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New Publication | Urban Matters

Becoming the Face of Change

By Gerard Campbell

The building was isolated, far upstate. Its residents lived in small dorm-style rooms whose doors had small windows on them. Each hallway had a staff member on one end and a staff member on the other. Everyone had to be accounted for and in their place; one wrong move and the staff would physically restrain you.

It may sound like I’m describing a minimum-security prison, but actually this was the residential treatment center where I lived for several years as a teenager.


More than a year and a half after a pair of widely publicized child deaths, New York City's child welfare agency continues to investigate a dramatically higher number of families than in recent years, according to data published by the Administration for Children's Services (ACS).

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App-based ride-hailing companies have grown rapidly in New York City and across the U.S. over the past five years, yet the full-time New York City drivers who provide 80 percent of the rides are struggling just to get by, according to a new report from The New School in New York City and the University of California, Berkeley.

The report highlights the need for and the effects of the Taxi and Limousine’s Commission’s (TLC) proposed driver pay standard, which would apply to drivers affiliated with Uber, Lyft, Via, and Juno in New York City.

The study found that 85 percent of app-based drivers earn below the proposed minimum pay level, after allowing for vehicle and related expenses. The TLC’s proposal would result in 14 percent average increase in gross pay and a 22.5 percent increase in net pay.


Recent years have brought a series of rapid changes to New York City’s subsidized early education system. There was the massive EarlyLearn reform of 2012, pre-K expansion in 2014, and now the Department of Education's rollout of preschool for 3-year-olds as it prepares to take over responsibility for all City-contracted child care services. In this shifting landscape, trends in enrollment can provide a window into how parents and providers are experiencing the changes. Using point-in-time data obtained by CNYCA, we have identified five key enrollment trends in New York City’s subsidized child care system.


New Report 

Building Health Homes for Kids: New York’s Reforms for Children on Medicaid Finally Take Shape

By Abigail Kramer

New York has begun its ambitious project to re-engineer health care for low-income children. In a new report, Building Health Homes for Kids: New York’s Reforms for Children on Medicaid Finally Take Shape, the Center for New York City Affairs looks at the opportunities and challenges presented by the State’s first major step toward reform.


NEW report

The Paradox of Choice: How School Choice Divides New York City Elementary Schools

By Nicole Mader, Clara Hemphill, and Qasim Abbas

The conventional wisdom is that most elementary school children in New York City attend their zoned neighborhood schools and that the city’s high levels of school segregation merely reflect segregated housing patterns. But a more nuanced and in some ways disquieting story emerges from our analysis presented in a new policy report from the Center for New York City Affairs, “The Paradox of Choice.”




Small Children, Big Opportunities

The Department of Education Will Soon Take Charge of Child Care for Babies and Toddlers. What Can They Do to Build Capacity and Improve Quality?  

The last in a series of briefs looking at child care for babies and toddlers in New  York City's subsidized early education centers, this report presents our key findings. It also provides recommendations for building the centers’ capacity to provide quality infant and toddler care. With the City preparing to move its subsidized child care system from its current home at the Administration for Children’s Services to the City’s Department of Education, our advisory board of early education stakeholders, argues that now is the time to dream big when it comes to babies and toddlers, and to build a rich continuum of early education from infancy onward that will prevent the need for more costly interventions down the line.



Making Room for Babies?: Lessons for the Field

By Kendra Hurley

Many child care centers have seen their enrollment of 4-year-olds decline due to New York City's pre-K expansion, which has dramatically grown the number of early education options available to kids this age. In response, some centers have become interested in “aging down” to serve younger children. This would be a tremendous boon in New York City, where quality affordable and subsidized infant and toddler care is in high demand and short supply. However, "aging down" is difficult. This report looks at ways that affordable and subsidized centers who do provide infant care make it work.


In 2013, New York City launched an array of programs designed to keep teenagers out of the City’s foster care system.

The programs—known collectively as “teen-specialized preventive services”—represent a pivotal piece of the City’s ongoing child welfare reform agenda: to keep whittling down the number of kids who enter foster care by providing intensive, evidence-based therapy to families in crisis.


Our six years of key indicators spotlight trends in New York City’s foster care and preventive services systems.


Full Survey

New Release 

Monitoring the Minimum Wage: Brief 4 on How Businesses are Adapting to the Increasing Minimum Wage 

By James Parrott

CNYCA partners with the Workforce Field Building Hub, an initiative of the NYC-based Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) on the Monitoring the Minimum Wage issue brief series. The briefs are intended to track the implementation of the $15 minimum wage in New York City by engaging businesses, workers and workforce practitioners, and by assessing the impacts in other jurisdictions around the country.

Monitoring the Minimum Wage: Brief 4 on lessons from other cities is available here.

Previous issues in the series are available here.

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.



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.

Landlords try to evict close to a million people a year using New York City’s Housing Court, often bringing dubious cases as a way to force people out of rent-regulated buildings. Tenants historically haven’t had lawyers; it's an imbalance of power that puts a big thumb on the scales of justice in landlords’ favor.  But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way – as the preliminary results of New York City’s landmark drive to establish a “right to counsel” in eviction cases suggest.


What do integration and diversity in schools really mean? I confronted these questions during my two years’ research of three of the first seven schools participating in what has become New York City’s “diversity in admissions” policy program. Those first seven public elementary schools voluntarily embarked on a journey to halt or reverse a process through which schools that traditionally served low-income students of color had growing numbers of more affluent white students as a result of gentrification in their communities.


View the ITM Documentary