Public Policy

Advocacy that puts children and families first

The Office of Public Policy manages and implements an advocacy-driven strategy focused on issues that affect children and families living in New York City’s most under-resourced neighborhoods. Through coalition building and legislative and budget advocacy, the Public Policy team is a key component of the comprehensive counterattack Children’s Aid leads against the obstacles that threaten the well-being of children and their families.

Child Welfare
Brighter Prospects for Youth in Care
Child Welfare

New York City has dramatically reduced the number of children and youth entering the foster care system over the last decade. However, the more than 8,000 children who are currently in care have a complexity of needs that require comprehensive, robust policies and adequate funding to ensure that they have the same opportunity to live safe and successful lives.

Children’s Aid works to ensure that New York’s leaders, at the city and state level, support young people in the child welfare system. We also lead the Fostering Youth Success Alliance, a statewide coalition, to advocate for the rights of youth in care so they might set higher expectations for themselves and achieve their goals.

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College-Age Foster Youth

are enrolled in college as compared to 60% of the general population

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Foster Youth

are homeless immediately after aging out of the foster care system

Early Childhood
Today’s Toddlers, Tomorrow’s Leaders
Early Childhood

Children’s Aid has been a leader in the fight for accessible, affordable, and high-quality child care and early childhood education, particularly for children and families living in low-income neighborhoods. This issue gained a powerful foothold when New York City became the largest city to implement universal pre-K. Since then we have been advocating for equitable pay for the early childhood educators who provide invaluable instruction to children that prepare them for their first official year of school.

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Fewer Words

that children with low-income parents hear by age 5 as compared to wealthier peers

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Eligible Infants/Toddlers

are able to participate in fully subsidized early childhood education programs.

Quality Education for All Children
Student studying at a desk

Children’s Aid has been at the forefront of the community schools strategy in New York City, which integrates holistic social services into school buildings located in under-resourced neighborhoods. The model has been implemented across New York State, the U.S., and internationally. We advocate for sustained funding at the city, state, and federal levels to increase long-term academic success. We have also been long-time champions of quality after-school programming, and work to ensure that all community school partnerships are in accordance with the Every Student Succeeds Act.

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10% >

Days Absent

is the threshold for chronic absenteeism and predicts lower levels of achievement across the board.


1.1 mm

New York State Children

who do not have access to high-quality after-school programming in New York State.

Strong Families, Healthy Communities
Student being examined by doctor

Every child deserves to live a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, one in four children in the United States cannot access essential health care, even if they have insurance. For children from low-income families with chronic health problems, accessing specialty care is yet another barrier to achieving their full potential. We advocate for access to basic health care services and coverage for all children and families in New York City. Our current health policy priorities are:

  • Health care coverage (including expanding Medicaid and the authorization of Child’s Health Insurance Program)
  • School-based health services
  • Evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs
  • High-quality reproductive health and health education services
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Teens Ages 13-18

experience a mental condition severe enough to affect daily functioning.

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NYC Elementary Students

were found to be overweight.

Poverty Reduction
Opportunity in Every Neighborhood
ESPRI conference

Over the last 15 years, in response to the changing needs of young people and their families, Children’s Aid has built a network of coordinated services in the South Bronx. In 2016, the Bronx borough president tapped Children’s Aid to coordinate the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) in the Bronx to address the issues that prevent families from building solid foundations, such as high rates of poverty and unemployment, and develop a comprehensive plan to target funds that address those needs and problems. The work is highly collaborative, bringing together a cross section of Bronx stakeholders to identify needs and develop a long-term plan.

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Bronx Adults

lack a high school diploma in several high-poverty community districts.



Poverty Rate

in certain Bronx community districts, twice the citywide average.

Every Step of the Way

How we connect children and youth with the tools to learn, grow, and lead.

Take Action

Open Your Home

Providing a safe, stable, loving home as a foster parent can be a lifeline to kids and families who are in crisis.

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