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After a series of widely publicized child deaths in 2016, New York City's child welfare system continues to struggle under a glut of new cases.

In response to a surge in child abuse and neglect reports, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) has drastically increased the number of families it brings into the system, filing more cases in Family Court and placing more children in foster care.

But the resulting system-overload, they say, increases the risk of breaking up families unnecessarily, and may make children less safe.



No Heavy Lifting Required: New York City's Unambitious School 'Diversity Plan

Earlier this month, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) released a long-awaited plan designed to increase diversity in the city's public schools. The Center for New York City Affairs has crunched the numbers on these goals and found that they would not reflect meaningful, systemic change.


Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced two new plans that could determine the future of the country’s largest child care system for poor and low-income families. First, the Mayor wants to expand his well-regarded “Pre-K for All” program for 4-year-olds (also known as universal pre-K) to provide free preschool to 3-year-olds as well. The projected multi-year expansion is called “3-K for All.” 

Also huge—EarlyLearnNYC, the City’s massive subsidized early education system, will move from its current home at the Administration for Children’s Services to the City’s Department of Education (DOE), adding children as young as 6-weeks-old to the department's portfolio. 

Will the new plans further disrupt a child care system still reeling from challenges that arose from pre-K expansion, including a roughly 20 percent decline in enrollment of 4-year-olds since the expansion? Or might they present a key opportunity for the DOE to identify and address those challenges? 



Adrift in NYC: Family Homelessness and the Struggle to Stay Together

As family homelessness in New York City continues to climb and the City fights to open 90 new shelters, a new report by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School offers insight into how family shelters are missing opportunities to avert a hidden but common catastrophe of homelessness: families breaking apart.

The report, Adrift in NYC: Family Homelessness and the Struggle to Stay Together,” sheds light on the academic research showing that homelessness and family breakup go hand in hand. Partners separate from partners. Children separate from parents – both through informal arrangements with friends and relatives as well as through mandated foster care placements. And what begins as a temporary arrangement often proves lasting. Family members who do stay together often do so against a relentless backdrop of fear that, having lost their homes, they will next lose one another.



Across the city, social service agencies are increasingly employing staff who’ve themselves had run-ins with the law as “Credible Messengers” to other court-involved youth. It’s a recognition of the powerful positive impact mentors who’ve had similar life experiences can have in changing young lives. 

To foster this important work, the Center for New York City Affairs is pleased to announce the launch of the Institute for Transformative Mentoring (ITM). ITM is a training program focused on the professional and personal development of such Credible Messengers. It’s a semester-long course, developed with Credible Messengers and the help of training and education experts and foundation and non-profit leaders, that’s designed to enhance the practical skills of Credible Messengers and also further the healing of their own lives. ITM will support the work of this unique and growing workforce.  

For more information, click here.

Urban Matters

‘It’s a Pivotal Time in Child Welfare’: A Q&A with Parent Advocate Joyce McMillan

The Center for New York City Affairs spotlighted recent dramatic surges in reports concerning child safety – which has led to more investigations of child safety, more families with child welfare cases, and more child removals to foster care. 

For perspective, Kendra Hurley, a senior editor at the Center for New York City Affairs, turned to Joyce McMillan, director of programming and a parent advocate at the Child Welfare Organizing Project, which for years has spoken out about what they see as the inherent racism and destructiveness in child welfare systems.  


Urban Matters

More Jobs, Rising Wages, Broader Advances: Seven Indicators of New York’s Economic Health

By James A. Parrott, Ph.D.

New York City is in the eighth year of recovery from the 2008-09 Great Recession. This period has been one of historically strong job growth, declining unemployment, and rising minimum wages that are starting to translate into real wage and income gains.

Here are seven views of New York City’s economic health in mid-2017.