Recent News (UPDATED 5/18/2020)
LETTER TO GOVERNER 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, email@example.com
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.
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK URGES GOVERNOR CUOMO TO ENACT S2714/A569 INTO LAW
This bill requires counties to refer kinship caregivers to Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) kinship programs that provide critical services, including assistance with kindship public benefits, caregiving options, and other needed supports. Assisting kinship families ensures that children have the best outcomes, remaining in stable homes, and avoiding foster care placements.
To read the full letter, click here.
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK ANNOUNCES STRONG FAMILIES ESSAY CONTEST
In preparation for April's Child Abuse Prevention month, Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) has announced the Strong Families Essay Contest. The contest is open to anyone in New York State who enters in one of the contest's four categories: Elementary Students; Middle School Students; High School Students, and Adults over the age of 18. Topic prompts have been provided in the contest guidelines. Entries are due to PCANY no later than March 22nd. Winners will be notified no later than March 29th. Winners will also be announced at the organization's Kickoff to Child Abuse Prevention month to be held on April 2nd at the State Capitol.
For more information, or to enter, review the contest guidelines.
PCANY RELEASE WHITE PAPER ON THE BENEFITS OF BRIDGING THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PROTECTIVE FACTORS AND THE PYRAMID MODEL
Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) and the Early Care and Learning Council (ECLC) today released a white paper entitled Pairing Protective Factors and Pyramid Model: Implications for
Early Childhood Caregivers and Systems. The brief identifies the benefits of bridging the connection between the Protective Factors and the Pyramid Model. Implemented together, trainings increase child care providers’ awareness, understanding, and compassion while providing scientifically-based information and strategies that will strengthen providers’ ability to build resilience in children.
Read the full announcement here.
Read the full white paper here.
CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT ACT (CAPTA) RECOMMENDATIONS TO 116TH CONGRESS
Greater focus on prevention now yields significant cost reduction later, saving taxpayers from long-term, costly interventions, while simultaneously improving outcomes for children and families. Prevent Child Abuse America® recommends Congress take the following actions in 2019:
• Reauthorize the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)
• Significantly increase funding for CAPTA while emphasizing Community-Based Grants (CB-CAP)
• Re-envision and modernize CAPTA with a sharp focus on Primary Prevention
Read the full recommendation here.
PCANY'S COMMENT ON THE PASSAGE OF THE CHILD VICTIMS ACT
Prevent Child Abuse New York is thrilled to see the passage today of the Child Victims Act (CVA). Under the new law, survivors of childhood sexual abuse will be able to file civil lawsuits against abusers and institutions until they are 55 years old. The current law permits victims to sue only until they are 23.
includes a “look-back window” for adult survivors who were previously prohibited by the statute of limitations to sue during a one-year period;
allows survivors to seek felony criminal charges until their 28th birthday, and until their 25th birthday to seek misdemeanor charges; and
gives law enforcement more time to file charges against abusers.
PCANY's TESTIMONY AT THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET HEARING ON HUMAN SERVICES
"We also know that child abuse is preventable if we invest in programs that support and strengthen families. We think that’s money well spent." Read the full testimony here.
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT S.1046/A.576: PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK UNDERSTANDS THAT CONVERSION THERAPY IS CHILD ABUSE
Designates engaging in sexual orientation change efforts by mental health care professionals on patients under 18 years of age.
PCANY supports this legislation for two reasons:
1) The American Psychological Association (APA) does not support its own members practicing conversion therapy. In 2007, a task force of the APA undertook a thorough review of the existing research on the efficacy of conversion therapy. The APA’s report noted that there was very little methodologically sound research on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCEs) and that the "results of scientifically valid research indicate that
it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through SOCE."
2) There is ample evidence that societal prejudice (including the practice of conversion therapy) causes significant medical, psychological and other harms to LGBTQ people.1 There are four types of child abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Conversion therapy clearly falls within the realm of emotional abuse. Research shows that young people who are not accepted or who are persecuted for their sexual orientation are eight times more likely to attempt suicide and nearly six times as likely to report high levels of depression. We must not allow mental health professionals to add to the stigma and emotional distress experienced by these children and youth.
1 Human Rights Campaign
RESILIENT EARLY CHILDHOOD MODEL SITES INITIATIVE: CARE FOR KIDS/PROTECTIVE FACTORS (JANUARY 7, 2019)
PCANY and EduKids would like to thank the Health Foundation of Western and Central NY for their generous support!
