The Children's Aid Society Endorses Critical Components of Governor Spitzer's Proposed 2008 - 2009 Budget

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Contacts:
Ellen Lubell, The Children’s Aid Society, (w) 212-949-4938, (c) 917-854-6864
Emily Crossan, The Children’s Aid Society, (w) 917-286-1548, (c) 201-344-5742

C. Warren Moses, Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Aid Society, one of New York City’s largest providers of children’s and family services, enthusiastically endorses Governor Eliot Spitzer’s proposed 2008-2009 budget.

“Governor Spitzer has made tough choices and come down on the side of poor children in this budget,” states Moses. “While the economic climate in New York State worsens every day, the Governor’s proposed budget makes wise decisions during this difficult time. The changes announced by the Governor this morning are changes that we strongly support,” he said. “Clearly, the welfare of disadvantaged children has remained foremost in his mind, and we are pleased to see that the governmental tone and the pattern of investments are in the right place.”

The Children’s Aid Society enthusiastically supports these budget provisions:

1) Closing of severely underutilized facilities for the incarceration of juveniles, paving the way for smarter investments in community programs that reduce recidivism, length of incarceration, and the number of juveniles incarcerated, while correspondingly expanding community-based preventive and re-entry programs.

2) Expansion of eligibility of poor children for Child Health Plus. We are very enthusiastic about the expansion of Child Health Plus to 400% of the federal poverty level, so that 400,000 uninsured children in New York State will now be able to obtain health insurance coverage. We also applaud the addition of Medicaid reimbursement for social work services (therapy) for children, adolescents and those with pregnancy-related issues. In addition, we strongly support the expansion of Medicaid coverage for foster children and youth no longer in care to age 21.

3) Extension of the Human Services COLA for three years. We applaud extending this increase for another three years. We regret that this extension does not provide a COLA for youth development program workers.

4) Retention of the 65% Child Welfare funding formula without a cap. This is critical and we are very thankful for its inclusion.

5) Maintenance of Summer Youth Employment Program funding. We feel that this is a very important budget feature.

6) The Governor’s Education initiatives, which provide support for healthier schools that address the needs of the whole child in many ways.

a. We support his use of funding to encourage the legislature to adopt his Healthy Schools Initiative, which would provide healthier, fresher foods to more schoolchildren in the state;

b. We support his expansion of the state’s pre-Kindergarten program to move towards true universality. This is a goal of all children’s services providers, who know that educational and developmental programs begin optimally at a child’s birth;

c. We applaud the continuation of the Advantage after-school program and the Governor’s commitment to add another $10 million to the 21st Century after school program.

“Children’s Aid welcomes the intelligent approach to budgeting and the Governor’s commitment to spending limited resources efficiently on society’s major child-focused issues: education, health and juvenile justice. We look forward to the day when all children in New York State receive all that is necessary to achieve their highest potentials.”

The Children’s Aid Society was founded in 1853. It is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving more than 150,000 of New York’s neediest children and their families with a network of services that includes community schools, neighborhood centers, camps, adoption and foster care services, teen pregnancy prevention, education, health and recreation. For more information, please call 212-949-4938 or visit www.childrensaidsociety.org.