Recent News (UPDATED 02/17/2021)
RAISING NEW YORK RELEASES FINDINGS OF PARENTING DURING CORONAVIRUS FOLLOW-UP POLL
Raising New York recently released the findings of a 2021 follow-uppoll regarding families and the pandemic. Their key findings are below. To read the full report, click on the link at the bottom.
"HERE ARE FOUR KEY FINDINGS THAT highlight the critical need for state leaders to act quickly to support families of infants and toddlers The pandemic continues to be disruptive to parents and families. Parents are concerned about the long-term impact of the pandemic on their children and families. Parents report disruptions to schooling, work, and careers and are using more federal, state, and local supports to keep their family afloat. There is overwhelming support for increased investment in high-quality, affordable infant and toddler care and other supports that will provide much needed relief to families."
See the full report here.
TESTIMONY AT THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET HEARING ON HUMAN SERVICES
February 9, 2021
Provided by: Jenn O’Connor, Director of Policy and Advocacy
See the full testimony of the hearing here
Thank you for allowing me to testify today. I am Jenn O’Connor, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY).
PCANY is a nonprofit organization that believes child abuse and neglect prevention occurs in communities--by strengthening families. We provide three primary services at the state and local level: community awareness, training and technical assistance,
and policy and advocacy.
Our community awareness and education efforts increase knowledge about the Five Protective Factors. It is our belief that individuals can use the Five Protective Factors to help prevent child maltreatment. Specific programs include the Parent Helpline and the Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign. The Helpline is multilingual and provides free and confidential support for parents and caregivers. The Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign raises awareness about helping children thrive. These examples embody the Protective Factors framework by providing concrete support in times of need and educational opportunities. Collective community understanding about how to foster resilient New York families is a proven form of prevention.
Our trainings and technical assistance provide professionals and communities with the knowledge, tools and resources to make great environments for families and children. We provide Healthy Families New York (HFNY) Home Visiting Certification and run the New York State Parenting Education Partnership (NYSPEP), a program that provides support and resources for parents. The Enough Abuse Sexual Abuse Prevention, Community-based Strengthening Families, and Child Abuse Prevention courses offer multi-faceted educational opportunities. In addition, we provide direct staff consulting and mini grants to organizations that are implementing prevention strategies.
Finally, our policy and advocacy efforts drive initiatives at the state and local level to change systems that impact child maltreatment issues. We advocate for evidence- based policy solutions that target root causes of child maltreatment, such as increases for early childhood home visiting, early care and education system development, reduction of unplanned pregnancies, and family stability/economic issues.
These advocacy efforts touch many facets of the early childhood realm, facilitating partnerships with several organizations that are devoted to helping the children and families of New York State (NYS).
All of our work centers around the belief that child abuse occurs because families are under stress and not supported. Multi-generational trauma exists due to poverty, violence, and institutional racism (among other factors). PCANY focuses great attention on decreasing and addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) while increasing Protective Factors and Resilience. All of our budget asks would serve to strengthen families and the communities they live in. During this time of isolation, economic hardship, and racial tension, families need proven services and supports more than ever. We urge you to restore funding, maintain funding, and even invest in the following areas.
Early Care and Education
Organizing care for one’s child is a daunting task. Parents are strapped to find an affordable and conveniently located program that offers hours in alignment with their schedule. High-quality and developmentally-appropriate care is another factor to consider. When families find the ideal program, the cost is often too expensive to sustain for a household budget. High-quality child care costs an average of $15,000
annually per child. This sum is prohibitively expensive for nearly all low- and middle- income families. Fewer than 20% of low-income families eligible for child care subsidies are receiving them. The Executive Budget investment of $40 million to reduce the burden of child care co-pays for families currently receiving subsidy is a step in the right direction to address child care availability and affordability in NYS. However, these are re-purposed subsidy dollars--not new funding.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened circumstances for parents and providers by decreasing program enrollment and impacting job security and financial stability. While many businesses closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, child care providers remained open as an essential service to families. While deemed essential, there are many child care deserts (or areas where there are no programs) throughout the State. PCANY supports the $6 million investment in start-up grants to address NYS child care deserts. Expanding access to care and early childhood supports will help to decrease stress for some families. NYS received new funding in the form of $163.6 million in federal CARES Act funds last spring.
NYS’s allocation of those federal funds has provided some relief to providers and families. However, PCANY supports more sustainable investment of these funds in the future. We expect to receive $450 million from the next round of federal child care funding. NYS’s plan to spend these funds is due February 25th. We hope that it will take into account the recommendations of the Child Care Availability Task Force, a report made possible through statute and supported by members of both houses of the Legislature. We also support utilization of the funds in alignment with the Empire State Campaign for Child Care (ESCCC), Winning Beginning New York (WBNY), and Raising New York recommendations (attached).
