Brushes with the Law: Young New Yorkers, Neighborhoods and the Criminal Justice System

The city has overhauled its juvenile justice system to keep more young people out of confinement and in their communities. In the process, officials, organizers and providers also aim to strengthen families and neighborhoods. How can city government engage communities and tap into the strengths of local groups that work with teens and families?

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Beyond Test Scores: Imagining New Ways to Measure NYC's High Schools

What matters most in high school? Graduation rates and Regents test scores? College-oriented academics, supportive teachers - or extra-curricular activities? All of these things matter to students, but inside information is hard to find. There is also intense debate about what makes for a "good" high school and how this can be measured.

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The Detention Dilemma: Families, Security and Immigrant Rights

Recent reports draw attention to the continuing expansion and privatization of immigrant detention centers and the violation of immigrants’ rights throughout the process of detention and deportation. What are the effects of the current situation on individuals who spend months or years in detention, and on their families?

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Ties That Bind: Reimagining juvenile justice and child welfare for teens, families and communities

The Bloomberg administration is seeking major changes in how the city works with teens in juvenile justice, child protection and foster care. The city would create a complete juvenile justice system in the five boroughs, no longer sending teens to state-run correctional facilities. At the same time, nonprofits would create more intensive, family-centered and community-rooted services for teens in child welfare.

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The Painful Price of Medicaid

The fast-rising cost of Medicaid is one the most pressing issues facing the governments of New York City and State. One in four New Yorkers are served by the system of insurance, which now costs an average of $1 billion a week. Health care for the poor and long term care for the disabled and older people are more expensive than ever—and their recent growth exceeds the size the state budget gap. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new Medicaid Redesign Team made recommendations that would create nearly $3 billion in savings.

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Parent Advocates in the Child Welfare System

Parent advocates are trained to support birth parents as they navigate the city’s complicated child welfare system. Research suggests they can help parents successfully move their child welfare cases forward. In June 2009, the Parent Advocate Initiative (PAI) was created to administer citywide support programs for supervisors of Parent Advocates in foster care agencies.

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Foster Teens in Transition: Are they better off today?

For years, rates of homelessness among the city’s former foster youth have remained stubbornly high. The city is connecting more teens to families, keeping more of them out of foster care in the first place, and developing new programs for pregnant and parenting foster teens. But for those remaining in foster and group homes, resources are being cut.

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Putting Principals to the Test: Transforming NYC Schools in the Age of Data-Driven Accountability

The Bloomberg administration has introduced a radical new system of school management, giving principals more freedom in exchange for the promise of better test scores and graduation rates. Crucial to this are new test-based accountability systems, which focus attention on struggling learners. But the traditional oversight by superintendents is gone. Does this strategy build better schools?

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Marching In Place: The Great Recession, Low-Income Working Women and Economic Inequality

For the first time in history, women account for half of America's workforce, according to the recent Shriver Report. As the recession reshapes America’s workforce, women are less likely to lose their jobs than men. Is this progress? Women earn only 77¢ for every dollar earned by men, up a mere 13¢ from 1963. In New York City, important workforce strategies focus on single mothers, yet many working women are struggling with poverty.

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Work Life, Home Life: Should Government Require Paid Leave?

About 1.3 million working people in New York City have no paid sick leave, and pressure is mounting on employers to provide it. Local chambers of commerce predict the cost would be in the billions; labor advocates argue it is simply a matter of fairness, and the City Council has begun to move on legislation. In the national context of often inflexible work options and limited public spending on child care, are there plausible ways to improve family policies in the workplace?

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School Food Matters: Hunger, Obesity and Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act

According to advocates, families of at least 1 in 5 New York City children still rely on soup kitchens and food pantries, despite free school breakfast and subsidized school lunches. President Obama pledged to end child hunger in the US by 2015, and the reauthorization of the federal Child Nutrition Act is expected by September.

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Banking Under the Mattress: Financial Literacy and Unbanked New Yorkers

A new FDIC study finds that seven of every 20 New York households is “underbanked.” In most cases, these are low-income, minority and single-parent households that either have no bank accounts or rely heavily on alternative financial services such as payday lenders and pawn shops. Such families can pay exorbitant fees and interest, are at greater risk of robbery, and often can’t borrow because they have no credit history.

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A Transformative Moment? New York's New Vision for Juvenile Justice

Major changes are afoot in juvenile justice. Governor Paterson recently proposed long-awaited reforms for upstate facilities where young teens are incarcerated. But he also proposed large cuts to alternative-to-detention and diversion programs. Meanwhile, the Bloomberg administration has merged the city’s juvenile justice agency with children’s services, potentially accelerating expansion of community- and family-centered services for juvenile delinquents and other young people.

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Community Schools: Organizing Community Resources Around Student Success

New York City is home to a variety of “community schools,” public schools that provide an array of health services, social supports and enrichment programs for students and families. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has promoted community schools as a strategy for using local resources to improve student success and is encouraging states to expand their numbers.

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Pass or Fail: Whats Next for New York City's High Schools?

New York City’s high schools have undergone a powerful transformation during the Bloomberg years, with more than 200 new small schools and dozens of others closed or reshaped. The city’s education department has introduced school competition, giving families unprecedented choice. But how has all this worked out for the students at-risk of dropping out?

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The Obama Agenda: Overcoming Poverty in New York and the Nation

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Obama administration’s 2010 budget plan include resources and tools for large-scale job creation, increased benefits for low-income and unemployed people, refundable tax credits, and the prospect of new flexible funds for child and family services. What is Washington offering the states, and how will New York respond?

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Class Struggles: Strengthening Schools by Strengthening Families

New York City’s public schools are held accountable for their students’ educational progress. But what happens when problems at home hold students back, or when young children aren’t coming to school? Could the city create a school-based safety net in the lowest-income neighborhoods?

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Homes Away From Home: The Changing Face of Foster Care

New York City’s foster care system has made headway in finding family homes for young people who once would have lived in group homes and residential treatment centers. But city officials and nonprofit leaders face tremendous challenges in creating effective support systems, crisis teams and training programs that can help foster parents care for these children.

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Home Is Where I Belong: Juvenile Justice Shifts Back to the Community

State leaders are debating proposals to close several near-empty juvenile facilities and revamp a system that has long invested only modest resources in community-based alternatives. Meanwhile, New York City is deploying family supports and services designed to keep more young people from being locked up, send others home faster, and still ensure public safety. Could New York have a juvenile justice system that depends less on incarceration and detention?

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