This project will implement Protective Factors and Care for Kids Sexual Abuse Prevention practices in early care settings. Children will benefit from curriculum designed to build their resilience. Parents and caregivers will benefit from enhancement of their own Protective Factors and from knowledge and skills relating to protecting their children. Staff will benefit from enhanced training and technical assistance in curriculum, deeper relationships with families and with a more responsive approach to children in their care.
Using a two-generation approach, this project will focus on two areas.
First, the project will target children’s development of skills relating to resilience. Staff in the classroom settings will be trained and receive ongoing technical support to assist them with a focus on the developmental skills related to growth of resilience including children’s knowledge and confidence relating to body awareness, emotional safety and boundary issues. These are critical elements connected to children’s development of healthy body image and they act as a Protective Factors for the child.
Second, the project will train parents and caregivers in the same developmental information, provide on-going information specific to their child’s developing skills and reinforce the adult’s development of Protective Factors.
What Makes This Project Innovative:
Four elements of the project are particularly innovative; 1. applying a two-generation approach to specifically address resilience building in a child care setting, 2. coupling this with classroom sexual abuse prevention, 3. supporting both with ongoing technical assistance, and 4. targeting parental engagement to build Protective Factors. This project represents a model for enhanced child care settings targeting skill development of children, staff and parents.
LETTER TO GOVERNOR CUOMO REGARDING CHILD CARE AVAILABILITY TASK FORCE (DECEMBER 7, 2018)
On behalf of the undersigned children’s advocates, child care providers, resource and referral agencies, parents, and faith, business and labor leaders, we applaud Governor Cuomo’s convening of the Child Care Availability Task Force, as called for by legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee and former Senator Tony Avella, and strongly supported by the New York Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Women of Color Task Force of the Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus. We urge the Task Force to seize this opportunity to develop a concrete, comprehensive plan to equitably expand access to high-quality child care to all New York families that need it.
We challenge the Task Force to be bold in its recommendations.
New York State has the strongest Paid Family Leave benefit in the nation (guaranteeing 6.4 million working families annually with 12 weeks leave at approximately two-thirds pay), and is a leader on pre-K (particularly in New York City, which offers full-day pre-K to all 4’s and is now adding 3’s). In contrast, the State’s child care system -- the bridge between these programs and a critical service for working families with young children -- is broken. It is time for New York to fix this bridge and provide quality child care to all New York families that need it. Small measures and quick fixes will not meaningfully expand access to the thousands of New York families that need child care, nor build a well-supported, stable early childhood workforce. Toward that end, we urge the task force to put forth a comprehensive plan to restructure and improve the State’s child care system that does the following:
Makes child care accessible and affordable to all children from birth through school-age;
Ensures high-quality care by supporting the child care workforce and building a strong effective and streamlined professional development infrastructure;
Includes and effectively accommodates children with special needs;
Respects and reflects the many strengths, languages and cultures of all children and families; and
Is respected by and integrated with the entire early childhood continuum, building upon the state’s existing strengths based on the unique needs of each region of the state.
We urge the Task Force to make recommendations that ensure:
Generous eligibility for families to qualify for assistance. All low-income and middle-income New York families that need child care should qualify for, and continue receiving support until they have gained financial stability.
Equitable aid is provided to all low- and middle-income working families. While the assistance for families can vary in amount and type according to income level or other factors, it is essential that the assistance is provided such that it can be utilized by all families that need it to access quality care. For instance, refundable tax credits are usually not practical for low-income families who live paycheck to paycheck, but may be effective for some middle-income families.
Assistance is provided at fair levels. It is essential to ensure that providers are reimbursed or contracted at levels that reflect the true cost of care so they are not discouraged from enrolling families that receive state support, can offer high-quality care, and can pay teachers fair wages and reduce turnover.
New funding mechanisms to support quality child care are identified. The State cannot make significant strides toward expanding access to quality child care to all families that need it without identifying and dedicating new funds for child care.
Data is gathered and systems established to enable the State to track and evaluate relevant data related to child care. The Task Force presents an opportunity to evaluate meaningful data about the barriers families face to accessing quality child care, challenges providers and educators face to providing quality care, and the impact child care inaccessibility has on business and economic development.
Now is the time for New York State to Act on Child Care
The Child Care Availability Task Force is a unique opportunity for New York State to develop a comprehensive plan to address the state’s child care affordability and accessibility challenges. The development and enactment of such a plan could spur economic growth, ensure our State’s children receive high-quality care, and build on the success of paid family leave to position New York State as the best place in our nation to raise a family. We look forward to working with the Task Force, the Legislature, and the Governor to ensure that affordable and accessible quality child care is one of the State’s top priorities.
