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NYC Budget Cuts Hurting Our Kids

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Impact of the Cuts

The combined effects of the mayor’s proposed budget and structural changes to both the early childhood and after-school systems will eliminate programs for an additional 47,000 children. This is the latest in a series of reductions. Come September, a total of 90,000 kids will have lost their early childhood or after-school programs since 2009 — a 2/3 reduction. Every city agency has faced cuts, but I am not aware of any other program that has been forced to absorb cuts at that scale. The city recently announced the winners of the newest round of Out-of-School Time contracts, and nearly half of programs city wide will be closing their doors.

In Central Harlem, only 5.7% of eligible families will have access to early childhood education.

And the impact goes beyond education and safety — it’s an economic tragedy as well.  For the working parents we serve, these programs are a life line to the workforce.  Consider Lilibet.  For her, raising two sons alone, working full-time and living paycheck to paycheck, The Children’s Aid Society’s after school programs mean the difference between going to work and supporting her family or staying home and relying on public benefits. How could it possibly benefit us as a city to drive her, and thousands like her, from the workforce?

As the New York Times said in a recent editorial, “Mr. Bloomberg and the Council need to do a lot more for the city’s neediest children.” We cannot balance our budgets on the backs of these, our neediest New Yorkers.

The cuts will be particularly devastating to low-income children and their families. One in three children in New York, and two in three public school children, live in poverty.  These have been difficult years for those New Yorkers at the bottom of the economic ladder.  We have already cut their services to the bone, and our waiting lists are the longest they have ever been.  Further reductions will devastate the very children who the mayor has championed in both his philanthropy and public service.

When he was asked about these cuts, the Mayor responded, “We can’t do everything we want in the size and frequency that you would like, but the objective is to try to balance and make choices and we will try to do that and do it responsibly like we’ve been doing for 10 years.”

He is absolutely right. A budget is, at the end of the day, a series of choices. It tells you what is critical and what is expendable. It tells you who matters and who does not.

The Mayor’s budget says that needy children and working families don’t matter.  Several of my colleagues in the fields of early childhood and afterschool have launched the Campaign for Children to remind him otherwise. I urge you to join us — our children need all the support they can get.

You can help The Children’s Aid Society today by signing this petition to save child care and after-school programs in NYC!

To stay updated on how The Children’s Aid Society is helping New York City’s children in poverty to succeed and thrive and to learn how you can help, LIKE them here.

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12 comments

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4:38PM PST on Jan 6, 2013

Thank you Kayla, for Sharing this!

10:57PM PDT on May 23, 2012

As far as tax dollars go, the people are the ones getting squeezed out.

10:14AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Many American children are educationally deficient compared to European and Asian children already. Each cut of the school budget anywhere put our kids at more of a disadvantage than they are already. Reduced physical education programs have made our kids fat and for many sports was the only incentive to study hard. Computer learning is great but it doesn't make up for physical activity keeping the mind sharp and refreshed. I feel sorry for today's youth for missing out on so much, and for us adults who will have to eventually depend on these same kids when they grow up. They already don't know how to count back change for purchases, the way we did when growing up.

9:37AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Why is such a local article being posted on a site with so many international readers? Lots of cities everywhere are having these problems. Posting this article here unfortunately makes it sound as if NYC is the centre of the universe, so the whole world must weep for NY kids. It would have been better if the problem was discussed in general, and not so locally.

7:00AM PDT on May 23, 2012

I no longer live in N.Y.C.,therefore do not care...

5:38AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Children need all the help they can get these days to become future leaders and worthy adults.

3:18AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thanks.

12:51AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thanks for the information.

2:46PM PDT on May 22, 2012

Sadly noted.

2:39PM PDT on May 22, 2012

Sadly, NYC is not th only place this is happening. Across our once great nation, child care and after school programs are being "cut". Maybe if we Stopped funding wars there would be something left over for our future generations education.

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