State FY ’21 Executive Budget Would Exacerbate Needs of NYC’s Children & Families


February 6, 2020

This week, CCC released its latest report assessing children and families’ well-being throughout New York City.

Formerly referred to as the Community Risk Ranking, the new report, “Child & Family Well-Being in New York City: Ranking Risks and Resources Across 59 Community Districts, is the newest edition of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York’s (CCC) annual well-being index.

The report finds that many children and families throughout all five boroughs still face significant barriers to well-being.

This report is relevant to State Budget discussions, which are currently underway.

In past years, the State’s Medicaid Redesign process drew attention to the need to leverage the health and human services infrastructure to address the social determinants of health for low-income New Yorkers and reduce runaway health care costs.

Alarmingly, despite the continued and multiple risks that many NYC families and children face, in our report, the State Executive Budget for SFY’21 includes deep reductions across a wide range of health and human services and shifts $1.4 billion in costs on to New York City.

As our analysis illustrates, these cuts and cost shifts would further put well-being at risk.

If the Governor is truly committed to structurally reforming health care and producing better outcomes for New Yorkers, the State budget must not be balanced as he has proposed. As it now stands, the State Executive Budget exacerbates unmet needs, setting up a situation where an entire population may well develop costly, complex needs as adults.

Our analysis of Gov. Cuomo’s FY 2021 Executive Budget highlights how his proposals would cut funding — or shift costs to the City — for programs essential to the well-being of NYC children and families.

Healthy

There were 117,000 babies born in NYC in 2017, and 60% were born to mothers using Medicaid insurance.

Impact:

New York cannot continue to pursue a short-sighted approach to health care cost containment that results in cuts to preventive services for vulnerable populations, especially children. Our State must develop a vision for the budget that recognizes that early investments are the key to improving long-term outcomes for children and families, and for achieving long-term cost savings for the State.

Cuts & Cost Shifts:

  • Requires local governments to cover Medicaid cost growth above 3%. Localities that that do not adhere to the property tax cap, including NYC, are required to pay for all local Medicaid spending growth.
  • $2.5 billion in cost-containment measures to be determined by a new Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT II)
  • Maintains $65 million cut to NYC’s Article 6 public health funding (includes $6 million in cuts to community-based organizations)

Does not include:

  • 10% rate increase for Early Intervention or any substantive requirement for insurers to pay their fair share.
  • Any substantive investment in children’s behavioral health
  • Enhanced funding for home visiting programs
  • Enhanced Funding for lead poisoning prevention efforts

Housed

In New York City, 27% of renters are severely rent burdened and pay more than half of their income on rent, and nearly 24,000 children are housed in shelters every day.

Impact:

In NYC, there are over 63,600 homeless people staying in NYC shelters each night — of whom more than 40,000 are families with children. Statewide homelessness impacts 250,000 people. A delay in implementing a statewide subsidy misses the opportunity to reduce the number of people in shelters by 60% percent in NYC alone.

Cuts & Cost Shifts:

  • Proposes a 5% cut to state reimbursement for TANF Family Assistance and Emergency Assistance to Families, used to support families in shelters and provide cash assistance (above the 10% cut from last year).

Does not include:

  • Funds for Rapid Rehousing for Domestic Violence Survivors program, to address one of lead drivers of family homelessness.
  • Legislation and funds for Home Stability Supports, a rental supplement for eligible families facing eviction, currently homeless, or at risk of homelessness, that would replace existing state and local rent subsidies

Educated

There are approximately 430,000 children under four years of age citywide, about half living in low-income households, and only 20% are served in the publicly subsidized early education system.

Impact:

The Executive Budget does nothing to address the current child care crisis that is facing New York families. Child care in New York costs an average of $15,000 annually per child, and helpful subsidies serve only 20% of eligible families across the state.

Cuts & Cost Shifts:

  • $5 million cut from Advantage After School Programs, which would end afterschool programming for 2,500 children
  • Proposes caps on State reimbursement for school transportation costs and school building aid that cause significant and permanent cost-shifts from the State to the City.

Does not include:

  • Any new investment in child care subsidies or the early childhood workforce
  • 10% rate increase for Preschool Special Education

Safe

More than 44,000 children in NYC rely on preventive services to remain safely at home and out of foster care.

In 2018, 3,430 children and youth were arrested.

Impact:

To sustain the reduction of children placed in foster care and keep families together, New York State must invest more funding in preventive services.

Under current New York State law, children as young as 7 years old may be arrested, subject to police questioning, pre-trial detention with older youth, probation, and mandatory confinement.

Cuts & Cost Shifts:

  • Proposes higher threshold for reimbursement of preventive services in the Flexible Fund for Family Services (FFFS) reducing state support for child welfare.
  • Maintains state reimbursement for preventive services at 62%, as opposed to mandated 65%.
  • Maintains cuts to state reimbursement for Close to Home and Raise the Age in NYC

Does not include:

  • Removing KinGAP from the Foster Care Block Grant
  • Raising lower age of juvenile delinquency
  • Expanding protections for youthful offenders
  • Ending the use of youth solitary confinement

State Needs to Invest in NYC Children and Families

New York’s children did not create the State’s budget deficit nor should they or their families shoulder the burden of budget cuts now.

CCC is calling on Governor Cuomo and the State Legislator to address the following in the budget negotiation process:

  • Oppose all cost shifts to New York City;
  • Place a moratorium on any cuts to children’s behavioral health care and fulfill the State’s commitment to fully fund and implement the Children’s Medicaid Redesign plan;
  • Reject proposals from MRT II that would adversely impact vulnerable New Yorkers, and ensure the MRT II committee has children’s human service and children’s health and behavioral health care experts and consumers as members;
  • Pass Home Stability Support legislation, creating a statewide rental subsidy;
  • Increase investments in childcare subsidies, the early education workforce, Early Intervention, child welfare prevention, and universal pre-kindergarten as well as afterschool programming.

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