Seven Beacon Programs Will Shut Their Doors – First Effects of Mayor’s Cuts to Child Care and After-School Programs Felt
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 23, 2012
First Effects of Mayor’s Cuts to Child Care and After-School Programs Felt: Seven Beacon Programs Will Shut Their Doors
Nationally Celebrated Youth Programs Serving More Than 6,000 New Yorkers Will be Forced to Close Come July
New York, NY – Following notification by the Department of Youth and Community Development that seven Beacon programs will close their doors in July to the more than 6,000 New Yorkers they serve, advocates, parents, and staff called on the Mayor to restore funding to these nationally celebrated youth programs, and fully fund child care and after-school programs in his Executive Budget.
“With today’s announcement that seven Beacon programs will close by July, we are already seeing the devastating effects of the Bloomberg administration’s cuts to child care and after-school programs,” said the Campaign for Children spokesperson Emma Woods. “These closures mean that thousands of young people will be left without the educational, enriching after-school environments that help them succeed in school, and thousands of parents will be forced to scramble to find safe places for their children while they’re at work. This is just the tip of the iceberg – with the Mayor’s proposed cuts to child care and after-school programs, more than 47,000 children and families face this same crisis this year. Mayor Bloomberg must restore funding for child care and after-school programs that children and working families depend on.”
Instituted in 1991, NYC’s 80 Beacon programs serve communities’ needs utilizing a neighborhood-based approach. Beacons operate after school, on weekends, school holidays, and throughout the summer, serving mainly middle school youth. The Beacon model is recognized nationally as a premier program for positive youth development and has been replicated in over 10 cities around the country. Beacon programs work to prevent drop-outs in high school by focusing on academic enhancement, life skills, career awareness/school-to-work transition, civic engagement/community building, recreation/health and fitness and culture/art. Each Beacon Program serves over 800 children, youth and adults.
The Beacon programs that will close in July are:
Phipps Community Development at IS 192 in the Bronx
Heart Share Human Services at IS 259 in Brooklyn
Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center at PS 198 in Manhattan
Hudson Guild at MS 414 in Manhattan
Queens Community House at JHS 190 in Queens
Samuel Field Y at MS 158 in Queens
Tottenville High School Jewish Community Center of Staten Island in Staten Island
“When our Beacon program closes, 1,200 children and adults will no longer have access to the academic enrichment, career readiness, and community building services they rely on,” said Wanda Wooten of Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center. “In the East Harlem and Yorkville communities we serve, 70% of students qualify for free school lunch and families cannot afford to pay for the type of programs Beacon offers – programs that help young people succeed in school, and that allow parents to keep their jobs while their children have a safe and enriching place to go. Cutting funding for these essential programs is a misguided policy that will have a devastating long-term impact on our communities and the city.”
ABOUT THE CUTS
After years of cuts that have dramatically decreased working families’ access to children’s and youth services, the Mayor is once again proposing devastating cuts to both child care and after-school programs in his FY 2013 budget. The Mayor’s Preliminary Budget, coupled with changes from the EarlyLearn NYC and Out-of-school Time (OST) RFPs, would eliminate 15,900 child care slots and slash after-school program capacity for 31,800 children. All told, more than 47,000 children and their families will lose access to these essential programs. This is the fifth straight year that the Mayor has cut child care and after-school programs. Added to year after year of cuts, the Mayor’s latest proposal will result in 90,000 fewer children having access to these programs than in 2009 – a 61% decrease.
The Bloomberg Administration’s failure to fund these core services is a disturbing departure from its stated desire to make education reforms and economic development the Mayor’s top priorities and the foundation of his legacy. As the Mayor himself recently stated, “what happens after the final school bell of the day rings is as important to students as what goes on in the classrooms.” Both child care and after-school programs provide children with critical educational opportunities that pave the way for future success, and allow parents to maintain jobs and support their families while their children receive safe, affordable care.
The Mayor is taking notable steps to restructure the child care and after-school systems to increase the quality of the programs citywide – but is, at the same time, cutting funding significantly so that the programs will serve a fraction of the children.