The Children's Aid Blog

Hundreds Rally in the Bronx to Save After-School and Child Care Programs

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By: Keyla Espinal

On May 8th hundreds of children, advocates and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in the Bronx rallied on the steps of the Bronx Supreme Court on 161st Street and Grand Concourse to say NO to the Mayor’s budget cuts. The Campaign for Children and it’s supporting organizations, including The Children’s Aid Society, gathered students to show the importance of after-school and child care programs, especially in the Bronx. Representatives from the offices of Council Member Annabel Palma and Assembly Member Vanessa Gibson, both of whom represent sections of the Bronx, echoed the participants devastation and the importance of restoring these cuts.

Students had signs expressing the importance of their programs which also included other creative representation such as: songs and dance, t-shirts with symbolic pictures, and one group of students had Band-Aids on their faces to represent how “budget cuts hurt.” The Children’s Aid Society was well represented by students from CS 61 who chanted “save after-school" and "CAS is the best.”

This will be the fifth straight year the Mayor has cut child care and after-school programs, reducing services by two-thirds, which will leave 90,000 children without these essential programs come September. This year alone, the combined effects of the new cuts and changes to the early childhood and after-school systems will eliminate an additional 15,900 child care slots and slash after-school services for 31,800 children. These programs are proven to prepare children for school, support them while in school and help low-income, working parents keep their jobs. The Campaign for Children, as well as the other advocates and children at the rally, all vowed to continue to fight these cuts through June 30th, when the final City budget is due to be passed.

Please visit the Children's Aid Take Action Page to learn how you can tell Mayor Bloomberg and elected officials to put children first!

Neuberger Berman Volunteers Get Kids Thinking About College

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Thanks to some very special volunteers from Neuberger Berman, several 5th graders in Washington Heights are much more prepared to experience college. Last week, students from P.S. 5, a Children’s Aid Society Community School were joined by these volunteers who proved to them that one is never too young to think about their future academic careers and college.  The students were divided into four groups named after college mascots: the Tigers, the Eagles, the Bulldogs and the Lions. The groups had the opportunity to meet with the volunteers individually who shared with them all about their own college experiences and how they transitioned into their careers.  

The youth did not waste this precious opportunity to gain some insight into what college could be like for them. Among the many questions were “Is it hard to make friends at college?”  “Do you have classes on the weekends?”  and “Is college expensive?”   The visit turned out to be a complete success with both groups learning a great deal from one another. The Neuberger Berman volunteers made a great impression on the Children’s Aid kids and without a doubt they should visit P.S. 5 again soon!

Richard Buery Calls for Preservation of After-School and Child Care Programs on Manhattan Viewpoint Blog

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As part of ongoing advocacy efforts aimed at convincing city leaders to preserve funding for after-school and child care programs, Richard Buery, Children's Aid President and CEO, served as a guest writer on the Manhattan Viewpoint Blog. Mr. Buery's post, NYC Budget Cuts Damage Our Children, carefully reviews the numbers in terms of how many children and families will be effected. The stunning statistics include: "In Central Harlem, only 5.7% of eligible families will have access to early childhood education." An excerpt of the post is available below. Also, be sure to visit the Children's Aid Take Action Page to learn how you can tell Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials to save vital services for children!

NYC Budget Cuts Damage Our Children

On Thursday, Mayor Bloomberg announced his $68.7 billion budget proposal, and for the fifth straight year, his budget slashes early childhood and after school programs.   

Nonsensical Cuts
With Wall Street tax revenues lower than predicted and our city still recovering from the economic downtown, I understand that the city has difficult choices to make. But decimating these critical programs for children is just the wrong choice to make.

From his Young Men's Initiative to improve outcomes for young people of color, to his plans to serve juveniles in supportive programs here in New York City rather than upstate juvenile jails, to the groundbreaking poverty-fighting initiatives of his Center for Economic Opportunity, the Mayor has demonstrated his sincere commitment to the poor and working-class children of New York City. And while I haven't agreed with every element of his education reform policies, he has bravely asked to be judged as the "education mayor." Our expectations of what a public education system can and should be expected to deliver for poor children have been changed forever.

That is why the mayor's proposed cuts to early childhood education and after-school programs make absolutely no sense. We all understand how important it is to keep kids engaged and on track beginning at a very early age...