Cc: Sheila Poole, Commissioner, NYS Office of Children and Family Services
Roberta Reardon, Commissioner, NYS Department of Labor
Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor
Paul Francis, Deputy Secretary, NYS Health and Human Services
Kerri Neifeld, Assistant Secretary for Human Services
Kelli Owens, Director of Women’s Affairs
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee
Adirondack Birth to Three Alliance
Advocacy Center of Tompkins County
Advocates for Children of New York
Alcohol & Drug Council of Tompkins County, Inc.
Alliance for Quality Education
Capital District Child Care Council
Care-a-lot Child Care
Center for Children's Initiatives
Chautauqua County Education Coalition
Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center
Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc.
Child Care Council of Nassau, Inc.
Child Care Council of Orange County Inc.
Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.
Child Care Council of Westchester
CHILD CARE COUNCIL, INC.
Child Care Resource Network
Child Care Resources of Rockland, Inc.
Child Care Solutions, Inc.
Child Development Council of Central New York, Inc.
Child Development Support Corporation
Chinese-American Planning Council
Citizen Action of New York
Citizens Committee for Children of New York, Inc.
City of Cortland
Cortland Child Development
Cortland County Chamber of Commerce
Cortland County Child Development Day Care Program, INc.
Cortland Regional Medical Center
Daycare Council of New York
Early Care & Learning Council
Early Childhood Alliance Onondaga
ECE ON THE MOVE
Empire Justice Center
Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island, Inc.
Every Child Matters
Family Child Care Association of New York State
Family Enrichment Network, Inc.
Generations Child Care, Inc.
Help Me Grow
Hunger Action Network NYS
Illume Projects, LLC
Ithaca Community Childcare Center
New York Paid Leave Coalition
New York Union Child Care Coalition
Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH)
NY Early Childhood Professional Development Institute
NY State Council of Churches
NYS Network for Youth Success
Parent Child Home Program
Prevent Child Abuse New York
Rhythm and Rhyme Childcare Center
RocACTS Education Task Force
Rochester Childfirst Network
Schenectady Day Nursery School Childcare Center
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
Southern Adirondack Child Care Network
Southern Tier 8 Regional Board
St. Peter RC Parish
Storybook Child Care, Inc
SUNY Cortland Child Care Center
The Children's Agenda
The Christ Redemption Tabernacle
The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc.
The Parent-Child Home Program
The YMCA of Greater Rochester
Tompkins County Area Development
Tompkins County Chamber & Tompkins Cortland Community
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, Inc.
United Way of Cortland County, Inc.
United Way of Central New York, Inc.
Westchester Children's Association
WNY Women's Foundation
Women's Diversity Network
YWCA of Binghamton-Young Wonders Early Childhood Center
YWCAs of NYS
PCANY PUBLIC CHARGE COMMENT (OCTOBER 24, 2018)
DHS Docket #USCIS-2010-0012
Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) vehemently opposes this proposed rule by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which would narrowly define who may be admitted to, or stay in, the United States. This attempt to limit admission only to those who will never need public assistance (become a “public charge”) is not only unenforceable (for who can predict the future); it undermines the American value of supporting those in need of assistance and support.
The proposal is that “Aliens who seek adjustment of status or a visa, or who are applicants for admission, must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge…Moreover, DHS proposes to require all aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of status to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits as defined in the proposed rule.” Aside from that fact that the term “aliens” is offensive, PCANY understands that we all benefit from some sort of government assistance to survive and thrive in our society, whether it’s Social Security, Medicare, farm subsidies, etc.
This proposal also sets a disturbing precedent, laying the foundation for limiting the rights of current citizens/residents who receive certain public benefits. Again, we should not deprive people of services to help them meet basic needs—particularly families with children. Research shows that strengthening families by providing supports such as nutrition assistance, subsidized child care, and low- or no-cost healthcare results in improved health outcomes/lower medical bills, increased high school graduation rates, and decreased child maltreatment. Society benefits when all boats rise.
We urge DHS to amend or abandon this ill-advised proposal. If those seeking admission to the U.S. meet other reasonable requirements, then we should not base their entry on whether or not we think they may need our help later.
NYS HOME VISITING COORDINATION INITIATIVE IS A REALITY (OCTOBER 1, 2018)
PCANY is excited to announce the launch today of the NYS Home Visiting Coordination Initiative, funded through a legislative award secured by Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi (28 AD).
Voluntary maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting programs pair a nurse or paraprofessional with a family to help guide them through the earliest days and (sometimes) years of their child’s life. These two-generational, comprehensive programs have shown decreases in child abuse and neglect, increases in school readiness, and better health outcomes.
