C4C Testifies at Council Committee On Finance & Youth Services
CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN TESTIFIES AT COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON FINANCE & YOUTH SERVICES
Applauds End of Yearly Budget Dance & Cites Campaign For Children Transition Plan As Roadmap For Developing A High-Quality, Universal System of Early Childhood and After-School Programs
Testimony Also Highlights Issues In Need Of Quick Resolution To Maintain Program Stability
New York, NY – Campaign for Children, the coalition of over 150 New York City provider and advocacy organizations that has worked together over the past two years to preserve, restore, baseline and now expand resources for child care and after-school programs, testified today at the Council Committee on Finance & Youth Services Hearing.
In their testimony, Campaign members applauded the end to the yearly budget dance and cited the Campaign for Children Transition Plan as a roadmap for developing a high-quality, universal system of early childhood and after-school programs. The Transition Plan can be found at: http://goo.gl/2y9GnA
Members also highlighted immediate concerns facing the system that without quick fixes could lead to system instability. This includes funding rate discrepancies between Out of School Time programs supported by different funding streams, missing summer program allocations in the FY2015 budget and expiring one-year contracts in need of extensions.
The following are excerpts from today’s Campaign for Children testimony:
Gregory Brender of United Neighborhood Houses
“We are greatly encouraged by the growing recognition of the importance of after-school. Mayor de Blasio made expanding after-school part of his campaign’s centerpiece proposal and won a mandate from the voters of New York City to ensure that every middle school student has access to a high-quality after-school program. We believe that all New York City’s children deserve access to high quality early childhood education and after-school programs from Kindergarten through High School.
UNH strongly supports New York City’s plan to expand after-school programs for middle school students through a modest, targeted tax increase. Many young people and parents from UNH member agencies have visited Albany, made phone calls and organized in their communities to support New York City’s plan. We are thrilled that many members of the City Council have been lobbying for the plan and that the resolution supporting New York City’s plan passed with an overwhelming margin.
However, New York City’s plan for expanding middle school after-school programs should be a part of a larger continuum of services for children and youth that starts with early childhood education and goes through high school.
We also face immediate challenges in the Out-of-School Time system which is going through a dramatic transition. We believe that this transition will be successful and look forward to working with the City Council and administration to make sure it is.”
Michelle Yanche of Good Shepard Services:
“The Campaign for Children’s Transition Plan outlines specific recommendations that the City can take over time to develop a high-quality, universal system of early childhood education and after-school programs. The City’s plan to expand UPK and after-school programs for middle school students is an important step in realizing the universal system of our vision. GSS is a strong supporter of UPKNYC because it moves the needle toward a stable, high-quality system that can better meet the great need for after-school.
The Campaign for Children’s Transition Plan frames the full set of recommendations in the categories of Quality, Investment and Expansion. For our vision in all three of these areas to become a reality requires a fundamental infusion of long-term dedicated resources into the child care and after-school systems. It is primarily for this reason that we have given our full support to the Mayor’s plan and have lent our voice to efforts in Albany to call for New York City to have the authorization needed to create a dedicated funding stream to support this critical work of system expansion. Without dedicated funding for these programs, our energies remain locked in the annual budget dance to fight for the same pot of limited dollars and deny families and their children the ability to count child care or after-school program from one year to the next.”
Moira Flavin of Citizens’ Committee for Children:
“CCC is pleased to testify before the City Council at this exciting time for youth services in New York City. After years of advocating for the restoration of the same funding and slots for youth services year after year, we are now here to talk about how we can strengthen and expand New York City’s youth services system.
CCC, along with our colleagues in the Campaign for Children, have created a transition plan for the City premised on the belief that every New York City child should have access to high-quality, affordable early childhood education and after-school programs.
The City’s plan to provide full day universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) to every four-year old and after-school to every middle school student is a large step towards achieving this vision. We look forward to working with the new Administration and the City Council to make this plan a reality.
In addition to the new after-school programming due to come online this fall as a result of the City’s plan, the City currently provides after-school programs to nearly 150,000 elementary, middle and high school students in OST, Beacons and Cornerstone programs.
While millions of dollars has been baselined into DYCD’s budget for OST, Beacons and Cornerstone, it remains unclear to us how the baselined funds will continue to be used to ensure capacity, quality and continuity of the after-school programs currently serving children. Notably, all of the contracts for programs previously funded by the City Council end on June 30, 2014. This includes funds for 36,533 OST slots and 7 Beacon programs. In addition, the OST programs funded by the City Council (that are now baselined) are receiving a lower rate than DYCD’s other OST programs. Furthermore, approximately 45 NYCHA Cornerstone programs are still funded with one-year funding.”
ABOUT CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN:
Campaign for Children is a partnership between the Emergency Coalition to Save Children Care and the New York City Youth Alliance, which first came together in 2011 to stave off severe budget cuts proposed for child care and after-school programs. Together, the 150 members of the coalition include many of the advocates, civic leaders and early childhood education and after-school providers in New York City.
The Campaign’s successful advocacy saved child care and after-school programs for more than 47,000 children by securing more than $120 million of one-year City Council discretionary funds for the past two years, which then were successfully baselined. While the Campaign, the providers, and notably the children and the families remain incredibly grateful that these programs were saved through extensive advocacy efforts, the critical systems upon which children and families rely cannot remain dependent on annual advocacy efforts to survive.
Every child in New York City deserves access to safe, high-quality, and affordable and dependable early childhood education and after-school programs. New York City’s newly elected Mayor, as well as the Comptroller, Public Advocate and City Council members, must have a plan to create high-quality, sustainable, fully-funded early education and after-school systems for New York’s children and families. Enacting this plan must be a top priority for the new Administration. The Campaign for Children seeks to be a partner in this endeavor, but also to hold the Administration accountable for its implementation.