I often say that I do this work because I don’t want my grandchildren fighting the same fights we did back then. And yet here we find ourselves, with my grandchildren and young people across the country witnessing our government attacking small children for daring to dream of a better life.
– Marian Wright Edelman
It’s been a long and difficult year for vulnerable children and families. Children were snatched from their parents at the border. Gun violence claimed the lives of innocent children in schools, places of worship and other “safe spaces.” Over 800,000 children in New York State continue to live in poverty, with over 150,000 children in New York City experiencing homelessness. And the proposed public charge changes are prompting parents and children to go without needed services because they are concerned about their immigration status. We have encouraged people to exercise their right to vote and we joined with hundreds of thousands of other individuals and organizations who submitted comments on the proposed Public Charge rules that could devastate immigrant families. We don’t give up, we just commit to fight harder and smarter for as long as it takes.
As we come to the end of the year, we should take the time to celebrate the season, and also to recommit to standing up for children. We thank you for your support in joining us to make the humane and moral treatment of this nation’s children the priority it ought to be.
Growing School-Based Restorative Practices Across Countries
During the last week of November, Charlotte Pope, CDF-NY’s Youth Justice Policy Associate, was invited to participate in a restorative practices exchange visit to Belfast, hosted by two local organizations: Northern Ireland Alternatives and Community Restorative Justice Ireland. Charlotte made a series of presentations on CDF-NY’s policy change work and efforts to institute restorative practices in all New York schools, speaking before the Northern Ireland Department of Justice, the U.S. Consulate General Belfast, academics, and community based restorative justice practitioners. Going forward, CDF-NY will continue to collaborate and share knowledge with the two organizations to ensure meaningful systems-change ad investments in school-based restorative practices here in New York and abroad in Northern Ireland.
Raise the Age – Where are we now?
On October 1, 2018, New York State began implementation of Raise the Age, the law that CDF-NY and so many of our partners, allies and supporters helped us pass in 2017 and fund in 2018. A little more than two months into the reform, there are promising reports from the field: namely, that 16 year olds charged with misdemeanors are having their cases heard in Family Court, instead of being prosecuted as adults, that most 16 year olds charged with felonies are having their cases removed from the Criminal Court to Family Court, and that communities across New York are working closely with state agencies to have their local plans for services and supports reviewed and approved. Despite these early signs of success, there is a critical need for ongoing vigilance. Sixteen year olds whose cases remain in the new Youth Part of the Criminal Court and are remanded to detention may be sent far from their home communities, families and attorneys, to newly created Specialized Secure Detention because of the lack of local detention beds that meet the requirements of the law. Early signs also suggest that prosecutors in different parts of the state may be interpreting the exceptions under the law differently, resulting in the potential for a disproportionate number of adolescents’ cases staying in the Youth Part for adult criminal prosecution. Through our work with the Raise the Age Coalition, with community stakeholders implementing the law, and through our role on the Governor’s Statewide RTA Implementation Taskforce, we are closely monitoring the reform and stand ready to continue our advocacy to ensure that the law is rolled-out in ways that are consistent with its purpose: to treat youth as youth.
Beat the Odds Students Learn about the Legacy of Marian Wright Edelman
Last week CDF-NY staff hosted one in a series of college readiness and self-care workshops for our Beat the Odds Scholars. This workshop focused on creating a space where our young people’s stories are told and validated. The workshop began by sharing the story and history of the Children’s Defense Fund and its founder, Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman. The students walked through a visual time line of the milestones and successes of CDF and Mrs. Edelman’s legacy. The students quickly made the connection between the lessons of the past and the progress that still needs to be made in the future. The students came away feeling inspired by Mrs. Edelman’s work. As one scholar said, “No matter how young or old you are, you can still make a change in your community.” You can learn more about these amazing scholars on our website and at our annual gala on February 25, 2019.
Community Health Forum:
Everything you wanted to know about health insurance coverage!
Today, December 12, 2018 at 6pm
St Ann’s Episcopal Church
295 St Ann’s Avenue
Bronx, NY 10454
Find out more about your options at a community health forum hosted by the Children’s Defense Fund-New York, Morris Heights Health Center, and St. Ann’s Episcopal Church. The forum will feature:
- Free advice from a New York State of Health insurance navigator
- Information on state and federal changes to coverage options and how to protect your coverage
- Free food and drinks
For more information, please contact Ben Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support our work as advocates for and with children and young people. Donate to CDF-NY.
As always, register to vote at cdf.turbovote.org.