Budgets are value statements. We cannot reduce them to only dollars and cents or spreadsheets and graphs. They require choices and when we choose one thing over another, it reveals something about us as a community.
That is why The Children's Agenda analyzes government budgets from the Rochester City School District on up to New York state. The analyses are important tools for residents, community organizations and policy makers. We show where the money is going and how we can make smart and bold choices for children.
Our reports don't sit on shelves. We use them to inform parents and community members so they can organize and advocate for what their children and families need. We work together, for as long as it takes, to build equitable systems so all kids thrive.
Read on to learn about our latest work and how you can get involved!
Five-year old Peyton being interviewed about child care.
New York State Budget
The New York state budget has been enacted. There were significant strides made in some areas, including:
However, New York missed several opportunities to set children on a trajectory for lifelong success, including failing to:
Not adequately investing in children, without exception, costs us in the long run, both monetarily and morally. The Children's Agenda will work during the remainder of the legislative session (which ends in June) to enact laws that complete the unfinished work of the budget. Watch your inbox for Action Alerts as legislation moves forward.
Parent leader Gail Berkes advocating for more mental health supports in RCSD budget.
The RCSD budget process this year has been fraught with delays and complications. Thanks to increases in state aid and federal COVID-19 stimulus funding, RCSD has the opportunity to choose what programs to fund rather than what programs to cut.
Working with a coalition of parents and community members, The Children's Agenda is calling for greater investments in student mental health and more transparency about how district funds will be spent.
The district's plans do appear to make important investments in mental health and restorative practices, but changes to the format of the budget proposal make it difficult to know exactly how many and which students will benefit.
It is crucial the community has adequate information to shape the priorities for next year and beyond. We are calling on all Rochester residents to engage with the budget process and speak up about what your children, family and community expect from the district.
Pediatrician & Senior Advisor to TCA, Jeff Kaczoworski who leads our Medicaid advocacy.
Supporting Child Health
The largest and most diverse group of New Yorkers who are insured through Medicaid are children. In New York, Medicaid covers:
Yet, the current proposal for how to use the $13.5 billion federal Medicaid waiver makes barely any reference to child health or to the crisis in youth mental health our communities are facing.
This matters because the waiver sets priorities for health care innovation in New York for the next five years. Those innovations are intended not as temporary measures, but as the trial of new approaches that will eventually become permanent.
New York children and families need Medicaid to:
We are calling on everyone who is concerned about child health -- especially health professionals and administrators -- to take part in public feedback sessions on May 3rd and May 10th. Tell them the Medicaid waiver must prioritize substantial investments in child and maternal health.
For a quick fact sheet and how to sign up to speak, click here.
To read our full position statement, click here.
We are also organizing a sign-on letter. You can read the letter here. Use the button below to send us an email about signing your organization onto the letter.
Action Changes Things
Rochester residents can join with others in our Action Network to send a message to the RCSD Commissioners and Superintendent calling for greater investment in mental health and restorative supports for students.
ALL students in EVERY school should have access to the supports they need to heal and be successful in school and in life.
Send a message today by clicking on the button below.
TCA In the News
Ebony is parent of a scholar at Edison Tech and two charter school scholars. She is an active member of the The Children's Agenda Very Invested Parents group. She supported the group as they rallied to the Board of Education to have their voices heard. She has moderated meetings with Board of Education Commissioners, asking them to allocate funds to strengthen mental health supports for youth in schools. She offers up prayer to build peace and security for Rochester's children.
To get involved with our community advocacy group, send a message to Carmen Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (585) 256-2620 ext. 2613.
Thank you, Ebony, for your bold work
on behalf of children!
Episode 12: Larry Marx on Family Voices: Monroe County Parent Poll
Larry is the CEO of The Children’s Agenda and served as co-chair of the Partnership for America's Children, a coalition with members in over 40 states. Larry led our recent effort to commission a statistically representative public opinion poll of Monroe County parents. He joins the show to discuss the poll’s findings and its implications for public policy in our community and throughout New York State.
Justin Murphy on the History of School Segregation in Rochester
Justin Murphy joins the Raising Rochester podcast to discuss his new book, “Your Children are Very Greatly in Danger.” The book is a history of school segregation in Rochester, NY. It chronicles attempts to integrate schools in Rochester, as well as efforts to resist desegregation. Justin is the Education Reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle and has covered Rochester’s schools for the past 8 years.
Larry Marx (TCA), Danielle Jones (Parent), Dan Blumerick (Parent), Ann Marie Stephan (RCN) at press conference advocating for child care funding .
Monroe County Parent Poll (Finger Lakes 1)
$7B Laid Out for Child Care in NYS Budget (WROC)
NYS Budget Boosts Local Child Care Funding (WROC)
How Child Care Invests May Help Your Family (WHEC)
Crisis in the Classroom: The Cost of Child Care (WHAM)
More Families Can Receive Child Care Subsidies (WXXI)
State Funding Boosts Child Care (Post-Journal)
Child Health & Safety
Nearly 10k Child Abuse Referrals Each Year (WROC)
Developmental Disabilities/Kids Can't Wait
Infants and Toddlers Need More Support (WXXI)
Youth Advocates Call for More Funding for Mental Health (WHAM)
Advocacy Organization Calls for More Transparency (Spectrum)
Community Members, Parents Weigh in on RCSD Budget (WHAM)
Parents Want More Support, Greater Transparency (D&C)
Thank You to our Recent Donors!
Edward & Verna Gerbic Family Foundation
Florence M. Muller Foundation
Paul Tremblay • Sarah Liebschutz • Sarah Mittiga
Vincent Esposito • Jen Cathy
Children are young for a short time.
You can make a difference by contributing today.
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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.