High-quality afterschool programs not only provide safe child care for school-age children; they strengthen the Protective Factors (such as relationships with caring adults) that are important for healthy development, especially for those with the highest need. PCANY supports the Executive Budget maintenance of funding for Empire State Afterschool and Summer Youth Employment.
Advantage After School Programs improve social, emotional, and academic competencies of children by providing a safe environment for children to learn after school hours. In addition to receiving quality social interaction, the burden of finding short-term child care in the few hours between the school and work day ends is alleviated for parents. We urge you—as you do every year—to restore the $5 million decrease in funding for Advantage After School Programs to prevent 2,500 - 5,000 students from losing after school care. These funds provide grants for after school programs at a rate of $2,000 per student.
We have attached the NYS Network for Youth Success’s budget request to our testimony.
Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting
Voluntary home visiting programs decrease abuse, improve health outcomes, and increase school readiness. Home visitors are a concrete source of support and a reliable resource to educate parents about child development and community services. These programs have had an impact on the opioid crisis by providing support to addicted mothers and babies.
However, prior to the pandemic, NYS was only serving 3% of all children aged 0-3 and 6% of babies in low-income families.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced programs to pivot, providing virtual visits as well as concrete supports such as food and diapers to families. According to an April 2020 survey by Raising New York, more than one-third of parents with infants and toddlers in NYS have skipped or cut back on meals and more than half feel uneasy about personal finances. These stressors contribute to a heightened state of chronic stress for the families of NYS. Coupled with a lack of parental buffering, the young children in these families are at an increased risk of experiencing ACEs and toxic stress. Investment in targeted support for children to offset these effects can contribute to healthier, more resilient New York families.
Home visiting is a proven prevention strategy. Yet the Executive Budget includes a 20 percent cut to Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), from $3 million to $2.4 million. In addition, the elimination of Public Private Partnership grants to ParentChild+ and Parents as Teachers (PAT) programs, and 20 percent withholds on state funding to all programs, including Healthy Families New York (HFNY), have placed a significant financial strain on home visiting programs. As a result, many programs have been forced to lay off staff, reduce capacity, and in some instances, close their doors. The populations hit hardest by these cuts are the same populations hit hardest by the pandemic and centuries of racial injustice—low-income women and families of color. Now is not the time to decrease these essential services. PCANY urges you to:
● Maintain funding of $26.2 million for HFNY to support sustainability at existing sites
● Appropriate $1 million to restore funding cut in the Executive Budget to NFP
● Invest $2 million in ParentChild+ to support sustainability at existing sites
● Invest $1.3 million in PAT to support sustainability and restore services to two sites in Rochester
PCANY also asks that you continue to support the First 1,000 Days on Medicaid Initiative, specifically the pilot project sights in Albany, Chemung, and Monroe counties, and in Brooklyn. These projects help move NYS closer to PCANY’s 2020 recommendation of universally-offered home visiting, with every new parent receiving the benefits that so few are offered now.
Early Intervention (EI)
NYS EI payment rates are currently lower than they were in the mid-1990s. The percentage of children receiving timely EI services fell from 74% in 2015 to 66% in 2019.
Since then, the pandemic has disrupted service delivery and the programs have struggled even more. Existing disparities have widened. More children are waiting for services. Provider capacity has shrunk. In June 2020 the number of EI providers was down 15% compared to 2019 and it is very likely to have fallen more since then. The number of children enrolled in EI is at its lowest point since 2013, and the number of EI claims has dropped 29%.
We urge NYS to secure additional revenue that will be needed to build back EI and Preschool Special Education systems in order to provide timely services to all eligible children and to eliminate long-standing disparities due to race, poverty or geography. The State must increase the rates for EI providers and preschool special education programs by at least 10%. We also recommend:
● As a step towards an increase of 10% in both EI and Preschool Special Education reimbursement rates, the State should conduct a comprehensive assessment of the methodology used to determine payment for all early intervention evaluations, services and service coordination, and should develop a new tuition rate-setting methodology for Preschool Special Education so that rates better reflect the costs of delivering services.
● The State should guarantee parity in annual funding increases between public schools and preschool special education programs.
● Passage of the health care workforce bill to establish regular collection and release of health workforce data, including EI providers, to inform and approve health planning and access and emergency preparedness.
● Launch an outreach campaign and develop a comprehensive plan for developmental screenings to identify young children with developmental delays and disabilities and connect them to services.
● Provide adequate technology and training to families and providers.
● Engage in targeted outreach to families to identify and address barriers to participation, including issues related to telehealth access and equity.
● Provide make-up services to compensate for services missed during the pandemic and prepare for a potential surge in children needing EI and Preschool Special Education evaluations and services.
REQUESTS FOR CONTINUED SUPPORT
Understanding that the State is in a fiscal crisis, PCANY is not requesting additional dollars for any primary prevention initiatives. However, we must point out that now is not the time to cut prevention services for families, and in fact is the time to think about shoring up prevention programs so that we are better positioned to handle hardship in the future. Therefore, we want to call your attention to some initiatives that we hope to see strengthened.