Continue reading on the Manhattan Viewpoint Blog

11th Annual Children's Art Show

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Last week, the walls at the National Arts Club exquisitely displayed brightly colored and deeply moving art pieces from youth in Children’s Aid Society community schools and centers. Dozens of children, parents and staff attended the 11th Annual Children’s Art Show at the famous arts club in Gramercy Park on Thursday April 26th to celebrate their talents.

This year, the Art Show featured approximately150 pieces of art by children ages 3-18 from Children’s Aid fall and winter programs. There was something for everyone to enjoy! Delicately made tissue paper cherry blossoms done by 5 and 6 year olds of the Dunlevy Milbank Center to emotionally moving charcoal drawings by teens in the Artistic Noise program.

Overwhelming accolades were given to all the artists by the legendary Dianne Bernhard, President of The National Arts Club, Richard Buery, President and CEO and Dr. William Weisberg, Chief Operating Officer of The Children’s Aid Society. Along with the talent on the walls, all in attendance were treated to an energetic performance by the Children’s Aid Senior Chorus and a riveting original poetic reading by Kelisha Cyrus of The Hope Leadership Academy. Visit the 11th Annual Children’s Art Show photo gallery to view images of this special event and art work.

Latest Update on the Campaign to Save After-School and Child Care for 47,000 Children

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The campaign continues to convince city leaders to preserve funding for 47,000 after-school and child care slots. The Huffington Post provides a detailed look at the situation, including comments from Katherine Eckstein, Children's Aid Director of Public Policy:

The mayor is set to release his executive budget Thursday, and the city's child-care advocates said they haven't heard any rumblings indicating a last-minute restoration of funds. "We're very concerned, and frankly outraged," said Katherine Eckstein, the director of public policy for the Children's Aid Society. "It's exactly the opposite of the direction the city should be going in." - from Bloomberg Budget Brawl: Children's Advocates Scramble To Save New York's State-Of-The-Art After-School System On Eve Of Massive Cuts

WNYC's coverage of the budget situation includes the following:

City Council Finance Committee Chairman Domenic Recchia told WNYC he hopes the mayor will back off plans announced earlier this year to cut day care and after school programs for close to 50,000 children. He said his phone is ringing off the hook.

It is important to keep those phones ringing and the messages pouring in to the inboxes of our elected officials. Find out what you can do to preserve these vital programs by visiting the Children's Aid Take Action page. Make your voice heard!

TODAY is Call In Day - Tell City Leaders to Save Child Care and After-School Programs

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The Mayor's proposed budget cuts will eliminate child care and after-school programs for 47,000 children. On Monday, April 30th, YOU can help by calling city leaders and telling them to save these vital programs. Here's how:

What You Can Do

On Monday, April 30th, call (888) 279-3491 and use the following script as a guide (please be polite):

Hi, my name's ________. I'm calling to urge you to save child care and after-school programs. With the newest budgets cuts, more than 47,000 NYC children are at risk of losing the educational opportunities that pave the way for success. Families that rely on subsidized child care and after-school work hard and play by the rules. Without these programs, many working family members will be unable to keep their jobs and provide for their households, or will be forced to make potentially unsafe arrangements for their children. It is morally wrong to balance the city budget on the backs of children and hard-working families.  We’re counting on YOU to restore the funding to save child care and after-school programs. Thank you.

The phone number listed above wil connect you directly to city leaders in charge of the budet. If no one answers, leave a voice mail.

Spanish Instructions:

Llame al (888)-279-3491 para informales a nuestros líderes municipales que el cuidado infantil y los programas después de la escuela deben ser protegidos!

Use este guía para su llamada (por favor sea cortés):
Hola, me llamo ________. Le llamo para pedirle que proteja los programas de cuidado infantil y después de la escuela. Con los recortes presupuestarios más recientes, más de 47,000 niños de la ciudad de Nueva York están en riesgo de perder las oportunidades educativas que los ayudara obtener el éxito. Las familias, que dependen del cuidado infantil y de los programas después de la escuela, son trabajadoras y respetan las reglas de esta ciudad. Sin estos programas, muchas familias no podrán conservar sus trabajos y mantener sus hogares, o se verán obligados a hacer planes que posiblemente sean inseguros para sus hijos. Es moralmente indebido balancear el presupuesto municipal a cuestas de los niños y las familias trabajadoras. Estamos contando con USTED para restaurar los fondos de los programas de cuidado infantil y los programas después del día escolar. Gracias.

