November 16, 2016

How 'Growing Up NYC' Aims to Improve the Lives of Children

By Richard Buery

Richard Buery, New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives, is expected to describe the launch of the City’s new “Growing Up NYC” initiative at a policy forum at The New School on Tuesday, November 22. He offers this preview.

New York City is home to almost three million children, youth, and young adults under the age of 24. The City is committed to helping each of those young people thrive at each stage of their childhood and grow up to become healthy and happy adults. To help us get there, the City’s Children’s Cabinet has launched Growing Up NYC: a unified vision for promoting the well-being of children and young adults.  The Cabinet designed the Growing Up NYC framework as a tool to help City agencies make strategic, evidence-based investments in programs that promote health, development, and safety for children. We relied on the vast expertise of the people and institutions who have been working to support New York City's children for a long time. In designing the framework, we thus learned a great deal from the dozens of agency partners, young people, parents, and community leaders who informed its content. 

Trend data that benchmark children’s performance on key well-being indicators and major health milestones along the 0-24 age continuum underpin the framework. The framework also builds on the Children’s Cabinet's work over the past two years to tackle the most pressing issues affecting our children by improving coordination and collaboration among City agencies. Growing Up NYC urges City policymakers to look beyond their own agendas and work together to develop the most effective strategies for improving the lives of children.

Toward this aim, the framework sets out to:

  • Provide a clear vision around child well-being that highlights relevant work the City is doing; 
  • Develop a course of action aimed at fostering evidence-based models and investments that have demonstrated impacts on supporting child well-being and that also cut across agencies;
  • Develop a shared understanding of which factors hinder and which factors promote children's successful path to adulthood; and 
  • Foster ongoing dialogue about what we need to do to continue the positive strides we are making for our children.

As a complement to this policy framework, the Children’s Cabinet also developed the Growing Up NYC digital tool and guidebook for families and children in the five boroughs.  These resources introduce parents and caregivers to the many wonderful and valuable City services available to all New Yorkers. The collection of programs, initiatives, and resources included in it illustrates the many ways New York City supports families and invests in their development.  We recognize that all children are different, and develop at their own pace. Therefore, the digital tool and guidebook also inform families about critical developmental milestones and benchmarks, in order to help families understand their children's development as well as guide their conversations with teachers and healthcare providers.  We want to empower families with information so that they can make the best decisions for their children. 

We look forward to continuing to work in parallel with New York City families to ensure that the Growing Up NYC policy framework, digital tool, and resource guide are living tools that empower them to successfully usher their children through the major transitions of their lives on the path to adulthood. We want to ensure that in every part of our city, it’s great to “Grow Up NYC.”

Deputy Mayor Richard Buery chairs the City’s inter-agency Children’s Cabinet. A former president and CEO of the Children’s Aid Society, he was the architect of the City’s trailblazing “Pre-K for All” program.