Family Resource Centers (FRCs)
FRCs are community-based sources of support for parents and caregivers. FRCs embody the Protective Factors framework because they are a dependable resource for education and because they facilitate social connections for parents. In neighborhoods where FRCs are in place, the rate of child maltreatment decreases. Flexible and family focused, FRCs provide a culturally-sensitive environment that is especially important in the context of the dual pandemics facing our country today - COVID-19 and racial injustice. FRCs are a potential place to launch a public education campaign and to provide resources about the COVID-19 vaccine. Communities that have experienced
inequities and discrimination in healthcare approach the vaccine with mistrust and tension. FRCs can help deliver the message that the vaccine is safe and effective.
Help Me Grow (HMG)
Many important programs that positively influence and enrich children’s lives exist in NYS. Frameworks that strengthen the operating capacity/connections between these programs, such as HMG, are valuable for increasing accessibility and service delivery to families. HMG is a system that coordinates community services such as health care, early learning services, nutrition information and parent support. HMG builds upon existing community resources to better connect services to families. Nurturing child development and strengthening families is a theme of the system model. Currently, the Help Me Grow model is being implemented in two locations in NYS - Onondaga County and Long Island. An expansion of HMG could create a central hub that would provide coordinated intake and referrals to home visiting programs.
Abusive Partner Intervention Programs
One out of four parents with young children in NYS worry about substance abuse and domestic violence in the family (Raising New York, 2020). Children and youth who live with domestic violence are affected by the experience. Children can display a variety of behaviors due to witnessing domestic violence and those behaviors can affect their ability to be successful in school and other social settings. Additionally, 30% to 60% of perpetrators of domestic violence abuse children in the household.
Abusive partner intervention programs in New York currently operate with no licensure or oversight. PCANY echoes the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) request for oversight of abusive partner intervention programs. This change will improve the response to accountability for those who harm and ensure that programs are appropriately monitored. Communities and the court system will then be able to confidently utilize this resource as a component of their response to domestic violence. A streamlined system for domestic violence intervention and response, overseen by OPDV, can contribute to building a more unified, trauma-informed system in NYS.
Strong Starts Court Initiative
The Center for Court Innovation operates this Initiative, which currently operates in The Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn serving court involved families with infants and toddlers. PCANY recommends funding this program, thereby intervening with families when their children’s brains are the most plastic and prevention is the most impactful. An entire generation experiencing ACEs could be helped by
broader implementation of this Initiative. The program:
Ensures that infants and parents receive comprehensive screening and assessment at entry into the child welfare system, and periodically thereafter, to generate appropriate and targeted service plans.
Creates a network of community-based service, including child development services, adult development services, and services required for family stability.
Shifts from an adversarial to a collaborative approach in addressing the needs of families.
Conducts monthly clinical and court conferences to ensure appropriate oversight of cases and to ensure that children's and families' needs are met.
A trauma-informed approach is the basis for all of PCANY’s work. We end this testimony with that foundation and ask that you build policy and support legislation on that foundation. A trauma-informed approach is relevant and necessary in both policy and practice. Policies and procedures crafted to prevent re-traumatization and to address underlying emotional/social trauma is one strategy to address health and social issues impacting the State today-- such as substance and alcohol abuse, incarceration, and domestic violence. Knowledge about ACEs and how to prevent/mitigate ACEs is important for law enforcement, healthcare, social services, educational institutions, and government agencies.
PCANY has met with more than 150 members of the Legislature (and their staff) in an effort to create a Trauma-Informed Legislature. We have worked with legislative champions to mandate trauma-informed training for domestic violence shelter workers and child care providers. With this work, PCANY aims to:
Prevent ACEs in future generations
Identify and mitigate the effects of childhood trauma
Teach resiliency with strengths-based approaches (such as the Protective Factors Framework)
In addition to the 10 original ACEs identified by the CDC, the legacy of racism and discrimination toward Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities has fragmented the experience of many families living in NYS. Poverty and violence also negatively impact entire populations. And as the pandemic continues, we have seen a generation of children traumatized by fear and isolation. PCANY requests that our work to craft trauma-informed training for all child-serving professions be supported at the State level.
The country is facing a tumultuous era of uncertainty and unrest. Mounting tension surrounding public health and social issues have enveloped NYS. Governor Cuomo articulated in his State of the State address that New York is tough and that New Yorkers are resilient. However, these statements are in reference to the current generation.
As we look toward the future, combatting the virus, stabilizing the State, and rebuilding in the wake of uncertainty, “Do we move forward or backward? The future is in our hands.” The future Governor Cuomo made reference to is the children of NYS. Resilience is fostered at an early age, when Protective Factors and prevention measures can best be ingrained at the community level. In pursuit of this vision, PCANY
requests that you consider our budget requests to strengthen families and serve New York’s children.
In closing, we support the agendas of coalition partners working on: kinship care, foster care, mental health, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ+ issues.
