In the first seven months of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, the NYPD made more arrests for petty crimes than it did last year under former mayor Michael Bloomberg—and the racial breakdown of those arrests remains the same, according to numbers released yesterday by the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP). From January through July of 2014, police made more than 137,000 arrests for misdemeanor offenses, 86 percent of which involved people of color, according to data obtained by PROP from the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services. Last year’s number during the same period was just above 136,000, with 87 percent involving racial minorities.Read More
Each year, the city gives out thousands of vouchers to help low-income families pay for daycare and afterschool programs. In theory, these vouchers should be available to working families across the city. However, as of the beginning of 2014, nearly 50 percent of the city’s available low-income vouchers were used in just two Brooklyn neighborhoods—each home to politically powerful Orthodox Jewish communities, according to an analysis of data obtained from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).Read More
In October 2012, New York City launched EarlyLearnNYC, a plan that would upend its system for providing subsidized child care to working class and low-income families. The goal was to take the city’s sprawling assortment of child care programs—ranging from subsidized babysitting services to nationally accredited preschools—and blend them into a unified, holistic spectrum of early education services for children from 6 weeks through 4 years old.Read More
RECOMMENDATIONS AND SOLUTIONS By establishing full-day, universal pre-kindergarten for New York City’s 4-year-olds, Mayor Bill de Blasio has demonstrated a powerful commitment to early childhood education. His administration now has the opportunity to broaden that vision and strengthen the city’s subsidized programs for early care and education serving the city’s youngest residents, children aged 0 to 3.Read More
In October 2012, New York City put a plan into action that would upend its system for providing subsidized child care to working class and low-income families. The Bloomberg administration set out to take the city’s large and unwieldy assortment of early care and education programs—ranging from subsidized babysitting services to nationally accredited preschools—and blend them into a unified, holistic system serving children aged 6 weeks to 4 years old. Officials intended for this new system to spur improvements in quality, giving children the kind of rich learning experiences that would set them on track for educational success for years to come.Read More
With the creation of EarlyLearnNYC in 2012, New York City reinvented its system for subsidized early care and education for children from low-income families. Officials sought to ensure high quality, developmentally smart care--but a string of financial and logistical hurdles posed difficulties for many of the nonprofit organizations that run these programs. Today, some thrive while others have lost their contracts or struggle to remain open. Now, as the city launches an expanded Pre-K network for 4-year-olds, what will happen to subsidized child care for younger kids? Can the reform vision of EarlyLearn be put fully into action, and sustained? A conversation with experts in the field, and the release of findings from a new Center for New York City Affairs report on early care and education.
- Steve Barnett,director, National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University
- Maria Benejan, associate commissioner, Division of Early Care and Education at New York City Administration for Children's Services
- Takiema Bunche-Smith, education director, Brooklyn Kindergarten Society
- Gregory Brender, policy analyst, United Neighborhood Houses
- Maria Contreras-Collier, executive director, Cypress Hills Child Care Corporation
- Abigail Kramer, associate editor, Center for New York City Affairs
Click here for Participant Bios.
Access and download the Executive Summary, Findings and Recommendations.
Families who experience homelessness are more likely to have their children placed in foster care than other low-income families, reports City Limits in a profile about a new housing program. Run by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Keeping Families Together (KFT) is one of the country’s first supportive housing programs created with the explicit mission of keeping kids out of foster care. KFT provides families with permanent housing and the option to receive services that can help them create safe, healthy environments for their children. Families eligible for KFT must be chronically homeless and parents must suffer from substance abuse, mental illness, or both. However, sobriety testing and service participation is not a requirement of the program, which relies on staff who respect residents’ autonomy while supporting their goals.
KFT currently houses 26 families in six privately operated sites in New York City, where 22,0000 children are homeless each night. So far, the program is showing promising results. While a small number of families have withdrawn from KFT voluntarily, often due to a need for more intensive services, the families who stick with it have seen a marked decrease in child welfare involvement. KFT families had 46 cases of indicated child abuse and neglect cases in the three years before they entered the program. In the three years after moving in, families had only 13 new indicated cases of abuse or neglect cases, with none of those cases leading to new children entering foster care.
