By Larry Marx, CEO, The Children's Agenda
Looking up from last year’s nadir of crises (the pandemic, economic downturn, and racial injustice), we see some newly visible ripples of light and hope. At The Children’s Agenda, we are raring to go to turn those ripples into a sea change for children.
Nationally, the new Administration has proposed policies to reduce childhood poverty: expand the Child Tax Credit, raise the dependent care tax credit, and make it refundable. Researchers at Columbia University estimate that these proposals will cut child poverty in half. President Biden has recognized in his proposals that “build back better” means fully investing in our child care system and repairing public education.
At the state level, Governor Cuomo... (Read more)
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with developmental delays and disabilities. Some have missed months of crucial services. A recent report by Advocates for Children found an 82% decline in the number of Early Intervention (EI) referrals per week in New York City during the pandemic and a 67% decline in EI evaluations completed. Children throughout the state are suffering.
Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget does not address these trends. State leaders need to hear from us! The final 2021-22 state budget must include funding and reforms that help young children recover from gaps in therapies and instruction. Read our 2021 recommendations for state funding and reform.
Take action today to urge Governor Cuomo and your representatives to pass a state budget that ensures all children and families can access the Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education services they need!
Save the Date: During the week of February 22nd, the Kids Can't Wait campaign will raise awareness about the NYS Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education programs. The weeklong event will take place on social media with daily posts providing facts, images, hashtags, and opportunities to engage. Be sure to follow the Kids Can’t Wait Facebook page to stay updated about the event and how to get involved.
Governor Andrew Cuomo released his 2022 Executive Budget on January 19th. The Children’s Agenda has conducted an initial review of the proposed budget, as we work with partners around the state, including our local legislative delegation, to ensure that children and families get the support they need to thrive. The COVID-19 pandemic caused great harm to many families in New York State –from disease, social isolation, economic loss, and other factors. Lawmakers need to ensure that New York’s budget prioritizes children, especially the most vulnerable, to help recover from the trauma of the past year.
While The Children’s Agenda monitors many issues affecting children, we have identified 2021 state legislative priorities in four major areas: Child Care, Developmental Services, P-12 Education, and Child Poverty. The Governor’s actions related to those items in the 2021 state budget are... (Read More)
Family Connects will join existing local programs as a first, “light touch” universal screening to eventually reach all 8,000 families with new babies in Monroe County annually – thanks to leadership from the United Way, ESL Foundation, and the three health systems.
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has agreed to become the first health insurer in NYS to cover these services for up to 2,000 families this year. The local program is available to many Excellus BCBS members through the health plan’s partnership with Accountable Health Partners, Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association, Rochester Regional Health, Jordan Health, and the University of Rochester Medical Center. The United Way of Greater Rochester, The Children’s Agenda, and Children’s Institute helped to start the program here.
“ROC Family Connects will bring together families, community agencies, and healthcare providers to give babies the best environment for growth,” said Dr. Jeff Kaczorowski of The Children’s Agenda. “This is an effective way to have a positive impact on families and infants’ well-being.”
The NYS First 1,000 Days Initiative (using federal Medicaid redesign funds) has also selected Monroe County to receive $400,000/year over the next two years in state funding and technical assistance for data integration, resource referral, and more behavioral health supports.
As the Rochester City School District moves forward toward opening schools, Carmen Torres, Parent Advocacy Coordinator at The Children's Agenda, received a letter from a 9th grade student she has mentored and supported in the past.
Eriliany and her mother permitted us to tell her story in her own words.
“From my experience... the online school thing is a little overwhelming, because it’s way different then doing things on paper, and having help right when you need it.
Getting so many notifications from teachers [each] day is overwhelming, many kids like me haven’t been motivated in school... Ever since I’ve been in online classes my grades have dropped from the lack of motivation, as have many other students’ too. But ... I want to bring that up as fast as I can, because school is only going to get harder and harder from here on out.
Online school is a lot of stress on me... very overwhelming, and the more we do online the more overwhelmed I’ll get."
The Children’s Agenda is saddened by the loss of Donald Whitney, President of the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation. Donald had served as a trustee for the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation since 1993, and as President since 2010. Like the foundation itself, Donald was a quiet and important force for good – improving the lives of children in our community, true to the founder’s wishes, as well as an annual funder of The Children’s Agenda, too, since our inception in 2004. We will miss Donald’s kindness, his keen understanding of children based on his years as a teacher and principal, and his humor.
2020 was a difficult and trying year for everyone. There are no two ways about it. It's been tough. While we worked together on accomplishing great things for future generations, the pandemic forced us in many cases just to try to maintain the progress we had already made, or worse, repair broken systems exposed through the pressure of the pandemic. We want to thank everyone who partnered with us to ensure we did all we could for children in our community in 2020.
We look to 2021 with great hope and enthusiasm, knowing both that the pandemic's grip has yet to be fully realized and that many families in our area are struggling more than they were at this time last year.
That's why, if you have the ability, we encourage you to contribute to The Children's Agenda. We've made it even easier for you to make a recurring donation should you so choose. And when you do, you will join hundreds of others in our community who partner with us to advocate for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health disparities, and trauma.
Janet Anderson - Joseph & Elisa Calabrese - Jackie Campbell - The Education Trust - Dr. Richard Kreipe - Steve and Ann Martin - Diane and Michael Mendick - John Nelson - Paychex Charitable Foundation - Irving and Gloria Rosenstein - Moritz Wagner
The Children's Agenda 1 S. Washington Street Suite 120 Rochester, NY 14614 United States
The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.