At The Children's Agenda we work at multiple levels of government -- from the Rochester City School District to the federal government. We also work on multiple issues that impact children -- early childhood education and development, Pre-K to Grade 12 education, child health and poverty, and racial equity. Consequently, there is always movement happening.
When one campaign is ramping up, others are running full steam ahead, and still others are winding down. This month is a prime example --
Speaking boldly and effectively requires that we be agile. We must plan long-term and respond in the moment. We need to collaborate and maintain our independence. We have to lead even as we follow. Keep reading to get an inside look at how advocacy happens and how YOU can be a part of making smart choices for kids.
BUT FIRST -- Take 3 minutes to send 3 letters using the 3 links below.
Tell the Governor and your representatives to:
Invest in the child care workforce so kids have consistency, parents have predictability and early childhood educators are paid fairly
Final Push: New York State Budget
The New York state budget is made up of 10 separate bills. Our priority focus is on:
While the budget is supposed to be passed by April 1, it will be late this year as intense negotiations between the Governor, Assembly and Senate continue. While most of what kids need is in the Assembly and Senate proposals, we have to make sure those allocations don't get whittled away.
Flooding offices with calls and letters is how we make sure kids are prioritized in the budget. You can call the Governor's office at any time and leave a message telling her what you want to see for kids. Be specific and remember to state that you are a New York state resident and what town or city you live in.
Press 3, then press 1
Leave a message
Brigit, Shannon & Brittany studying Senate and Assembly budget proposals the day they were released
Pete talking with child care partners about child care funding for workforce compensation
County Executive Adam Bello & Wyatt before press conference urging Governor to increase Early Intervention rates
At the Same Time: Youth Mental Health
While state budget advocacy is running full speed, we also ran our third poll of Monroe County parents this month. 600 parents were contacted by phone or text, in English and Spanish, and asked about the experiences of their children, challenges they face, and solutions they support. This kind of county-wide polling is unique to The Children's Agenda and is a powerful tool for advocacy and improving services for children.
The troubling news is that 40% of parents say at least one of their children has struggled with their emotional or mental health since they returned to in-person schooling. Too often, children and teenagers are unable to get the support they need due to barriers in our mental health system -- 89% of parents identified three or more barriers to services.
The good news is that parents have wide community support networks they can turn to when they need advice about their child's emotional health. Not surprisingly, it is people parents are closest to whom they are most likely to turn to for help, including family and friends. This means our entire community needs to be ready to identify when kids are struggling, support them and their families, and connect them to services and activities that help. You can help by bringing training to your workplace or community group. BIPOC/PEEEEEEK and Mental Health First Aid are two programs we recommend.
The parent polls belong to the community. If you would like us to facilitate a conversation with a group you are part of about what parents said and how you can use the data, contact Stephanie Townsend at (585) 256-2620 ext. 2600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 1: Go through 240 pages of data provided to us by Global Strategy Group
Step 2: Distill the data and find the story in it
Step 3: Get feedback from community members who are part of our Polling Advisory Group
Step 4: Share the findings with the public through the press, social media and community conversations
Gearing Up: RCSD Budget
While we are in the final days of advocating on the state budget, we are in the first days of advocating on the Rochester City School District budget. The budget was released last week and our staff are diving into it now. Budgets are value statements, so they are looking for how the proposed budget reflects values of academic excellence, equity and development of the whole child.
Mark your calendars now for key dates in the budget process and be ready to participate:
Eamonn working on the RCSD budget analysis.
Last week Larry, Eamonn and Carmen met with Superintendent Peluso at RCSD central office, across the street from us.
Carmen and Isabel gearing up for the April 19th rally.
This month's parent spotlight shines on Lynn Mordenga! Lynn, her husband Daniel and their son Timothy have been advocating for the state to invest in shortening wait times for Early Intervention services. Timothy has been waiting for more than a year for speech therapy. Services are required by law to start within 30 days of a treatment plan being agreed to, but because of the shortage of Early Intervention providers, kids like Timothy are waiting.
Lynn has been ready on a moment's notice to talk with the press about what families like hers are facing. Over the past six weeks, Lynn has done interviews with the NY Daily News, Spectrum News, spoken at a press conference held by County Executive Adam Bello, and traveled to Albany to advocate directly with legislators.
“Early Intervention is so crucial for Timothy's development because he’s missing developmental milestones. It’s hard and frustrating to be waiting for services that can help him. I know there are a lot of other things that come into the state budget, but I think Early Intervention is crucial because it starts at the foundation. Services now will alleviate problems later on when kids move into school. It sets the foundation for the future success of kids.”
Help us widen the circle! If you are a parent or family member who wants to advocate for kids, contact Carmen Torres at (585) 256-2620 ext. 2613 or email@example.com
Tens of thousands of NY young children with developmental delays are not getting critical services (NY Daily News)
Coalition calls for Early Intervention services funding in New York state (Spectrum)
Children's advocates call for reimbursement rate hike for Early Intervention services (WHEC)
Some New York schools providing alternative to Regents exams (Spectrum)
As test scores plummet comptroller says New York state's fourth graders need immediate support (WXXI)
Albany should help families by expanding child care benefits (NY Daily News)
Groups call for increased funding to fight child poverty in NY (Spectrum)
Senator Cooney and advocates calling for more funding for families with children (Minority Reporter)
Youth Mental Health
New poll from The Children's Agenda spotlights parent concerns on youth mental health (WROC)
Survey: Parents say kids lack mental health services in Monroe County schools (WXXI)
Children's Agenda releases latest poll about youth mental health in Monroe County (WHAM)
Poll: Parents say children in Monroe County schools lack mental health services (Local Today)
Need grows for mental health services for young New Yorkers (Spectrum)
New data show better mental health services needed for young people in Finger Lakes (FingerLakes1)
Thank You to our Recent Donors!
Carl Hoffman and Dr. Betsy Naumburg • Carmel Merrill • Gloria Forgione • Janet B. Smith • John Nelson • Joe Simson • Rev. Louise Johnson-Toth and Gregory Toth • Drs. Marc and Rebecca Lavender • Marjory Henninger • Paul Tremblay and Dr. Jennifer West • Ray Samson • Sarah Mittiga
Greater Rochester Health Foundation
Rochester Area Community Foundation
Special Thanks to
ESL Charitable Foundation
for funding the Monroe County Parent Poll
Children are young for a short time.
You can make a difference by contributing today.
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The Children’s Agenda1 South Washington St., Suite 120Rochester, NY 14614Find Us With Google Maps(585) 256-2620
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.