The Children’s Defense Fund-New York believes that having the basic necessities of life such as nutritious meals and financial security is a universal human right and something all people concerned with the well-being of children should work to secure. We are working with partners to reach a goal of universal lunch and breakfast in all New York State schools. CDF-NY advocates for the full funding of SNAP which serves over 20 percent of children in New York and the continued funding of WIC and other important child nutrition programs for children and families.
While we have won reductions in the use of punitive school disciplinary practices in the past decade, significant challenges persist for tens of thousands of students who are suspended from New York City public schools each year. Because disparities in the use of school discipline and policing by race, gender, ability, and sexual orientation continue, developing creative approaches that effectively reduce both overall use of exclusionary practices and the discipline gap is our urgent priority.
While Medicaid, CHIP, and the ACA have improved coverage rates, around 100,000 children in New York still lack coverage. The result: too many children suffering from unmet health needs, poor outcomes, and health disparities. We work to guarantee coverage for every child through protecting insurance, guaranteeing culturally competent care, and improving outcomes.
Immigrant children are some of the most vulnerable children in the United States. Fleeing violence and poverty, children and families often find their way to New York where they face challenges navigating legal and social services. We work to identify the gaps in service and unaddressed needs of this population and identify and advocate for best practice models to meet these needs.
CDF-NY pays attention to the needs of all justice-involved youth, specifically black and brown youth who are incarcerated at a disproportionate rate than white children. In New York, we’ve worked to guarantee age-appropriate forms of justice, through Raise the Age NY. In October 2018, Mayor Bill DeBlasio will raise the age of incarceration to 17 following another age increase in 2019. We continue to work for sustainable and holistic alternatives to incarceration, especially with this age increase.