Recent News (UPDATED 5/5/2023)
2023-2024 NYS BUDGET: IMPACTS FOR CHILDREN & FAMILIES
The 2023-24 New York State Budget includes investments in several of our priority areas; Primary Prevention, Economic Support to Families, Early Care and Learning, and Mental Health and Wellness. And, while we celebrate these significant advances, we recognize the work still left to be done – deeper investments in primary prevention that promotes healthy and strong children, families, communities, and prevent abuse before it happens!
Below we lay out several issues that PCANY has tracked in the Budget:
Primary Prevention & Family Supports
The Empire State Child Credit, the State’s refundable child tax credit, was expanded to include children under age four. Previously, this critical support for children and families had excluded children under the age of four. Unfortunately, the budget failed to remove income phase-in requirements, which means that the lowest income earning families continue to receive the lowest amount of the tax credit.
The enacted budget takes significant steps toward establishing Healthy School Meals for All by allocating $134.6 million to fund a new “Community Eligibility Provision state subsidy” starting in the 2023-2024 school year. This new investment will allow more schools to offer meals to all students at no charge. While this funding does not provide universal free school meals for all students statewide, it is an important first step.
The Enacted Budget includes $50 million for eviction legal defense, including $15 million for statewide defense, which will help more families fight eviction and remain in their homes. As a member of the Right to Counsel Campaign, PCANY continues to advocate for the passage of Statewide Right to Counsel (S2721/A1493) and a commitment from state leadership to use some of the allocated eviction defense funding to set up the Office of Civil Representation.
Maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting programs provide families with support, resources, skills, and connections at critical moments in their lives. The Enacted Budget includes the following for home visiting programs:
Continued support of Healthy Families NY at $37 million. Note: this amount was expanded under the 2022-23 budget.
Nurse Family Partnership continued support at $4M
ParentChild+, which was first included in the State Budget in 2022-23, remains in this year’s budget, funded at $200,000.
The Enacted Budget includes $1 million for expansion of Help Me Grow, a primary prevention model which works to ensure that all children have the best possible start in life by connecting them to resources that help them reach their full potential. This is up from $200,000 last year, which was the first year the model was included in the Budget.
Child Care and Afterschool
The Enacted Budget addresses several issues related to child care, including:
The creation of a $500 million temporary workforce compensation fund, which will provide payments to child care workers at a time when the sector is facing a workforce crisis due to chronic and systemic underinvestment in the workforce. While this is an important investment, without a commitment to sustained funding, it is insufficient without a commitment to permanently raise pay for child care educators.
Extends eligibility for assistance to pay for child care to families earning up to 85% of the state median income, so that more families may be eligible for child care subsidies.
Crucially, this budget also contains a small pilot program to help the families of children who are currently excluded due to their immigration status access child care.
Afterschool programs, both Advantage and Empire Afterschool, remain flat-funded in the Enacted Budget.
As a member of the Empire State Campaign for Child Care, PCANY will continue pushing for a free, high-quality, equitable, and universal child care system in NYS.
Mental Health/ Human Services Systems
The Enacted Budget includes a 4% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for the human services workforce. This falls far short of the 8.5% COLA advocates and providers have made clear is needed.
Included in the Medicaid Scorecard is $4.8 million for Medicaid reimbursement for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) screenings. We look forward to more details about this initiative and how screenings can be paired with access to resources and supports for families.
The child welfare housing subsidy, which supports families involved in the child welfare system and young people aging out of foster care, was increased to $725 from $300 per month. The subsidy had not been increased since its inception in 1988. Still outstanding: the subsidy amount should be indexed to inflation and the age limit for the subsidy should be increased to 24, so that young people leaving foster care at 21 can avail themselves of the subsidy for 3 years, as allowed by law.
Note: the Enacted Budget does not restore State reimbursement for this subsidy, and for other preventive services, to 65%, as is written in statute. It is critical that the State restore its commitment to supporting prevention, including the housing subsidy, by restoring its reimbursement rate.
We are grateful to Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie, and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for taking steps to meet the needs of New York State children and families. PCANY extends our gratitude to the Chairs of the Children and Families Committees in the Senate and Assembly, Senator Jabari Brisport and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, for their continued support and work on these issues.
PCANY TESTIFIES AT CHILD CARE CRISIS PUBLIC HEARING, SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
See the full testimony here.
PCANY TESTIFIES AT OPDV'S ALBANY LISTENING SESSION
Our own Maggie Dickson, Policy Assistant/HVCI Development Coordinator, testified at OPDV's Albany Listening Session and shared our vision on approaching domestic and family violence. Here is her full testimony.
CONCERNING INFORMATION REGARDING OUR FACEBOOK PAGE
UPDATE: Thanks to our friends at Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky and the Kentucky State Police, this situation has been resolved.
