An Unequal Distribution of Child Care Vouchers

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).

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New Report – Big Dreams for New York City's Youngest Children: The future of early care and education

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.

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Recommendations & Solutions – Big Dreams for New York’s Youngest Children: The future of early care and education

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.

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Panel - Big Dreams for New York's Youngest Children: The future of early care and education

Presented by the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School in collaboration with the Child Care and Early Education Fund

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.

Youth Justice, Police and NYC’s Neighborhoods

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2014 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM THERESA LANG COMMUNITY AND STUDENT CENTER, ARNHOLD HALL 55 WEST 13TH STREET, 2ND FLOOR [Photo by Andrew Hinderaker]Center for New York City Affairs at The New School presentsa Child Welfare Watch forum Co-sponsored by the New York Juvenile Justice Initiative

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

Moderated by:

  • 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.

LGBTQ Homeless Youth Undercount?

As January came to a close, city and state governments and volunteers nationwide set out to count the number of homeless people living on their streets. As Sarah Goodyear reports in Atlantic Cities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning young people are likely underrepresented by a large margin in most of these local and national efforts. Mary Cunningham, a senior research associate of the Urban Institute, estimates LGBTQ young people could make up as much as 40 percent of all homeless teens and young adults. That estimate is reinforced by a study released last November  by the New York City Coalition on the Continuum of Care. Darrick Hamilton of The New School and Lance Freeman of Columbia guided a team of researchers surveying young people at New York City drop-in centers during the city's annual homeless street count. They found that 34 percent were lesbian, gay or bisexual and another 6 percent were transgendered. All but 10 percent of the young people identified and surveyed were black or Latino. Two thirds had run away from home before age 18, and one-third said physical, mental or sexual abuse was one reason for their homelessness.

Most had been homeless for a long period of time -- the median was two years. Yet almost half had at some point earned a high school diploma.

The findings of one-night, point-in-time surveys are not necessarily generalizable. The Urban Institute aims to strengthen data about homeless youth using the Youth Count! Project, in order to help cities better target services, schooling, health care and housing. More info on the project can be found here.

Child Welfare Watch News Digest - December 12, 2013

Here's a roundup of this week's news on low-income children, youth and their families:

This week, The New York Times published a remarkable series documenting the lives of an 11-year-old girl named Dasani and her homeless family in Brooklyn. The complete series is available here.

In Governing magazine, John Buntin offers a deep look at the career of William Bratton, Mayor-elect de Blasio’s choice for New York City police commissioner. Bratton is widely known for transforming the NYPD during his short stint as commissioner from 1994 to 1996. Buntin highlights Bratton’s successes as Commissioner of the Los Angeles Police Department in recent years.

  • Center Director Andrew White recently appeared on KCRW's nationally syndicated radio program, To the Point, last week to discuss the Bratton appointment. Audio is available here.

Efforts to raise the minimum wage are gaining attention in cities across the country. On The Atlantic Cities site, Richard Florida makes the case for a local minimum wage. “Given the substantial differences in housing and living costs across U.S. cities and metros, a single minimum wage makes little sense. Workers need much more to get by in San Francisco or New York than in smaller, less expensive cities”.

The Bloomberg Administration is set to close two immunization clinics serving low-income communities in the Bronx and Queens. While dozens of alternative clinics are available in these boroughs, the Corona clinic sits in the community board with the highest share of foreign-born residents in the city and treats clients who speak a wide range of languages and represent a variety of cultures. Read more here on the blog of the NYC Independent Budget Office.

FosterClub, the national network of young people in foster care, recognized 100 Young Leaders for their resilience and commitment for improving foster care.

Join Rise Magazine’s "I’m Reading for Rise" campaign. Between now and December 19, post a photo of yourself reading Rise Magazine and make a donation here.

  • In October, Pia Footman, a parent and editorial assistant at Rise, spoke at the Center’s forum on the impact of poverty and chronic stress on early childhood development. See an interview with Pia Footman or watch the full forum here. Download the most recent issue of the Center's Child Welfare Watch here.

Child Welfare Watch News Digest -- November 26, 2013

Here’s a roundup of this week’s news on low-income children, youth and their families: New York City family court hours will be extended following an NBC4 investigative report exposing trauma to children who were placed in foster care before parents accused of abuse or neglect had a chance to defend themselves. The decision to limit judges’ hours was a result of funding cuts affecting the state’s judiciary. Under the new policy, judges will remain on-call on Friday afternoons and around holidays in order to hear cases that may come up. View the NBC4 report on the new policy here.  Read our own coverage here.

The Center for Law and Social Policy released Promote Family Engagement, a new resource highlighting research on the importance of family engagement in child care and early education programs. Promote Family Engagement is part of CLASP’s “Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care” project, an ongoing effort to link research to policy ideas to help states make the best decisions for infants and toddlers in child care. Read the research summary here.

A recent report by the National Center for Children in Poverty found that only 42 percent of percent of eligible students participate in Head Start. Despite increases in federal funding, states struggle to fund Head Start programs. As a result, thousands of children across the country remain on waiting lists.  Read the full report here.


  • December 4 - Choosing Leaders for a New Era. Join the Center for New York City Affairs for a post-election roundtable discussion including behind-the-scenes stories direct from the campaign teams and analysts. This forum will examine the mayoral, comptroller and public advocate races. RSVP here.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Child Welfare Watch News Digest -- October 31, 2013

Here's a roundup of this week's news on low-income children, youth and their families:

  • Represent Magazine’s fall issue features new stories by foster youth, including one young woman’s struggles as she aged out of foster care and transitioned to being on her own.

  • In The New York Times’ Fixes column, David Bornstein examines toxic stress in children and how we can protect them from its effects. “What the science is telling us now is how experience gets into the brain as it’s developing its basic architecture,” explains Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. “These insights provide an opportunity to think about new ways we might try to reduce the academic achievement gap and health disparities — and not just do the same old things.” (For Child Welfare Watch's recent report on toxic stress and New York's youngest children, click here.)

  • Nicholas Kristof’s October 27 column highlighted the multiple benefits of early childhood education, acknowledging  that “growing mountains of research suggest that the best way to address American economic inequality, poverty and crime is...early education programs.”

  • In “Out of Foster Care, Into College,” Michael Winerip chronicles foster youth in college and the support programs colleges that are helping them succeed.

  • A new study published in Developmental Science shows that language discrepancies between children of wealthier parents and their low-income counterparts begins even earlier. According to the study, the language gap can be observed in children as young as 18 months old, much earlier than had been previously observed.


  • November 12 - Mathematica Policy Research will host a forum on housing supports for youth aging out of foster care. The forum is being held in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • November 13 - The federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will meet to discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its implications for adolescent and young adult populations, including youth transitioning from juvenile justice and child welfare systems.