TALKING WITH CHILDREN ABOUT THE EVENTS AT THE US CAPITOL IN WASHINGTON, DC
Yesterday was a sobering day for our country, and a difficult one to explain to our children.
Challenging questions for any parent to answer, like: What's happening? Why are people behaving that way? What will happen to our country? Am I safe?
Events like this can affect our kids in all sorts of ways. The trauma they experienced by either watching yesterday's scenes unfold on TV, watching your reaction, or seeing various opinions on social media will take time to process and might not manifest right away. And there is no "right" way for them to deal with what they're feeling.
Your child may become clingy, or they may pull away. They may ask a million questions, or they may shut down. They may act out in anger or become weepy. Depending on their age, they may want to seek out friends and peers to help them process.
So what can you do? Fortunately, multiple professionals have offered advice on how to help your kids (and you!) through challenging situations like this. Here are some resources that can help:
PCANY SIGNS ON TO CAMPAIGN FOR TRAUMA-INFORMED POLICY & PRACTICE (CITPP)
PCANY is proud to be a part of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy & Practice (CTIPP) and recently signed on to the attached letter to the incoming Biden-Harris Administration. The letter and accompanying document prioritize actions that the incoming Administration can take in its first 100 days to address childhood trauma, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), historical trauma, and other traumas, and to nurture resiliency across the country. The recommendations for administrative actions are in two buckets: first, the severe trauma being caused by COVID-19; second, the trauma that has harmed so many families and communities for many generations, far beyond the pandemic. We encourage others to sign on! Please email email@example.com to do so.
Here is the full text of the letter.
PCANY ENCOURAGES NEW YORKERS TO VOTE WITH CHILDREN IN MIND
In early Fall, Prevent Child Abuse New York released an ad campaign encouraging all New Yorkers to vote with children in mind. The notion that children have some of the greatest needs, but don't have a voice in the election process is one that has been held by child advocates for decades. Whether it is food insecurity, lack of equity in education, safe and affordable housing, child care, afterschool programs, or health care, children need our voices (and votes!) to protect them.
The ads were shared with organizations throughout the State and disseminated through social media outlets.
PCANY SIGNS ON TO SUPPORT "COMMITMENT TO REDUCING CHILD POVERTY BY 50% WITH A FOCUS ON RACIAL EQUITY"
Nearly one in five New York children lived in poverty in 2019 and the pandemic brought high unemployment statewide, significantly exacerbating child poverty. New York children are more likely to live in poverty than in 32 other states, with 18% experiencing poverty in 2019. In some New York communities the percentage of poor children exceeds 50%. Due to structural and systemic racism, child poverty among New York State children of color has long approached 30%. Research shows that this unacceptable level of child poverty costs New York over $60 billion a year.
Prevent Child Abuse New York and ten other organizations signed on, committing to reducing child poverty by 50% with a focus on racial equity, asking Governor Cuomo to do the same.
PCANY AFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO BUILDING PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING ON ISSUES OF CHILD ABUSE
PCANY affirms our commitment to building public understanding on issues of child abuse.
The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. §5106g), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:
"Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which result in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation" or
"An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."
This definition of child abuse and neglect refers specifically to parents and other caregivers. A "child" under this definition generally means a person who is younger than age 18 or who is not an emancipated minor.
Educators who are responsibly teaching approved curriculum are not engaging in child abuse. We stand with teachers and against the implication or suggestion that by educating children they are somehow abusing them. That is a misrepresentation of child abuse and this critical issue.
An average 65,000 children are actually abused or neglected in our State every year and there is much work being done to prevent and mitigate that abuse.
Our work often focuses on addressing childhood trauma, including the injustices that have happened over generations. We consider systemic racism to be an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that colors and possibly clouds a child's life into adulthood. Last week, PCANY signed on to PowHer's vision statement regarding gender and racial equity. We strongly believe that we have an obligation to protect all children and families from racially-based bias, prejudice, and institutionalized discrimination. We will continue to support policies and practices—in schools and elsewhere—that lift up the voices of the marginalized and respond appropriately to their concerns.
We urge people to understand what true child abuse/neglect looks like and to reach out to families who might be struggling. For more information and useful resources, visit our website.
RAISING NY STATEWIDE COALITION CALLS FOR PROTECTING, EXPANDING HOME VISITING
The Raising NY statewide coalition of parent, early childhood, education, civil rights, business, and health organizations, including Prevent Child Abuse New York, joined Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (D-Albany) today to call for New York State to adopt the recommendations of a new policy brief to make proven home visiting services available to more families to address inequities caused by systemic racism, improve maternal and newborn health and well-being, and achieve a positive return on the public investment.
At a virtual roundtable event, supporters said creating a universal home visiting system – which is a proven strategy for helping new and expecting parents connect with resources, information, and supports they need prenatally and during the early weeks and months of a
baby’s life – would build on statewide efforts already underway. The coalition noted that serving more families and strengthening the patchwork system that currently exists would benefit the physical and mental health of both children and parents and save $3 for every $1
invested, according to the brief from Raising NY.
