NYC Families, Providers, and Advocates Head to City Hall to Expand After-School & Protect Summer Programs

NYC Families, Providers, and Advocates Head to City Hall to Expand After-School & Protect Summer Programs

34,000 middle school students again at risk of losing access to summer camp

New York, NY – March 28, 2019 – Families, providers, and advocates rallied at City Hall today to urge Mayor de Blasio to expand after-school programs for elementary school students and provide stable baselined funding for summer programs for middle school students. Parents across the city rely on these programs to provide continued learning and keep their children safe while they work or attend school. After-school and summer camp also help to close the achievement gap, ensure children have access to healthy meals, and prevent summer learning loss. Expanding existing after-school programs would enable elementary school students and their families to access these benefits.

The attendees also expressed outrage that Mayor continues to put summer camp for middle school youth in jeopardy. Since the summer of 2015, Mayor de Blasio has annually threatened to cut up to $20.35 million in funding for summer camp programming for 34,000 middle school students enrolled in after-school programs. Families and advocates continue to urge the de Blasio Administration to restore funding for summer programs in the Executive Budget so that providers have time to hire staff, secure space, and prepare.

In previous years, the City Council has successfully pushed the de Blasio administration to fund summer camp programs, but this budget dance creates uncertainty and leaves both parents and providers scrambling at the last minute. 

If the Mayor refuses to provide funding for summer camp and after-school, low-income families will be hit the hardest, as they are more likely to be working and unable to afford privately funded programs. Of parents that utilize after-school or summer camp, 91 percent rely on the programs to go to work or school. Sixty-four percent of parents said they rely on summer programs for free, healthy meals for their children.

“Mayor de Blasio has consistently failed to address the need to fund summer camp and expand after-school, leaving working families who rely on these programs in flux,” said Susan Stamler, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Houses. “If Mayor de Blasio is truly committed to educating the city’s youth, he will fund summer camp and expand after-school to ensure that young New Yorkers have the opportunity to grow and learn in a positive and nurturing environment.”

“After-school and summer programs are widely known to strengthen a child’s learning in the classroom, prevent learning loss, and help young people develop life-long skills and friendships that put them on a positive path towards the future. Parents rely on these programs not only to provide safe, affordable activities for their children when school is not in session, but also to ensure that parents can continue to work. We call on the administration to expand on the success of its SONYC program for middle schoolers by investing in universal access to after-school for all New York City public school students. We also urge the city to return to the original model of after-school programming, which included summer camp as a fundamental component of the program,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York.

“The research is clear – rigorous, enriching summer activities help engage children’s minds when school is out,” said Children’s Aid President and CEO Phoebe Boyer. “Summer programs are particularly important in under-resourced communities, which will be hit the hardest by the potential loss of 34,000 summer camp seats. We must safeguard critical summer and after-school programming. We implore the city to restore and baseline this funding.”

“UJA urges the administration to include funding for SONYC summer programs and COMPASS after school programs in the Executive Budget. These programs are critical for the children and families who rely on these after school and summer programs for safe, affordable educational opportunities,” said Louisa Chafee, Senior Vice President for Public Policy and External Relations, UJA-Federation of NY.


The Campaign for Children is a coalition of 150 early childhood education and after-school advocacy and provider organizations, including Citizens’ Committee for Children, Children’s Aid, United Neighborhood Houses, Good Shepherd Services, FPWA, the Day Care Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, and the YMCA of Greater New York. 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 two consecutive years, which then were successfully baselined. The Campaign also advocated for the expansion of Universal Pre-K and middle school after-school programs in NYC and saved summer programs for over 34,000 children.

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