownsville.
  • Ensuring all families have access to EI services through the modality they prefer, and ensuring that families
    using teletherapy have access to the technology, training, and connectivity necessary to receive quality services.

Address widespread food insecurity by:

  • Strengthening nutrition and safety net programs and eliminating administrative barriers to accessing support.
    Increasing school food resources.
  • Strengthening opportunities for community stakeholders to engage in the city’s food policy decisions.

Fulfill the city’s commitment to eliminate childhood lead poisoning by:

  • Proactively identifying and eliminating lead hazards and by enforcing existing local lead poisoning prevention
    laws.

All Children Housed

Prioritize policies that keep children, youth and families stably and safely housed by:

  • Investing in community-based upstream prevention, including but not limited to eviction prevention and facilitated access to other necessary health and human services to bring stability to families before housing crisis occurs.
  • Monitoring implementation of recent increases in the value of city rent subsidies, ensuring families in, and at risk of entering, family shelter access subsidies.
  • Expanding access to affordable and supportive housing options that address the specific needs of youth and families with children and enforce the City Council mandate that 15% of city-funded affordable housing projects units be set aside for households experiencing homelessness.
  • Ensuring equitable learning recovery for students who are in doubled-up living situations or living in shelter and invest and baseline resources for 150 shelter-based DOE Community Coordinators.
  • Increasing data transparency across all systems providing prevention services and shelter to families with children and youth; making data publicly available on the utilization and type of prevention services, family demographics at family shelter intake, access to services while in shelter, utilization of housing vouchers by type of voucher, and other performance metrics that can inform policy and budget decisions and strengthen the city’s ability to prevent and end family homelessness.

All Children Educated

Commit to an equitable educational continuum from early care and education through K to 12 including afterschool and summer programming and youth employment supports by:

  • Building a truly universal birth to five early care and education system by addressing the dearth of affordable infant and toddler care, as well as the lack of extended-day/extended-year seats in 3K and UPK programs.
  • Achieving comprehensive parity between early childhood teachers in the DOE and in CBO- settings by addressing inequities in benefits and longevity increases and extending salary parity to those left out of the initial agreement: CBO preschool special educators, support staff, and center directors.
  • Building a universal year-round youth services system by adding elementary afterschool seats until universal access is reached, increasing and baselining funding for summer programming, and increasing compensation for youth services staff.
  • Focusing an academic recovery plan that seeks to advance and achieve equity with attention paid to support vulnerable student populations, including targeting academic supports for English-language learners, better service delivery for students with special needs, and adding staff focused on meeting the educational needs of students in temporary housing and students in foster care.
  • Integrating the City’s schools by permanently ending the use of discriminatory screens and foster inclusive practices, including, but not limited to, supporting the development and implementation of district diversity plans, culturally relevant curriculum, and creating pipelines for better teacher representation.
  • Continuing to invest in and promote universal access to citywide Save for College accounts for all public-school kindergarteners, setting a strong path to high school graduation, college application, and completion.
  • Expanding the Summer Youth Employment Program to become universal and continue to invest in year-round youth employment programs like Work, Learn, Grow.
  • Fostering communication and collaboration across City agencies and youth-serving CBOs by reinstating a Children’s Cabinet and ensure inclusion and engagement of early childhood and youth services leaders, CBO providers, and advocates, among others.

All Children Safe

Investing in neighborhood equity with a focus on lifting incomes and ensuring access to needed services and infrastructure that promote safety, prevent violence and contribute to child, family and community well-being through:

  • Expanding investments in primary and general child welfare prevention to address the intersection of economic insecurity and risks to child safety and family stability; helping to connect families to a wide array of social, economic, and health and behavioral health supports. Access to prevention services should *** Learn more about efforts to increase access and strengthen the systems of early care and education and youth services in the Campaign for Children’s transition plan. 4 not be driven by child welfare or other systems involvement; voluntary engagement in primary and general prevention must be supported and permitted.
  • Addressing economic inequality and reduce poverty by deepening New York City’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), reforming the city’s child tax credit to expand its reach, and expanding Family Leave and Sick Leave to capture workforce sectors currently excluded.
  • Embedding within City Planning and Economic Development initiatives that increase access to essential supports and infrastructure and address service and infrastructure “deserts.”
  • Ensuring all communities have access to affordable food retail and banks, safe and well-maintained parks, playgrounds, green spaces, accessible, affordable transportation options, adequate streetlights, cross walks, contiguous sidewalks, and fair, safe, and accountable policing.
  • Improving broad band access through expansion of public Wi-Fi hot spots and other wiring upgrades, as well as affordably priced plans or financial subsidies for households with low incomes.

Data Equity & Transparency

Advance race equity through data collection and dissemination and use data to inform budget and policymaking by:

  • Requiring the MMR to report out on city agency specific race equity goals/targets, develop and report out on a scorecard that tracks progress or widens disparities over time.
  • Requiring NYC Planning to administer and analyze data from a biannual citywide survey of New Yorkers on a limited number of foundational equity issues, such as economic security, health care access, housing affordability and stability, education equity, and transportation and community safety needs.
  • Integrating data systems that help analyze and respond to child, youth, and family needs over time, including but not limited to integrating data on young child health, Early Intervention, early childhood care and education, K-12 education, after school, and summer services.
  • Conducting data analysis on city agency and the health and human service workforce with an annual report on staffing structures and leadership within city agencies and for the contracted non-profit workforce (race, gender, pay scale).
  • Requiring data from 311 to be aggregated and analyzed in a manner that would help to better understand what New Yorkers are seeking access to.

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