Read the full text of release here.
PCANY POSITION STATEMENT ON EDUCATIONAL NEGLECT
PCANY sent the following statement/offer to the Governor, as well as to NYSED, NYS OCFS, NYSSBA, NYSCOSS, and NYPWA.
"In New York State, about 10% of all neglect reports are for suspected educational neglect, or the failure by a parent or guardian to provide adequate schooling for the child(ren) in their care. PCANY believes that every child has the right to a high-quality education with appropriate supports, and understands that there are times when a report and/or charge of educational neglect is warranted..."
Read the full text here.
PCANY RELEASES HOME VISITING COORDINATION INITIATIVE (HVCI) FINAL REPORT
Today, Prevent Child Abuse NY released the NYS Home Visiting Coordination Initiative (HVCI) Final Report, which includes considerations for increasing access to and investment in maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting. We thank our partners in this endeavor, including the Raising NY coalition and all of the community organizations across NYS who gave their time and knowledge and who are dedicated to supporting young children and their families. Now more than ever, home visiting is vital to strengthening families.
Read the full report here.
See the data here.
PCANY CELEBRATES THE ROLE HOME VISITING IS PLAYING IN SUPPORTING FAMILIES THROUGH PANDEMIC
When the world shut down, families' needs for home visiting support and services went up--exponentially. Suddenly, some parents found themselves out of work and a paycheck, while others were expected to continue working with no child care available to them and children who needed homeschooling. Some parents were faced with caring for aging or ailing parents in the same home as their young children, while trying to figure out how to protect them both. And everyone was faced with the uncertainty of what was happening in the world and how long we would actually all be forced into close quarters with no outlet or end in sight.
Incidents of domestic violence increased, while the number of child abuse cases reported actually went down--only because the people who normally do the reporting were no longer coming face to face with those kids.
According to a poll from Raising NY Coalition, most parents (73%) say the coronavirus crisis has significantly disrupted their home and family lives (particularly in New York City: 77%) and many worry about their family’s mental health as a result of the coronavirus crisis (75%). Two-thirds of parents (68%) worry their child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development will suffer as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and three in four (77%) report their own levels of stress is much higher than usual during this time.
But home visiting staff in Healthy Families New York (HFNY) programs throughout the state hit the ground running and innovated solutions to be able to continue serving families in their communities: most moved to completely virtual visits while still providing contactless deliveries of essential items to families.
Join Prevent Child Abuse New York this week as we highlight home visiting, and HFNY in particular, for all of the work they are doing to support families and children during the pandemic. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram (@preventchildabuseny), and Twitter to hear stories of our workers and the families they have impacted.
To read all of the stories at once, read The Link.
TESTIMONY OF PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK BEFORE THE NYS ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS; STANDING COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS; STANDING COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE; STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKS; OFFICE OF STATE-FEDERAL RELATIONS TASK FORCE ON FOOD, FARM & NUTRITION POLICY
Good morning and thank you for inviting me to testify today. I am Jenn O’Connor, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Prevent Child Abuse New York. Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) provides three primary services across the State.
Our community awareness efforts are aimed at increasing understanding of how individuals can use the Five Protective Factors1 to help prevent child maltreatment.
Our training and technical assistance efforts are geared to providing professionals and communities knowledge, tools, and resources to make great environments for families and children. We provide Healthy Families New York Home Visiting Certification, and run the New York State Parenting Education Partnership, Enough Abuse Sexual Abuse Prevention, Community-based Strengthening Families and Child Abuse Prevention courses.
Finally, our advocacy work centers on evidence-based policy solutions that target root causes of child maltreatment, including increases for home visiting, early care and education system development, and family stability/ economic issues.
One of our top priorities is affordable, high-quality child care. It’s as simple as this—many parents can’t work without child care and afterschool programs. A lack of safe, affordable care causes stress and uncertainty, which undermines family stability and ultimately puts children at greater risk for maltreatment. We need to strengthen New York families, now more than ever.
This means keeping child care programs, small businesses run predominantly by women of color, up and running—now and as our State re-opens and parents return to work. Child care programs have a return on investment of $1.86 for every $1 invested—more than retail, manufacturing, and construction—and that’s money that stays in local communities.
But child care was in trouble pre-pandemic. According to the Center for American Progress, 64 percent of New Yorkers live in a child care desert, which means that there are more than 50 children under the age of 5 in a census tract that contains either no child care providers or so few options that there are more than three times as many children as licensed child care slots.
Even where there are high-quality options, providers have struggled to stay afloat. Because they earn so little, many providers are eligible for child care subsidies themselves. Studies over the past decade showed providers earning less than dog walkers and pizza delivery people.