Recently we were notified of a change to Facebook policies, which designate a disclaimer in the form of a pop-up message any time a user does a search that includes the keywords "child abuse." This includes when people search for our page, Prevent Child Abuse New York. It is a multi-step process that requires people to click three separate times to actually reach our page. As you can imagine, this gives us cause for concern from a marketing and communications standpoint, as well as a public perception standpoint.
We have discovered that this same issue faces other Prevent Child Abuse chapters, as well as Prevent Child Abuse America.
After consulting with Facebook, our current understanding is that this is a universal warning based on those keywords, which is intended to help victims of child sexual abuse get help or report the abuse. It is also intended to block access to illegal and graphic content involving children. They have informed us because of the universal nature of the disclaimer that there is nothing that can be done to change it.
We believe that the value of reaching communities through Facebook outweighs this inconvenience, but will continue working with other chapters and the national office to see if we can come up with a more acceptable solution. We plan on communicating this situation through all means to keep people informed and aware.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Wendi Brandow, Communications Specialist, at 518-508-3820.
PCANY FEATURED ON THE BOARD CHECKUP WITH PROFESSOR YVONNE D. CAFIK, PhD.
"In this episode of THEBOARDCHECKUP, the focus is the Case for Board Performance Assessment to Prevent Child Abuse in New York State. Mr. Timothy Hathaway, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse New York, Dr. Vincent Palusci, Board Chair, and Mr. Zakhar Berkovich, Treasurer share their experience with the practice of performance assessment and how it helped the board and staff work more collaboratively as a team to advance the mission of preventing child abuse by building strong families and communities in New York State."
Listen to the Podcast here.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! ASK YOUR SENATORS TO SUPPORT THE RISE FROM TRAUMA ACT.
Please help us launch a new, federal $4.8 billion grant program in support of community coalitions that are advancing trauma-informed and healing centered initiatives. It's called the RISE from Trauma Act!
U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), along with U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), introduced the bipartisan legislation to increase support for children who have been exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma, including witnessing community violence, parental addiction, or abuse. The Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) from Trauma Act dramatically increases funding for community-based efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma, and expands training and workforce development efforts to support health care, education, social service, first responders, and community leaders to foster resilience and deliver services to heal the impact of trauma.
For more information on the Act, you can read the full release here.
We are mobilizing for mass engagement with this easy to use form! Please fill it out and share with others who might be interested.
CHILD ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS RELEASE LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE CHILD POVERTY REDUCTION ACT
The letter, signed by multiple child advocacy organizations, urges the Governor to sign and enact the Child Poverty Reduction Act, S.2755C/A.1160C without delay. This legislation would have New York’s leaders publicly declare their intent to cut child poverty in half in ten years, with attention to racial equity. The bill swept through the Legislature with near-unanimous upstate and downstate, rural, urban, and suburban support and bipartisan co-sponsorship. As New York mounts its recovery from the pandemic, this legislation will ensure that our children are centered in that recovery.
ESCCC AND WBNY STATEMENT: AT THE CLOSE OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION, EARLY CHILD ADVOCATES CELEBRATE CHILD CARE VICTORIES, BUT CAUTION THAT THE CHILD CARE SECTOR AND FAMILIES ARE STILL IN CRISIS
With New York State’s 2021 legislative session now complete, early childhood advocates claim several significant child care victories while urging further action to stabilize the system, address critical needs among parents, providers and the workforce; and begin to transformNew York child care. The Empire State Campaign for Child Care (ESCCC) and Winning BeginningNY (WBNY) applaud the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate for progress made to improve access to child care in NYS; and celebrate the many provider and advocacy groups across the state who made sure that legislators heard and understood the sacrifice and fragile state of this vital economic sector. ESCCC and WBNY also call attention to new statistics revealing how New YorkState failed to distribute the bulk of 2020 federal CARES Act child care funding, even as the state's child care system was breaking down. Looking ahead, ESCCC and WBNY will be calling for strict distribution deadlines, state hearings and a corrective plan of action to ensure new federal funding gets out quickly to those who need it most.
NEW YORK CHILD ADVOCACY AND HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS CELEBRATE THE PASSAGE OF THE NEW YORK CHILD POVERTY REDUCTION ACT
New York’s Legislature has voted overwhelmingly for the Child Poverty Reduction Act, a bill committing New York leaders to publicly set a goal of cutting child poverty in half in the next ten years and take immediate steps toward that goal. With the Governor’s signature, New York law will clearly signal that our state will no longer tolerate having two in five children living just above or in poverty.
