WCA Advocates for Children at NYS FY 2021 Executive Budget Hearing
Click above to hear Allison's testimony
With a broad, inclusive, and significant set of priorities for Westchester’s kids, WCA’s 2020-21 State Budget Agenda spans the continuum of childhood, promoting the wellbeing of children from birth until young adulthood.
In the realm of Youth Justice, we support efforts to decrease youth arrests, detention, placement and incarceration through Raise the Age implementation, funding, and community commitment. Positioning our youth justice agenda with a lens towards family, we encourage New York State to hold true to the pretrial reforms which began in January 2020, including bail reform, discovery reform, and remove barriers to re-entry in support of families.
We also seek to curb the serious racial inequities of School Discipline across New York, as data shows nearly every district suspends Black and Latinx children and adolescents more and longer than their white peers, often for more subjective infractions.
We support an expansion of Early Childhood Supports and Home Visiting for mother and child to accommodate all eligible and interested families, because these programs improve birth outcomes, increase school readiness and decrease child abuse and neglect.
New York State should increase access and funding for Quality, Affordable Child Care, Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning Opportunities so that all New York families can benefit from these indispensable child and youth development pathways. These programs keep children safe, support working families and increase academic achievement.
Regarding Child Welfare, we recommend that New York State increase funding for preventive services, and exhaust all possibilities of kin-based care before placement.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a new policy in the State Budget that would end the adult incarceration of teenagers – a Raise the Age NY Campaign request that WCA supported in meetings in Albany. If approved this would transfer ALL 16 and 17-year-olds to juvenile facilities operated by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) by October 2020. No longer would certain youth be in facilities run by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), an agency that oversees the adult criminal incarceration system.
For more specific recommendations, please see our Agenda here.
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