According to a recent report from Raising NY, the pandemic has led to vast closures across New York State’s child care system. More than 1 in 4 (27%) of family child care providers serving infants and toddlers in New York City stopped operating as of May 21 (this analysis does not include child care centers in New York City, which were generally subject to a closure order from the City). Outside of New York City, 28% of child care providers that can serve infants and toddlers have closed, including 22% of family child care providers and 50% of child care centers that can serve infants and toddlers.
Family child care providers in lower-income communities have been the backbone of the child care system during the pandemic, remaining open despite great risks. Still, providers are struggling. The majority of programs remaining open have extraordinarily low and unsustainable enrollment rates. In New York City, open family child care providers have an average utilization rate of 6%. Outside of New York City, open family child care providers have an average utilization rate of 28% and open child care centers that can serve infants and
toddlers have an average utilization rate of 15%.
The federal response has been promising. Congress Member Nita Lowey led the House-passed Heroes Act, which includes $7B for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to provide additional COVID-19 relief and is an original cosponsor of the Child Care is Essential Act, which would establish a $50B child care stabilization fund. We are advocating at the federal level and ask for your support there, as well.
One success was that, this past spring, the federal CARES Act allocated over $163M for child care. Using $30M of that funding, New York State established a scholarship so that income- eligible essential workers could access child care for free. The initial allocation of CARES Act dollars also provided PPE for programs across the State. As of June 8th, 9,609 parents and 5,028 providers had applied. 10,409 licensed and registered programs are open and 5,694 children have been enrolled. In addition, 3,286 providers have received supplies. We are extremely grateful for this first step.
But that’s what it is—a first step. The income eligibility requirement means that too few families are being approved for the scholarship, especially in counties like Onondaga that already had a higher poverty threshold. We urge New York State to increase the eligibility level
from 300 percent of poverty to 500 percent.
In addition, we ask that the State immediately invest the remaining $134M in CARES Act Funds. Programs and providers (and children and families) cannot wait. They need operational support and resources to potentially alter brick and mortar to meet federal and state safety guidelines. For example, without an influx of dollars, a program with 100 slots will no longer be able to serve 100 children, due to distancing guidelines and other restrictions. Without those children, that program could lose $4,000/month and would be hard-pressed to remain open.
Finally, programs are looking for consistent guidance and to have input into what that guidance looks like. One provider told me that recently amended guidance on class ratios "… will close doors of child care centers for good. We will need to tell parents on waiting lists we cannot help them. Yesterday I had to tell five families who need care that we cannot help them."
The bottom line is that Congress has acted and now we must utilize the resources our delegation secured. The urgency was apparent last week, when more than 450 providers and parents from across New York State, as well as state legislators, participated in a press
conference and virtual rally. The stories they told were filled with hope that they will be able to continue to provide care so that parents can work…. but the anxiety was palpable.
If we truly support small businesses, we must focus attention on child care. If we truly support all businesses—and economic development in general—we must support child care. Thank you.
June 15, 2020
1 Parental resilience, children’s social and emotional competence, social connections, concrete support in times of need, and knowledge of parenting and child development.
LETTER TO GOVERNOR CUOMO REGARDING PREVENTION PROGRAMS
In recent days, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo has expressed concern about the financial state of the state due to the COVID-19 crisis. Prevent Child Abuse New York echoes his concern and is worried about how that will affect some of New York's most vulnerable citizens, our children, and the people who care for them. This letter was sent to the Governor this morning to articulate where we see gaps and shortcomings and offer suggestions and our help to address these concerns.
May 15, 2020
The Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Governor of New York
Albany, NY 12224
Re: Prevention Programs
Dear Governor Cuomo:
Prevent Child Abuse NY (PCANY) is a statewide nonprofit that works to strengthen families by providing supports, raising awareness, and advocating for an array of evidence-based prevention initiatives. As Board members of PCANY, we urge your continued support of the
programs listed below.
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted New York families in a myriad of ways, and those at the highest risk of child abuse and neglect pre-pandemic are truly struggling. State data suggests a significant drop in calls to Child Protective Services (CPS) and national experts predict a 50% decline in reporting. This does not mean that child maltreatment is not happening. Instead, it is being hidden by our necessary stay-at-home order; children are not seen by mandated reporters and other trusted adults on a regular basis. Additional data suggests that calls from youth to sexual abuse hotlines has increased. When the dust clears and our State re-opens, we expect to see a generation of children who have not only survived the trauma of COVID-19, but the added trauma of abuse. Our first request is that New York State provide monthly child abuse and neglect data by region or county. This will allow us to determine true need, as well as help identify the steps we must take to ensure that children are protected.
Now more than ever, we must invest in those programs and services that we know work. Our second request is that you not cut funding to any of the following and increase funding to trauma-informed initiatives that will support our children, including elevating social-
emotional/mental health supports for children and youth (in school-based, child care-based, and community-based settings) on your list of priorities.
Maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting programs: These voluntary programs, which rely on face-to-face interaction, have gone virtual during the pandemic and continue to support families with children from the prenatal period through early childhood. Programs are especially important in the minority communities, which are hit hardest by the virus, and which are often have higher rates of poverty and greater ratios of essential workers. Unfortunately, the 2020 State Budget cut funding for two proven programs—ParentChild+ and Parents as Teachers.
Family Resource Centers (FRCs): FRCs serve as one-stop shops for families in need, providing parent education classes, adult education, and home visiting. They also often provide concrete supports such as access to SNAP and WIC, local food banks, and hard-to-get supplies like formula and diapers.
Child care/afterschool: While the State has made free child care available to income-eligible essential workers, this plan falls short of helping all essential workers and fails to address the concerns of programs that were forced to close or serve fewer families due to the virus. Guidance on safety protocols and testing of staff and children is necessary for both child care and afterschool programs to successfully stay open or re-open. This should be a state determination and not a decision left up to Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs).
Housing: We applaud the Executive for implementation of an eviction moratorium and urge increased attention to the most vulnerable families—namely the homeless (both in and out of the shelter system) and youth aging out of foster care. Now is not the time to put more people on the streets.
Child welfare programs: CPS reports are down but that only masks what is happening. The State must increase its support of kinship care, foster care, and out-of-home placements that are keeping children safe during this time of social distancing.
Trauma-informed practice and social-emotional supports: When schools re-open, we expect to see increased reporting of behavioral issues and possibly even an increased dropout rate, with some older youth simply not returning to the classroom. Those who do, should be met with additional support by trauma-informed educators and school personnel; those who do not, should be met where they are in the community with similar supports.
We understand that New York State is challenged by dramatic fiscal constraints. We urge the Executive to think creatively and strategically and utilize federal funds—such as the CARES Act, Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and FEMA dollars wherever possible. We also request that New York re-imagine its use of some existing state dollars, such as REDC and other economic development dollars that might historically have been used on capital projects. Now is the time to invest in our human capital. We would be glad to join the conversations on how to creatively maintain and even increase the level of service that is so needed for our communities and our children.
President: William Hayes , Cooperstown
Vice President: Dr. Vincent Palusci, New York
Secretary: Dr. Zakhar Berkovich, Albany
Treasurer: Jennifer Quinn, Albany
Sandra Bunkley, Buffalo
Feride Castillo, Long Island
Joy Farina Foskett, Manhattan
Pamela R. Kelly, Waterford
Paige Pierce , Albany
Dr. Mel Schneiderman, New York
Gerald Wallace, Esq., Albany
David Younis, Rochester
Cc: Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor
James Malatras, President, SUNY Empire State College
Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner, NYS Department of Health
Sheila Poole, Commissioner, NYS Office of Children and Families
Shannon Tahoe, Interim Commissioner, NYS Education Department
Rebecca Mudie, Acting Secretary of Human Services
Velmanette Montgomery, Senate Chair, Children and Families Committee
Roxanne Persaud, Senate Chair, Social Services Committee
Ellen Jaffee, Assembly Chair, Children and Families Committee
Andrew Hevesi, Assembly Chair, Social Services Committee
STATEWIDE COALITION RELEASES FRAMEWORK TO SCALE UP CHILD CARE AS NY RE-OPENS AND SET A PATH TO A STRONGER, MORE EQUITABLE FUTURE
Parent, early childhood, education, civil rights, business, and health organizations call on state to invest in strengthening child care system for infants and toddlers
CONTACT: Tiffany Lankes, communications director for The Education Trust–New York
NEW YORK – As New York moves forward with its strategy to re-open, the Raising NY coalition is calling on state leaders to develop and implement a comprehensive and inclusive plan to offer affordable, safe, high-quality child care during this period, rebuilding the child care system so that it is stronger and more equitable than before the pandemic.
Parents of infants and toddlers across New York State are experiencing intense financial insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic, with the crisis exacerbating pre-existing inequities among communities of color and families from low-income backgrounds. A recent Raising NY poll found the crisis has introduced significant uncertainty about child care for many parents of infants and toddlers in New York, with nearly half of families from low-income backgrounds worried they will be unable to afford their existing care if their financial situation worsens.
The federal emergency relief and stimulus bill known as the CARES Act provided New York State with significant funding to address critical child care needs. The policy brief released today illustrates how those funds, along with other subsidy funds not spent due to the steep drop in child care enrollment during New York’s “PAUSE,” can be most effectively applied, and could also provide a guide to longer-term reforms to support infants and toddlers.
“Child care is one of those concrete supports that we call protective factors,” said Tim Hathaway, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse NY. “Accessible, affordable, reliable care decreases families' stress because it allows parents to work knowing that their children are safe and sound. Child care providers have been on the frontline since the beginning of the pandemic, providing care for the children of essential workers while putting their own health at stake. As New York makes plans to re-open, this workforce must have the resources and funding necessary to ensure that they, and the children they care for, remain safe. No re-opening plan will be complete without an emphasis on child care and a re-imagining of how the system delivers these essential services to working families across the State.”
