Children’s Aid Society and Coalition Demand City Reinstate Funding for Vital After-School Programs
More than 16,000 NYC Children Could Lose After-School Programs in NYC
View and download images from the event here
NEW YORK, NY – The President and CEO of The Children’s Aid Society Richard Buery and leaders of a diverse coalition of organizations reacted to the more than $23 million in proposed budget cuts to vital after-school (OST) programs today in front of City Hall. Buery was joined on the steps of City Hall by CAMBA, The Educational Alliance, The After-School Corporation, YMCA of Greater New York, United Neighborhood Houses, Good Shepherd Services, UJA-Federation, and Councilman Lew Fidler.
The number of after-school program slots has been decimated since 2009—with these additional cuts, a total of more than 30,000 children will no longer have a place to go after school. Slashing the budgets for these programs will have devastating effects for low-income New Yorkers who are already taxed in this troubled economy. Further, high-quality after-school programs are proven to promote healthy development and academic achievement, while also reducing crime, substance abuse, and pregnancy among teens.
“These cuts will have a profound impact on the lives of low-income children and their families,” said Buery. “It is unconscionable that thousands of underprivileged children are losing their after-school programs when vulnerable families are struggling. We implore the Mayor and the City Council to find a solution that benefits poor New Yorkers instead of disproportionately burdening them.”
“Budgets ought not to be balanced on the backs of children. Doing that is short sighted,” said Council Member Lew Fidler, Chairperson of the Youth Services Committee. “The cuts to OST are draconian and will affect over 16,000 kids. We have to make better choices.”
"Out-of-school time programs return great value. Kids get more learning time and developmental support, parents can keep their jobs knowing their kids are safe, and programs employ young adults who face a tight job market,” said Lucy Friedman, President of TASC. “The human costs of trimming these programs are not worth the relatively small savings to the city budget."
Robin Bernstein, CEO of The Educational Alliance, said, “The Educational Alliance community is distressed about proposals to dramatically reduce after-school programs. In our neighborhoods in Downtown Manhattan, low-income families depend dearly on these programs and eliminating them will surely bring results that none of us desire – higher rates of unemployment, high school dropouts, gang activity, and use of drugs and alcohol. These are costs we can't afford financially, and the losses in human terms will be incalculable.”
“Cutting after-school and youth programs on the scale of what is being proposed right now is the wrong way to close a budget gap. Parents depend on after-school to be able to work and they are already struggling to make ends meet in these tough times,” said Michelle Yanche, Director of Public Policy at Good Shepherd Services. “OST and Beacon programs for older kids give them a safe place to be, especially important now when rising gang activity plagues so many of their neighborhoods. If these cuts are made, our children, families, and communities will pay a heavy price – now and for years to come.”
Ronald Soloway, Managing Director of Government Relations and External Affairs at the UJA-Federation, added, “We believe that Mayor Bloomberg has developed an innovative and successful model of delivering after-school care to New York City's children that provides security, educational enrichment, and recreation. Given the proven benefits of this program UJA-Federation urges the Mayor and City Council to maximize the OST resources available to the youth of our City.”
“The value of after-school programs, which the Mayor himself has built during his Administration, is unquestionable. This value is further evidenced by the Mayor’s decision to save some childcare slots by engaging these children in after-school programs. Yet, after-school programs have been on the chopping block for several years – this year at unprecedented levels. It is contradictory to invest in OST to deal with the childcare cuts, while simultaneously cutting OST programs for 16,000 youth who currently receive these services," said Anthony Ng, Director of Policy and Advocacy at United Neighborhood Houses.
"It is unclear if what the Administration has put on the table is really an appropriate solution to the significant reduction of funding to both the child care and OST systems. There are more questions than answers at this point, especially for those low income and working families who rely on these programs," said Council Member Annabel Palma, Chair of the General Welfare Committee.
The groups called on parents throughout New York City to contact the Mayor and the City Council to demand the cuts be restored before the June 30 budget deadline.
The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to serve the children of New York City. Our mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please call Anthony Ramos at (212) 949-4938/ (347) 439-7727, email email@example.com or visit www.childrensaidsociety.org.
# # #