Every year, our Office of Public Policy enlists in a robust advocacy season to secure funding for key programs and services that support New York City children and families. Fabienne Pierre, manager of advocacy and operations, breaks down this year’s state budget.
We kicked off one of our busiest state budget advocacy seasons yet. Our Office of Public Policy took charge and stormed the state capitol, in Albany, with our youth and staff on behalf of children and families we serve. One of the major challenges we faced this year was the deficit in the New York State budget and the uncertainty of how funding for our priorities would fare. We are proud to share a few of our wins.
The New York State budget includes:
- $6 million to continue supporting nearly 500 youth in and aging out of foster care that are currently in college plus additional incoming fall 2018 college freshmen. This funding, the Foster Youth College Success Initiative, is a crucial support designed to help these young people graduate from college.
- $3.8 million in new funding which restores the 20 percent cut that school-based health centers received in FY18. Additionally the legislature has provided a two-year extension to allow for SBHCs to work within the state’s managed care system.
- $806 million for child care subsidies which reflects the restoration of $7 million. There will also be an additional estimated $106 million flowing from new federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds, a portion of which will go to expanding access to subsidies.
- $40 million for the Summer Youth Employment Program which represents a $4 million increase from the previous year.
- $635 million for preventive services, which provide stabilizing support to families and ensure children can remain safely at home, and will continue state reimbursement at 62 percent. The budget also rejects the governor’s proposal to cap reimbursement for child welfare costs to NYC at $320 million.
On the child welfare front, Governor Cuomo proposed harmful cuts in his initial executive budget for many services, including preventive services as mentioned above. In NYC, approximately 44,445 children and youth receive preventive services, and at Children’s Aid we serve nearly 700 children and families through our preventive programs. While we are grateful for the win on preventive services, there’s still much work to do on the juvenile justice front. The Close to Home program has been extended until March 31, 2023, however the budget repealed provisions related to state funding and reimbursement, representing a $41 million decrease in state funding and forcing New York City to cover these costs. Similarly, although the Raise the Age program received $100 million to support the implementation, language was not included in the final budget that would have explicitly given NYC access to the funding that has been included in the final budget agreement.
While we are happy for the wins in the final FY19 New York State budget, we will continue advocating and working with child welfare and juvenile justice advocates to ensure proper funding is allocated to provide quality services to our youth.
Thank you to all of our staff, youth, and families that accompanied us in Albany to advocate for our children and families. We’ve highlighted some of our staff on our social media pages for the month of April as part of our Advocate Spotlight, so be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
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