REPORT RELEASED: STRENGTHENING THE INTERSECT BETWEEN HOME VISITING AND CHILD CARE PROGRAMS IN NEW YORK STATE
When it comes to services and supports for families with young children, there is often either a dearth or duplication. One reason for this is the distinction made between early childhood and maternal/child health. Instead of looking at the whole child, we look at their education and care needs versus their health and social-emotional needs. Then we further silo programs by funding mechanisms.
STATEMENT OF EMPIRE STATE CAMPAIGN FOR CHILD CARE AND WINNING BEGINNING NY ON GOVERNOR'S RELEASE OF THE CHILD CARE AVAILABILITY TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS
Empire State Campaign for Child Care and Winning Beginning NY applaud the Governor’s Child Care Availability Task Force Recommendations released last week. The recommendations set forth a comprehensive, ambitious, and practical plan for New York to equitably expand access to high-quality child care to all New York families that need it, and to provide child care educators compensation and support reflective of the extraordinary value of their work. They present a consensus vision of the diverse government, business, child care, parent and advocacy leaders who made up the Task Force, arrived at after two years of active engagement and hard work by all.
LEGISLATIVE WIN TO BE CELEBRATED IN NEW YORK ON ACEs AWARENESS DAY APRIL 30TH, FEATURED IN PACES CONNECTION
When advocates gather (virtually) to commemorate ACEs Awareness Day on April 30, there will be lots to celebrate—most specifically, the inclusion of language about ACEs in the FY 21-22 New York State budget (see attached document for the link to the budget and ACEs text).
It calls for mandated reporters to be educated about “ACEs, the importance of protective factors and the availability of services for children at risk for suffering from ACEs.” It also requires the Office of Child and Family Services to implement a statewide campaign to reach parents and others in positions to impact children and families.
See the full story at PACEs Connection.
STATEMENT OF EMPIRE STATE CAMPAIGN FOR CHILD CARE AND WINNING BEGINNING NY ON THE NYS FY 2021-2022 BUDGET
Empire State Campaign for Child Care and Winning Beginning NY applaud the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo for game-changing investments made in early care and education in the FY 2021-2022 Budget. Through the use of Federal funding from the American Rescue Plan and previous rounds of Federal stimulus funding, as well as a tax increase on the highest income New Yorkers, the FY 2021-2022 New York State Budget takes large steps to expand access to child care subsidies, decrease parent costs for child care, equalize subsidy eligibility requirements throughout the State and expand Universal Pre- Kindergarten.
See the full statement here.
HUGE BUDGET WIN FOR NEW YORK'S CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
PCANY is pleased to announce some very good State Budget news! Thank you to our legislative champions, organizational partners, and the Governor for:
Requiring all mandated reporters to take Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)/Protective Factors (PF) training, along with training in implicit bias and how to identify child abuse virtually. In addition, the State Budget provides for the creation and dissemination of trauma-informed materials for pediatricians, educators, child care providers, and local social service staff to share with parents-and-
Adopting a transformative child care package that includes:
providing $1.26 billion in upfront stabilization grants to providers that can be used to increase wages and benefits for child care workers
increasing eligibility for child care subsidies to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) statewide while adding an additional 10,000 child care slots
capping child care co-payments to 10% of a family’s income over the FPL
reimbursing providers for 24 absences per child per year
ensuring 12 month eligibility for families in receipt of subsidies (increased from 6 months)
providing an additional $50 million in funding for existing facilitated enrollment child care providers in 6 regions of the state over the next 2 years
investing $100 million to build new child care capacity in areas of the state deemed to be child care deserts
providing child care scholarships for essential workers,
investing in QUALITYstarsNY, and
providing grants for supplies and PPE to providers.
Restoring all withholding on human services contracts, including Healthy Families NY.
Restoring funding for Advantage Afterschool.
NYS LEGISLATORS CALL ON THE STATE TO ADDRESS ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES (ACES) AND CHILDHOOD TRAUMA IN THE FY 2021-22 FINAL ENACTED STATE BUDGET
New York State legislators joined experts in childhood trauma and advocates on 3/18/2021 to urge New York State to include language in the final budget to address the dramatic increase in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Childhood Trauma experienced by
hundreds of thousands of New York’s children as a result of the shelter in place order New York State imposed as a response to COVID-19.
See the full text of the release here.
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK TESTIMONIES FROM JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET HEARINGS ON HUMAN SERVICES, HEALTH, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Jenn O'Connor, Director of Policy and Advocacy, recently testified at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearings on Human Services, Health, and Economic Development.
Follow the links below for full transcripts of her testimony:
RAISING NEW YORK RELEASES FINDINGS OF PARENTING DURING CORONAVIRUS FOLLOW-UP POLL
Raising New York recently released the findings of a 2021 follow-up poll 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.