Unfortunately, although a number of both research-based and home-grown home visiting programs are currently providing valuable services and supports to families across New York State, only 5% of eligible children are receiving those services.
The New York State Home Visiting Coordination Initiative is a platform for information, education, and conversation. The intent is to provide cutting-edge information, build cross-program relationships, and offer additional opportunities for cross-systems operations. Ultimately, it aims to help programs increase staff retention and serve more families.
According to Tim Hathaway, Executive Director of PCANY, the organization that is housing the Initiative, “The power of this work is in the sense that all families need support around the time of the birth of a child and the critical early years. But not all families need the same levels of support. This Initiative is about trying to find the right level of support for each family by providing resources that home visitors can use in their daily work—regardless of what home visiting program they work for—as well as helping create a system that has real continuity across the State.”
"I look forward to PCANY's implementation of the New York State Home Visiting Coordination Initiative. This Initiative aims to enhance the proven effectiveness of home visiting programs through cross-program connections, information sharing, and increasing the number of children and families being served. Early intervention, increased support, and access to services are crucial to the successful development of a child,” said Assembly Member Hevesi.
Visit the Initiative's website at: www.nyshomevisitcoord.com
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK OFFERS BUILDING RESILIENT COMMUNITIES PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES (Updated October 16, 2018)
Recognizing the need to increase trauma-informed practice among child- and family-serving professionals, Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) has created a curriculum grounded in a broad base of evidence on the effective application of the Five Protective Factors (PF). Offered in five different but interconnected instruction opportunities, the sessions provide an overview of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and childhood trauma, educate participants on the importance of building resilience in the children/youth/families they serve, and help them alter their day-to-day behavior by incorporating relevant PFs into their work. For more information on the opportunities or to schedule a session, follow the link.
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK OPPOSES HHS–OS–2018–0008 (AUGUST 2, 2018)
"PCANY supports increased access to reproductive health care and family planning—and opposes this proposed rule, which would limit such access. We also fear that decreasing access to reproductive/family planning services will result in a decrease in access to all health services currently provided—such as cancer screens. In the simplest terms, a healthy mother equals a healthy baby; we should be doing everything in our power to ensure the health of women (and men) so that they can create strong families." Check here for our letter regarding HHS–OS–2018–0008, Proposed Rule for Compliance With Statutory Program Integrity Requirements.
TO THE NYS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION (June 21, 2018)
Prevent Child Abuse New York, together with the undersigned organizations, wishes to convey extreme distress that the recently signed Executive Order regarding U.S. policy to separate immigrant children from their parents at the Mexican border fails to outline a plan for reunification. Not only has this practice of forcibly detaining children done irreparable harm, but that trauma will continue even after families are reunited.
The trauma experienced by these families is practically unimaginable. We know that any separation from a parent can be stressful; but in these cases, children traveling great distances to escape often violent circumstances were being torn from their families just as they reach what they hoped was safety. They committed no crime and should not have been punished.
We urge the implementation of a reunification process immediately.
Citizens Committee for Children
Early Care and Learning Council
Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island, Inc.
Family Leadership Network
Families Together in New York State
Good Shepherd Services
New York State Association for the Education of Young Children
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
New York State Network for Youth Success
New York Zero to Three Network
Parent-Child Home Program
Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts
Prevent Child Abuse New York
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
YMCA of Greater New York
Ellen Butowsky (NYS resident)
Jennifer Curry, Ed.D., Principal, Jennifer Curry Consulting
Isabel DaSilva (NYS resident)
Brittany Enekes (NYS resident)
Lisa Galatio (NYS resident)
Heather Larkin, Associate Professor, SUNY School of Social Work
Tamae Memole (NYS resident)
James Porter (NYS resident)
Beth Starks, Executive Director, Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center
Albert and Stacy Wilson (NYS residents)
TRAUMA IMPACTS SEPARATED FAMILIES (JUNE 21, 2018)
Albany, New York (June 21, 2018) – Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) is deeply concerned about the trauma inflicted on children by the recently rescinded policy to separate them from their parents at the Mexican border. This policy resulted in a 20% increase in children being held separately. The trauma experienced by these families is practically unimaginable. We know that any separation from a parent can be stressful; but in these cases, children traveling great distances to escape often violent circumstances were being torn from their families just as they reached what they hoped was safety. They will continue to experience long-term consequences. Please contact PCANY for more information on trauma and child abuse.
Jenn O’Connor, Director of Policy and Advocacy, , 880-3595
Tim Hathaway, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse New York: “The forcible separation policy met the clinical definition of child abuse. Separating children from their parents is a traumatic experience, the implications of which will follow them through their lifetime. These children are suffering harsh and unjust consequences for a decision they did not have control over. We urge a trauma-informed reunification of families.”
