A Welcome Letter from Marian Wright Edelman
Founder and President Emerita, Children’s Defense Fund
2020 ADVOCACY ISSUE: The time is now to prioritize the needs of young children in New York with developmental delays and disabilities in the State’s FY 2021-22 budget. The Early Intervention (EI) and Preschool Special Education (PSE) programs must receive additional dollars to make up for missed therapy and services, get the systems back on track, and make progress toward providing effective, on-time services.
This vulnerable group of children and their families has been shortchanged during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Though there is no statewide data available to track what has happened to children eligible for EI and PSE during the pandemic, anecdotal reports and parent surveys indicate that telehealth services have benefitted some children but not all. Behavior problems and regression in skills are a major concern of parents. Some families have not received any services at all.
Six months without therapy and support is devastating to a 1-year-old with Down Syndrome, or a 3-year-old with multiple disabilities, or a preschooler with Autism.
If we do not address the needs of these vulnerable children, their healthy development will be compromised. In addition to this human cost, future tax dollars will be spent paying for more costly special education programs, medical treatment, and other expensive remediation as these children grow older. New York’s children need bold action to ensure they have access to the therapies and services they need.
They cannot wait any longer.
Click here for a 2 ½ minute video perfect for adult education or discussion groups who are interested in learning more about the local shortage of special education services for young children, and what they can do to help.
Click to download a English version of the Early Intervention/Preschool Special Education fact sheet
Reflection on Lectionary readings by Brigit Hurley (10/26/2020)
Where are the children? (10/16/2020)
A note on Childrens Defense Fund (CDF) resources: “Children’s Sabbath” and “Children’s Interfaith Weekend” are used interchangeably, and mean the same thing. CDF has created interfaith resources on advocacy for children for many years. They generously share these at no cost to congregations or groups who celebrate the Children’s Sabbath or engage in faith-based child advocacy. Keep in mind that while CDF highlights a national children’s issue every year (e.g., poverty, gun violence), here in the Rochester area we select our own local or New York State-based issue, so some of CDF’s materials might not be relevant to your activities on the Children’s Interfaith Weekend.
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 disparities and trauma.