Las llamadas al número telefónico mencionado anteriormente serán automáticamente conectadas a uno de los líderes municipales a cargo del presupuesto de la cuidad. Si nadie contesta, por favor de dejar un mensaje de voz.  A pesar del mensaje que reciba de la oficina, por favor tenga la seguridad de que estas son las personas claves en tomar decisiones presupuestarias.

For complete instructions, download the following flyers:

Download Call In Day Flyer (English)

Download Call In Day Flyer (Spanish)

Other Ways You Can Take Action

Send an EMAIL to the Mayor and other elected officials by clicking here or visiting and clicking the TAKE ACTION button on the right.


You or your child can write a LETTER to the Mayor – telling him why child care and after-school are so important to you and your family – Address letters to:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

*For more information visit: Facebook: Campaign for Children // Twitter: @ChildrenNYC #Campaign4Children

Encourage Others to Write on Social Media

TWEET: I sent a letter to @MikeBloomberg to say, save our child care and after-school! Send yours: #Campaign4Children

FACEBOOK: I sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg to say, save our child care and after-school! You can, too. Follow the link to TAKE ACTION with Campaign for Children.

Latest News

From the New York Daily News:

On Wednesday, April 18th, councilwoman Annabel Palma (D-Bronx) met with advocates and parents at The Children's Aid Society's Bronx Family Center to discuss Mayor Bloomberg's proposed cuts to childcare services. Read the complete recap at the link below:

Concerned Bronx pols and advocates visit borough childcare center, one of several threatened by city cuts

Richard Buery Addresses Proposed Cuts on 1010Wins

Click the play button below to listen to Richard Buery, Children's Aid President and CEO, discuss the potentailly devastating impact of the Mayor's proposed cuts to childcare and after-school programs.

Children's Aid Dads Pledge Their Best at Daddy Pick Up Day

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“Let it be known on this day that my job as a Dad is never done.” This is how dozens of fathers ended their pledge on Wednesday, April 25th at The Children’s Aid Society’s Dunlevy Milbank Center in Harlem. The center held its inaugural Daddy Pick-Up Day in which fathers picked up their children promptly as 5:45 p.m. Dads, step-dads, grandfathers, children, friends and staff collectively marched around the neighborhood chanting “5:45, my daddy picked me up!”

The center put together this creative and engaging event as part of “Child Abuse Awareness & Prevention” month to raise awareness about the positive impact fathers and/or father figures have on the lives of their children. The large group took up almost the length of one block but their voices could be heard for more and their smiles gave the sun a run for its money. I am sure that all dads out and about that afternoon were inspired by the unity displayed by the Milbank families. View the photogallery here.

Daddy Pick Up Day Pledge

We come here today as men to help our children become productive citizens in our society.

We will do this by:

Showing respect for the mother of our children.

Spending quality time with our children in and outside of the home.

Reading to our children to help achieve their learning goals.

Conducting ourselves in a positive manner in the eyes of our children.

Providing a safe and secure upbringing full of affection.

Teaching life lessons to help our children make proper choices.

Let it be known on this day that my job as a Dad is never done.

Fatherhood is forever!!

Association of Southeast Asian Nations Visits Salomé Ureña Campus

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Twenty six members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children visited the CAS Salomé Ureña Campus on April 24. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton invited the group to visit the United States as part of U.S. support for ASEAN and its developing institutions. Before visiting CAS the group was meeting with officials, NGOs and others in Washington, DC. The Department of State recommended the visit to the CAS community schools as a way to see innovative practices around school, family and community partnerships in action.

The group included representatives from Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam. They toured the school and had a panel discussion with Alma Whitford, June Barnett, Margaret Caspe, Migdalia Cortes-Torres, Roy Laird and Alirio Guerrero; Hersilia Méndez moderated the panel. According to Kate Longhurst, from the Office of Multilateral Affairs, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State, the representatives loved visiting the school and in a wrap-up session yesterday afternoon, many of them counted it as a highlight of their entire visit to the United States. They were very impressed with the depth and breadth of services provided, and that services are integrated and readily available at school. They were particularly interested in CAS' focus on the family, including continuing education for parents and early childhood programs. The group wants to continue a dialogue with CAS to see how elements of the approach can be implemented in their own countries.

