January 18, 2023
More than 20% of Children Live in Households Below the Poverty Level in 22 New York Counties, 49 Counties Have High Rates of Housing Insecurity
Report Applauds Key Proposals in Gov. Hochul’s State of the State Address, Calls for Greater Investments to Ensure Equitable Recovery
New York – Today, the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) released the “Child & Family Well-being in New York State” index, a comprehensive report that examines county-level data on economic security, housing stability, health care, education, youth, and families and communities. The report draws attention to the status of children and families in all 62 counties in New York, illustrating both where barriers to well-being are concentrated and long-standing inequities that persist across the state. The report also offers a timely, data-driven roadmap to improve child and family well-being.
In her first State of the State Address, Governor Kathy Hochul laid out an ambitious vision and prioritized key investments that will address the multitude of challenges facing New York’s children and families, including by expanding mental health services for school-aged children, ramping up affordable housing production, indexing the minimum wage to inflation, and improving access to child care; however, the report underscores the urgent need for state leaders to go further to address the compounding consequences of the pandemic and profound disparities experienced by children and families.
“The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on the inequities that have persisted in counties throughout this state, and have been exacerbated in its aftermath. We have a responsibility to address systemic disinvestment and rising disparities that stand in the way of an equitable recovery for New York’s children, youth and families,” said Jennifer March, CCC’s Executive Director. “Governor Hochul’s State of the State address outlined several important proposals that will strengthen well-being for New Yorkers statewide and we look forward to working with our state leaders to build on these opportunities and leverage others to lift incomes, increase housing stability, strengthen outcomes in child health and behavioral health and young childhood development, as well as expand efforts to support youth mobility and strengthen families and communities.”
The analysis examines county-level data across six domains of well-being and ranks each county’s overall risk to child and family well-being. The analysis leverages data from the first year of the pandemic onwards, demonstrating how children and families’ lives have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall Key Findings Include:
Key County Findings Include:
“Data are essential for informing meaningful actions that build a more equitable future for New York’s children, youth and families”, said Bijan Kimiagar, Associate Executive Director for Research at CCC and author of the report. “Our Child and Family Well-being Index for New York State highlights how barriers to well-being exist in every county across the state, and so do opportunities to overcome these barriers. By focusing where in the state families face multiple, overlapping barriers to well-being, and looking at each county’s unique set of strengths and needs, we hope to spur budget, legislative and programmatic actions to improve child and family well-being both locally and statewide.”
While CCC applauds several key priorities included in Gov. Hochul’s State of the State Address, New York families with children are in dire need of more support. Based on these findings, CCC is calling on Gov. Hochul and state leaders to go further during the Executive Budget cycle by:
“Passing the Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP) into law would be a victory for every New Yorker who is working overtime to stay in their home or clawing their way out of homelessness,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Housing. “When more than 90,000 New Yorkers, thousands of whom are children, do not have a place to call home, and nearly one million tenants are struggling to pay the rent, government has an obligation to urgently employ every tool at its disposal to protect families from the perils and stress of homelessness. A triumvirate of real estate, tenants and advocates agree – HAVP is one worthy approach to the affordability and homelessness crisis plaguing New York State. I look forward to reading the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York’s report, as well as working with my colleagues to make HAVP a reality for families this session.”
“I thank the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York for placing a spotlight on the status of children and families in our state and for raising awareness about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on many of our most vulnerable residents,” said Senator Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the New York State Senate Housing Committee. “I will continue to fight for initiatives to address the inequities and deprivation that too many New Yorkers face, especially those that will end homelessness, housing insecurity, and crushing rent burdens. In that regard, I appreciate that CCC is strongly supporting my legislation to create the Housing Access Voucher Program, which would provide rental assistance, prevent evictions, and homelessness, and bring about the housing stability that families need to thrive.”
“Our state must do more to increase incomes and combat poverty and I urge the Governor to make this a top priority in the upcoming budget,” said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Children and Families. “Expanding the Empire State Tax Credit will make a real impact on the lives of New York’s families and uplift incomes. So often child welfare involvement begins not because of abuse or neglect but due to poverty. Uplifting incomes will keep children out of the child welfare system, prevent family separations, and prevent generational trauma.”
“The Child and Family Well-being in New York State index lays bare the barriers to opportunity countless youth face and underscores the urgent need for key investments to ensure every New York family can thrive,” said Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages, Chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. “New York must act swiftly to advance equity by investing in statewide Pre-K, Foundation Aid supporting grades K-12, and adult literacy and GED programs. We also need to build on our efforts to close the digital divide by ensuring access to universal, high-quality internet and affordable devices. It’s also deeply important to continue promoting digital literacy so that every New Yorker can access the essential services and support they need to succeed.”
“As a mother, there is perhaps nothing more important to me than to promote the well-being of our children and families across New York State,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas, member of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families. “So many barriers still exist to advancing the health and wellness of our communities, including my district, which includes diverse communities of color, low-income people, and immigrant communities. But we cannot solve what we don’t understand, which is why the publication of this report by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York is so timely. As we continue our state’s budgetary process I look forward to supporting many of these recommendations, including my bill to establish universal school meals across our state to provide all students with free breakfast and lunch regardless of their family’s income.”
“CCC’s Child and Family Well-being Index underscores the array of challenges facing New York’s children and families, all of which affect their mental and emotional wellbeing,” said Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Mental Health. “It is critical that our state supports New York’s communities, including by enhancing supports for children’s behavioral health. The Governor’s proposed investment of $1 Billion is a good first step after the underfunding this system has experienced. As a lifelong nurse, I know how important behavioral health services are, especially for our children. I was encouraged to see the Governor propose such a robust investment in our State’s mental health system. Over the past several years we have seen a sharp increase in demand for behavioral health services, and this has far outweighed New York State’s investment. It is my hope that this proposed investment will expand access to behavioral health services for all New Yorkers.”
CCC is an independent, nonpartisan child advocacy organization that leverages data on the well-being of children and families to inform budgetary, legislative and programmatic decisions made at the federal, state, and local level. By measuring indicators across six domains of well-being (economic security, housing, health, education, youth, and family and community) on an annual basis, CCC’s Child and Family Well-being Index is designed to illustrate where risk factors cluster and draw attention to community districts across the city where barriers to child and family well-being must be addressed.
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) educates and mobilizes New Yorkers to make the city a better place for children. CCC’s advocacy combines public policy research and data analysis with citizen action. CCC casts light on the issues, educates the public, engages allies and identifies and promotes practical solutions to ensure that every New York City child is healthy, housed, educated and safe. For more information about CCC, visit www.cccnewyork.org.