Harvard’s Dr. Jack Shonkoff: “Two crucial points about early child development stand out from decades of scientific research. First, for babies and young children to develop sturdy brain architecture, they must have responsive, supportive, consistent relationships with a parent or primary caregiver. Second, high and persistent levels of stress can be toxic to young children’s brain development, with serious negative impacts on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan. Sudden, forcible separation of children from their parents is traumatic for both, and triggers a severe, biological stress response in the child, which stays triggered until that familiar caregiver returns. And it removes the most important resource a child can have to buffer the effects of toxic stress—a responsive adult who’s known to that child. Each day we fail to return them to their parents, we compound the harm. There are ways to mitigate the damage, but the best thing we could do for them by far is to reunite them with their parents. If children were being fed poison and we asked, “What's the best treatment?”, the best answer is not to come up with an antidote, it's to stop poisoning them in the first place.”
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney: “Snatching children from their mothers’ arms and throwing them in cages is child abuse and it has to stop. Now. We’re fighting Trump down here with everything we’ve got – and we won’t stop until these innocent children are reunited with their
families – that’s a promise.”
Meredith Chimento: “As executive director at the Early Care and Learning Council, I want to express that this is not about where these children are housed. These children could be held in a five star hotel and this would still be inhumane and inappropriate. This trauma will impact their success in life.”
Anne Erickson, President and CEO of Empire Justice Center said “As Americans and New Yorkers, we all can agree that the sanctity of families and the rule of law are fundamental values that we hold dear. The actions of the federal government in tearing children away from their families at the southern border runs directly counter to these values. It is particularly horrifying that refugee parents are being prosecuted by the federal government for seeking a better life for their children, further traumatizing the family. Empire Justice stands in solidarity with immigrant communities across the country and are actively seeking ways to provide legal assistance to children housed here in New York”.
Paige Pierce, CEO of Families Together in New York State: "It is indisputable that separation of children from their family is deeply traumatizing and will cause lasting irreparable damage that will impact them throughout their lifetime. The administration's choice in April to enforce a blanket policy of prosecuting every undocumented family that crosses our nation's borders is simply unconscionable. While we support the intent of keeping these families together, it remains unclear if this most recent executive order will reunite the children who have been separated to date and if new incoming families will be held indefinitely. That is why we urge the President to simply return to the previous policy that they enforced before April."
Kelly Sturgis, Executive Director at New York State Network for Youth Success: "The stress and trauma inflicted on the children who have been separated from their parents at our border is unnecessary and immoral. After traveling thousands of miles to escape violence and death, these children are met with concrete and cold steel in a facility that lacks the proper number of trained staff to address the developmental needs of children who have undergone this type of journey. While the first step in ending this practice was taken yesterday by the president, every child must now be reunited with their parents immediately, and given the attention and care they need to address the trauma they have already experienced."
Robin Chappelle Golston, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts: “Separating children from their parents at the border is unconscionable, inhumane and only further traumatizes families fleeing violence and unimaginable hardship. The effects of this cruel and unjust policy may only be fully revealed decades from now. Every effort must be made to provide the skilled support these children require and to immediately reunite them with their families.”
Rifat Filkins, Executive Director, RISSE: "We stand in agreement with the Prevent Child Abuse NY concern for the hardships on children who are removed from their parents at the border. We urge everyone to respond as they see fit to government officials and humanitarian organizations."
Heather Larkin, Associate Professor at SUNY School of Social Work: "A vast body of research on adverse childhood experience (ACE) reveals powerful relationships between accumulated early life adversities, including loss of a parent, with serious, high cost health and social problems later in life. Many policy and community leaders are translating this knowledge of ACEs, toxic stress, and trauma to inform policy and practice approaches that build resilience and advance health. These policies and programs could serve as an example for alternative immigration policy in order to support the healthy development of all people — this is really a bipartisan concern in many communities across the country."
Dede Hill, Director of Policy, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy: “At Schuyler Center, our mission and passion is to advance policies that strengthen families and reducechildhood trauma. We are therefore shocked and dismayed that the federal government - in its deliberate and systematic separation of immigrant children from their parents – has pursued a policy intended to leverage children's trauma to achieve a political end. We urge our elected leaders to be guided by compassion, not politics, and ensure that children whohave been separated from their parents are reunited immediately. These families - many of whom are fleeing unthinkable violence in their country of origin - should be treated with humanity and respect as their immigration cases are processed.”