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March 23, 2016
Contact: Morgan Rubin, 646-517-1813, Campaign4ChildrenPress@gmail.com
A new report has found that a majority of the 31,000 middle school students due to lose access to summer programs this year following planned city cuts come from the poorest New York City neighborhoods – the very neighborhoods where children are most in need of safe, educational programming in the summer months.
In an effort to stop these devastating cuts, Councilmember Mathieu Eugene and other elected officials held a press conference with educators, parents, children, and advocates on the steps of City Hall Wednesday, where they urged the City to restore funding to critical summer programs.
The most heavily impacted neighborhoods – like Brownsville, which faces the steepest cuts – also have child poverty rates exceeding the citywide average of 29.6 percent, and some of the lowest academic achievement rates in NYC. Summer programs are especially important in these communities because they are proven to help close the achievement gap, prevent summer learning loss, and keep children safe while parents work.
The report, titled “Cuts to Summer Programs Hit NYC’s Poorest Communities the Hardest” and conducted by Citizens’ Committee for Children and Campaign for Children, also references a survey of 2,500 parents conducted by the two groups last year, which found that nearly 20% of parents said they would quit their jobs if they lost access to a summer program for their child, and 12% said they would leave the child home alone.
“I need my children to be in a safe place while I work. I do not have anyone I trust to care for them during the day. Without summer camp, I would have no choice but to quit my job,” said one impacted parent. “This way I know they’re safe, learning and having fun.”
“The loss of summer programs will impact our entire city. Where will our children go while their parents are at work? These programs are especially beneficial to our working families who may be unable to afford expensive summer programs as an alternative,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Chairman of the Youth Services Committee. “It’s simply unacceptable to take away these crucial programs from families throughout our city. All of our young people deserve to have a safe place to spend the summer.”
“Our children are the future of this City. The time and money that we invest in them today will pay off a hundred-fold in the years to come,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “That is why I am asking the Administration to restore and baseline $20.4 million to ensure that these vital summer youth programs have a consistent and dependable source of funding. Our budget needs to reflect all of our City’s priorities, which must include providing all of the opportunities that our children need to succeed. I thank Council Member Eugene, the Campaign for Children, and other youth advocates for helping secure a brighter future for our youth.”
“The fact that these cuts are impacting the very children who need them most is alarming. Not only will it impact their academic achievement and safety this summer, but it will also leave their parents without options while they work to support their families,” said Stephanie Gendell, Associate Executive Director for Policy and Government Relations at Citizens’ Committee for Children. “We urge the Administration to immediately restore funding for these programs to ensure the safety and success of thousands of children this summer.”
ABOUT CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN:
The Campaign for Children is a coalition of 150 early childhood education and after-school advocacy and provider organizations, including Citizens’ Committee for Children, The Children’s Aid Society, United Neighborhood Houses NY, Good Shepherd Services, Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Children’s Defense Fund-NY, Day Care Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, and YMCA of Greater New York. The Campaign’s successful advocacy saved child care and after-school programs for more than 47,000 children by securing more than $120 million of one-year City Council discretionary funds for two consecutive years, which then were successfully baselined.