As New York's children head back to school, each and every one of us has the responsibility to ensure every child receives a quality education in positive learning environments that support their success. That's why The Children's Agenda advocates for stronger schools that put children first.
Educational success, however, depends not only on what happens in schools. What happens outside of schools is also critical. From Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education services that ensure children who have developmental delays are ready for school to quality after-school and summer learning opportunities for older children -- it takes a village to raise our children.
The Children's Agenda plays a unique role in this endeavor. We:
Read on (and click the links!) for research, advocacy and systems building updates and opportunities to get involved. It takes all of us, together.
Research That Matters
Child care programs have faced unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic. Many programs closed their doors temporarily and some permanently, across the nation and in New York. We analyzed publicly available data by county and ZIP code and compared how many programs were operating and how many children they had the capacity to care for.
From infants and toddlers up through school-age children, the closures have impacted thousands of children.
Child care matters. It allows parents to work (especially mothers) and supports an expanded workforce for employers. It also can support children's educational attainment and outcomes into early adulthood.
The solutions to the child care shortage include all levels of government:
Quality, affordable child care gives children of all ages a safe and nurturing environment where they can learn and thrive.
Policy Director Pete Nabozny explaining county-level data at press conference releasing "Rebuilding Our Future: Child Care Closures in New York During the Pandemic"
has capacity to care for
has capacity to care for
High poverty communities and communities of color
were disproportionately affected.
Advocating for Our Youngest Who Will Grow Into Tomorrow's Leaders
Infants, toddlers and preschoolers across New York are not receiving timely and comprehensive developmental services. The shortage of providers (such as speech, occupational, and physical therapists) is a direct result of chronic underfunding. It is also a violation of federal requirements to provide timely services.
New York must increase equity and access in the Early Intervention system and ensure timely services for children birth - 3 years old with developmental delays and disabilities.
Doing this requires multiple solutions. Two of the pieces The Children's Agenda has been working on are:
The financial cost of increased funding is small compared with the long-term savings when children grow to achieve their full potential. As one parent shared:
"My daughter was born premature. Her doctors noticed early on that her motor skills were delayed. Early Intervention gave her the therapy she needed and taught us how to support her development. Fast forward -- while in high school she earned her black belt in karate and is now thriving in college. Early Intervention set her on the path to be the bright, successful young woman she is today."
But even more than state budgets, the question is -- What is the moral cost if we do not provide for our children?
Take 1 minute and call Governor Hochul today and urge her to sign A.6579/S.5676 into law. Call (518) 474-8390; press 3, then press 1. Here's what to say:
My name is _____ and I live in [city/town]. I am a
I urge Governor Hochul to sign bill A.6579/S.5676 right away to address the severe shortage of Early Intervention providers in New York. Kids can't wait when they need help with speech, feeding, motor skills, or other challenges. Service providers have to be there when kids need them
Thank you for supporting children and families.
Collaborating for Impact
Schools should be places where students are welcomed and supported in their learning and development. But across New York, children as young as kindergarten lose out on instruction because of suspensions.
Too often, suspensions are imposed for normal, youthful, non-violent behaviors. Under state law, students can be suspended for up to 180 days -- an entire school year. Data from across the state show that students of color, especially Black students, are disproportionately impacted.
New York schools must end their reliance on suspensions as the default way to discipline students. Instead, children should be held accountable for their behaviors through age appropriate, restorative and trauma-informed interventions so they can learn from their mistakes.
The Children's Agenda is part of statewide and local coalitions working to:
In the first two years after the Rochester City School District adopted a new code of conduct that included restorative practices, they saw:
drop in suspensions
drop in courses failed by students who were suspended
drop in suspensions for "other disruptive incidents" like wandering halls, fooling around in class, etc.
Parent Leadership Spotlight
Qutisha Britt, mom to 4-year old Azalya Roze
Armett Barnes, owner of Armett's Care & Share Family Daycare
Every issue we work on at The Children's Agenda is driven by what people in our community tell us are the pressing issues for their children and families. This month parent Qutisha Britt and child care provider Armett Barnes shared their experiences of how the pandemic impacted children, parents and child care providers.
Speaking at the press conference where we released Rebuilding Our Future and on WXXI Connections, their stories and insights reminded policymakers that behind the numbers are real children.
If you are a Rochester parent and want to get involved with advocating for changes in laws and policies, send a message to Carmen Torres using the button below or call her at (585) 256-2620 ext. 2613.
Episode 19 – The Path to Universal Child Care
This episode of Raising Rochester was guest hosted by our colleagues at the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy. Hosted by Dede Hill, Director of Policy at the Schuyler Center, she is joined by Maria Whyte, Deputy County Executive of Erie County and Shanita Bowen, Director of Operations for ECE on the Move.
TCA In the News
States Boost Child Care Money as Congressional Effort Stalls (Associated Press, picked up by 55 media outlets in 23 states)
Children's Agenda Calls for Universal Child Care Amid Statewide Shortage (WXXI)
Discussing the Impact of Child Care Closures in New York State (WXXI Connections)
Child Care Infrastructure Further Weakened During Pandemic (Capitol Pressroom)
New York Lost About 10,000 Child Care Slots During the Pandemic (NCPR)
Over 3,000 Child Care Services Have Closed Their Doors in New York (WHAM)
Childcare Providers Have Closed Over 3,000 Locations in New York State (Finger Lakes 1)
Monroe County has Lost 69 Childcare Programs, 1700 Spots (WHEC)
Coalition Produces Analysis on Child Care Spending in New York (Capital Tonight)
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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.