There’s been a sea change in New York City juvenile justice policy and police practices over the last two years: Courts now place most teen delinquents in city programs close to home, rather than upstate; and police have sharply reduced the use of stop and frisk, a tactic that overwhelmingly targeted young men of color. Policymakers in the new administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio seek to drive change even further, to improve police-community relations and strengthen juvenile justice programs while also securing public safety. How does the administration intend to pursue its objectives? What do community leaders and others believe needs to change? Will young people and community residents gain a meaningful voice in both policy and practice? And can better data collection and data sharing help shape new solutions, both inside and outside the walls of government?
A conversation with:
- Gladys Carrion, commissioner, NYC Administration for Children's Services
- Joanne Jaffe, bureau chief, New York Police Department
- Chino Hardin, field trainer/organizer, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions
- Gabrielle Prisco, director, Juvenile Justice Project, Correctional Association of New York
- Chris Watler, project director, Harlem Community Justice Center at Center for Court Innovation
- Andrew White, director, Center for New York City Affairs, The New School
This forum is made possible thanks to the generous support of The Prospect Hill Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Additional funding for the Child Welfare Watch project is provided by the Child Welfare Fund, the Ira W. DeCamp Foundation and the Booth Ferris Foundation.
With incarceration rates in the U.S. still near an all-time high, the transition from prison back to the community is a remarkably common occurrence in low-income communities. In 2010, 700,000 men and women nationwide left prison, writes Harvard sociologist Bruce Western, “and incarceration rates for male high school dropouts under age 35 reached 12 percent for whites and 35 percent for African Americans.” Western’s most recent paper, published online as part of a Kennedy School of Government seminar series on inequality, describes the sometimes counter-intuitive findings of his work on the Boston Reentry Study and points to some of the most fundamental challenges facing society and government today.
Western and his colleagues describe some of the misconceptions about how people return to life in the community, and most importantly, how people adapt—or fail to adapt—to life outside the prison walls. They followed 122 newly-released prisoners during their first months after release, and found that 44 percent were able to find employment and some degree of stability. Their qualitative interviews also showed the degree to which, for many of the subjects, extreme material insecurity was accompanied by anxiety and feelings of isolation.
During the first two months after incarceration, about 40 percent relied heavily on mostly female relatives—mothers, sisters, and grandmothers—for financial support and housing. For the former prisoners, “connecting with family, finding housing, and a means of subsistence” were all essential for a successful transition. Not everyone achieves it, especially those who are most isolated from their families--particularly those over age 45, or who had histories of drug addictions and mental illness.
In other words, family matters a lot—and the support of female relatives appears to be integral to a more stable return, especially for younger men and women. Perhaps, Western writes, there is a role for government and the civic sector to play in more intentionally supporting these families, in order to promote lasting stability.
According to a study in the upcoming March 2014 issue of Pediatrics, higher rates of child maltreatment are statistically correlated with higher levels of income inequality in counties across the United States. The study compared data on income inequality in more than 3,100 counties nationwide, and found a close association with rates of abuse and neglect as tracked by federal government data. Pediatrics is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Child abuse and neglect have long been linked to poverty. What’s new in this study is the finding that inequality itself may be a factor to consider in addressing abuse and neglect. The lead author, Professor John Eckenrode of Cornell, and his colleagues controlled for a wide array of variables, and found that the statistical effect of inequality “was stronger for counties with moderate to high levels of child poverty.” Nonetheless, across the US, counties with higher rates of income inequality were significantly more likely to have higher rates of abuse and neglect.
“To our knowledge, our study is the first to specifically examine income inequality as an important risk factor associated with child maltreatment,” they write.
Previously, researchers have estimated that nearly 3 million children in the Unites States are physically, sexually or emotionally abused or physically neglected each year. Others have shown the direct linkages between abuse and neglect and long-term mental health problems, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior and criminal behavior, and even lifelong poverty. In the paper to be published in Pediatrics, Eckenrode argues that comprehensive efforts to reduce abuse and neglect may require “advocacy and action at the societal level aimed at reducing income inequality.”