April 8, 2022
NEW YORK, NY – In response to the Fiscal Year 2023 New York State Budget, Citizens’ Committee for Children Executive Director Jennifer March issued the following statement on behalf of the Campaign for Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids:
“The Campaign for Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids is pleased the Fiscal Year 2023 New York State Budget makes essential and long overdue investments that can serve as a foundation for building a behavioral health system that addresses child and family needs.
We applaud state leaders for including several critical investments in the budget, including a 5.4% COLA for human services workers, rate increases for clinical and other services, and workforce bonuses for both government and community human services providers. We are also grateful the budget aligns children’s behavioral health services in Child Health Plus (CHP) with those in Medicaid and uses the government Ambulatory Patient Group (APG) rate for these services, expands Medicaid postpartum services and requires dyadic services to be covered, and increases investments for behavioral supports in schools. These investments help to shore up and build out the children’s continuum at a time when behavioral health needs have skyrocketed. While we are grateful for these critical steps, we recognize that they are just the beginning of needed support and reform for the children’s behavioral health system.
Despite this progress, we are profoundly alarmed by the exclusion of several key investments needed to address many urgent child and family needs. While the budget includes sorely needed child care and health care expansions, we are deeply disappointed that undocumented immigrants will not be covered. The state has also failed to fund child abuse neglect prevention or create a statewide rent subsidy, and the hard-fought COLAs do not reach all health and human service workers, keeping many essential workers at poverty level wages. And while rollbacks to Raise the Age were averted, the expansion of Kendra’s Law and rollbacks to bail reform will result in heightened criminalization and institutionalization of already marginalized communities. Families across New York are grappling with a severe and worsening child mental health crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – and low-income communities and families of color have been disproportionately impacted by economic devastation, housing instability, disruption in child care and education, and social isolation. Greater criminalization of Black and brown communities combined with the failure to adequately address heightened social and economic needs ultimately harms the mental and emotional wellbeing of children and families in our state.
And so while we are pleased that the budget includes many important investments, we call on Governor Hochul and the Legislature to continue the urgent and necessary work to ensure every New York child, family and community has the support and services they need to recover and thrive.”