Learn more about this issue and read the results of a recent poll of what parents of infants and toddlers are experiencing during the coronavirus crisis at RaisingNY.org/coronavirus.
APRIL 30th IS ACES AWARENESS DAY
ACEs are Adverse Childhood Experiences—10 factors scientifically proven to increase chronic disease in adulthood (see below). ACEs can complicate a life but they do not define a person—and they can be mitigated by taking steps to strengthen families and the communities around them.
Prevent Child Abuse New York has embarked on an initiative to create a trauma-informed Legislature and has met with 161 offices to date.
Now more than ever, we hope that an understanding of ACEs, childhood trauma, and resiliency will lead to increased investments in children and families and in services and supports that help reduce the impacts of ACEs. We know that the current pandemic has left many families physically and socially isolated, and we continue to provide resources to them during this difficult time.
Join a virtual ACEs Awareness Day rally tomorrow from 11:00 – 1:00 and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Contact: Jenn O’Connor, Director of Policy and Advocacy, 518/817-1107, firstname.lastname@example.org
MEMO IN SUPPORT OF NIGHT SHIFT
PCANY is pleased to announce that the Governor signed S3420A (SAVINO) into law on October 4th. The bill provides that parents and caretakers who are otherwise eligible for child care assistance are able to utilize such assistance when care is necessary to enable them to sleep.
This is a big step forward for child care and for strengthening families! Follow this link to see our Memorandum in Support of Night Shift.
INFORMATION TO SUPPORT ADVOCACY ACTION ON CAPTA
Today is the second national Day of Action on CAPTA! Please reach out to key House and Senate appropriators and mobilize your networks to do the same. Thank you for all the calls yesterday!
Please help us light up the phone lines of Congress to protect and increase this vital funding. The more calls Congress receives, the more they will take notice and act! We need your help today!
Tuesday, October 8
Action Item: Today is the second day to urge Congress to maintain the House funding for CAPTA!
Please reach out to key House and Senate appropriators and mobilize your networks to do the same!!
Why? House and Senate Appropriators are working now to finalize funding levels for FY2020. During these negotiations, it is critical that we let them know the importance of funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
CAPTA is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to the prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. It is also the only legislation that addresses universal primary prevention capacity-building at a local level, supporting services essential to healthy and thriving communities in every state.
Currently, CAPTA is funded at less than HALF of its authorized level. The House of Representatives took a bold step by increasing funding levels, but the Senate appropriations bill would keep funding levels current.
The expansive mission and directives in CAPTA are severely underfunded and have led to uneven implementation and protections. Now is the time to increase funding for this important program.
You can find a list of members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee at the links below or use the attached contact sheet to see if you have a member from your state:
Talking points for phone calls:
My name is [name] and I work at [organization] in [city/state]. I’m calling about a program that is critical to protecting children – the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. I urge Senator/Representative [Senator/Rep’s name] to increase funding for this important program.
The House of Representatives took a bold step to increase funding for this important law – to $90 million for CAPTA State Grants and $75 million for CB-CAP. It is important that this funding be maintained in the final Appropriations bill being negotiated by the House and Senate.
CAPTA is foundational to our child protection system and strengthening vulnerable families and children. More funding is needed provide the resources states need to help develop, implement, and evaluate strategies that prevent child maltreatment, reduce entry into the public child welfare system, and enhance the overall well-being of children and families.
In the US, the total lifetime economic burden associated with child maltreatment is approximately $2 trillion, rivaling the cost of other high-profile public health crises, such as stroke and type two diabetes. CAPTA helps children and families in all 50 states through services such as evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs, early childhood and child care programs, mental and substance use services, family resource centers, among many other valuable resources.
Script for emails:
My name is (NAME) and I work at (ORGANIZATION) in (CITY/STATE). I’m writing about a program that is critical to protecting children – the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. CAPTA is foundational to our child protection system, and includes important provisions that help keep children safe from abuse and neglect, treat the effects of abuse when it happens, and strengthen families and communities.
Unfortunately, Congress does not provide CAPTA with enough funding for states to implement the protections and community-driven services in CAPTA that would prevent as well as treat child abuse and neglect. The opioid crisis has caused the number of children in foster care to rise for five consecutive years, and parental substance abuse that leads to the removal of a child is rising faster than any other reason for removal. Congress is expected to pass key reforms to CAPTA this year as part of a reauthorization effort. But the reforms that Congress envisions simply will not be realized without robust funding increases.
I’m writing to ask that as the House and Senate Continue negotiations to the Labor-HHS-Education budget in the coming months that you maintain the House funding for CAPTA of $90 million for CAPTA State Grants and $75 million for CB-CAP in FY2020.
EXECUTIVE MESSAGE FROM OUR DIRECTOR, AUGUST 2019
Where in the world is PCANY? And where have we been? Check out our reach across New York State in this video message from our Executive Director Timothy Hathaway.