Richard Buery on The Huffington Post: E.R. Visits: A Costly Band-Aid for Troubled Students

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"The Department of Education and the Department of Health must allocate more money for these mental health services in our schools."

Last week, the New York Times profiled Gabriel, a young boy who has been unnecessarily sent to the emergency room for psychiatric evaluations on multiple occasions due to behavioral outbursts in school. With the right resources, these outbursts could and should have been handled in Gabriel's school. Every year, thousands of children are sent to the ER unnecessarily, when instead they could be cared for and learning in school.

As many parents and students can attest, disruptive behaviors are a distraction to the entire class. The lesson is interrupted; students and teachers become unfocused and tense. Faced with a shortage of resources, educators are increasingly calling 911 when children act out, resulting not only in costly emergency room visits, but a failure to treat the underlying behavioral disorder.

And it's the wrong response.

Less than 3 percent of students sent to the emergency room are admitted into a hospital. Most are sent home and told to return to school the next day. Instead of receiving any sort of treatment for the root problem, the student misses a day of school. Often, parents are required to miss work, losing income and imperiling their jobs.

Continue Reading on The Huffington Post

Access a complete list of Richard Buery's Huffington Post columns

Follow Richard Buery on Twitter (@RichardBueryCAS)

Children's Aid Honors Healthy Cooking Volunteers

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For the past week, The Children’s Aid Society has been honoring volunteers who selflessly give of their time and talents to the children and families throughout our programs. Last but definitely not least, The Food & Nutrition department would like to honor five dedicated volunteers who work with Early Childhood participants in the Go!Kids cooking programs. This hands-on cooking and nutrition curriculum teaches children basic cooking skills to prepare nutritious meals. The following talented and dedicated volunteers not only help these children learn lifetime skills but they also serve as models of the benefits of healthy eating.

Lauren Finley

Her training in teaching coupled with her experience as a pastry Chef allows Lauren to transform every classroom at the Bronx Early Childhood Center into a magical Go!Kids Cook space, where crafts, books and foods come together. She is diligent and passionate; she connects with our young students with ease and commands the classroom with finesse.  Here the kids are learning about the attributes of a humble apple before turning it into a delicious applesauce.


Daniele Duek

Her smile immediately makes the kids feel comfortable when she teaches at Taft Daycare Center or at the East Harlem Center.  She easily switches between English, Spanish and Portuguese, making children feel at ease while they expand their vocabulary.  She is extremely skillful in encouraging the kids to use all their senses as they explore, cook and taste new foods. And her explanations of the ingredients makes fruits and vegetables come alive right before their eyes!


Jenny Ecclestone

When it comes to teaching children the art of cooking, Jenny is a pro! Her strong culinary background and unwavering passion for introducing kids to healthy foods is always apparent in the classroom at our East Harlem Center, where kids learn how to use “the claw” to safely cut their veggies and fruits, and how healthy food can taste great and look beautiful. Her enthusiasm and warmth are wildly contagious—the kids are always super excited when they know Chef Jenny is coming to teach! Here they are cutting a rainbow of fruits for Granola Parfaits.


Linda Rosenblatt

Chef Linda is brimming with energy and very well loved! When she walks into the Frederick Douglass Center, kids immediately surround to her to ask “What are we cooking today?” She knows how to channel her spunk and the kids’ excitement into an orderly classroom environment where all the students get a rich hands-on cooking experience—measuring, cutting, mixing and creating a dish together. And she always gives each child her full individual attention. Here she works with one young Chef on math skills as he counts the layers of yogurt, fruit and granola in his delicious Parfait.


Julie Sanderson

Julie’s charming personality, awesome sense of humor and flexibility make a great combination when she teaches cooking to the kids at our Dunlevy Milbank Daycare Center.  She is adept at capturing the kids’ overflowing enthusiasm and nurturing in them a real passion for cooking. Not to mention that they love her cool British accent! Here she is ready to start some guacamole action!