From our Executive Director
[IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW]
Westchester Children’s Association (WCA) is Westchester County’s only children’s advocacy organization focused on the welfare of children ages 0 to 25 and their families. We feel compelled to respond to the impact that the partial shutdown of the federal government is having on children and families. All around us, we see children and families struggling to make ends meet and calm the fears of children affected. Children cannot wait for adults to figure it all out. They need food, shelter, and other necessities today and every day. We would like to do what we can to share information and resources to support families in need.
The effect on children and families is important for all of us to remember in this political climate. We are concerned for those families who currently depend on services such as school meals, SNAP (food stamps), WIC, children’s health insurance, Section 8 housing vouchers, and more. As this deliberation drags on, some families may be forced to become new users of public supports and services. The longer this continues the more chance of there being a cascading effect as businesses and organizations who depend on federal employees are burdened as well.
In Westchester County, reports indicate that many services may be secure until the end of February or through mid-March but this is a moving target as others apply for services. Our due diligence suggests that social services such as SNAP, housing vouchers, and school lunches, are funded through these coming months. At some point, funding will run out if the government shutdown continues. Furthermore, the inter-dependency of federal agencies for information, referrals, and data adds another level of distress to the impact.
Westchester County is a great place to live and we have heard many anecdotal stories of businesses, neighbors, and local municipalities stepping up provide temporary relief. We applaud efforts to support each other and will share any information we find.
WCA will continue to follow the shutdown with a focus on its impact on children and families. We urge our elected officials to stop holding children and families hostage and to do all that is possible to end this gridlock and relieve the strain on children here and around the country.
Read our blog post for updates from organizations, businesses, and updates about services for families and Westchester’s children.
President Donald Trump announced during a press conference today (January 25, 2019) at 4 pm that he has agreed to reopen the government and end the partial shutdown for 3 weeks. Politicians have until February 15 to come to some agreement. We are thrilled to hear this and hope that this provides decision-makers time to find a more permanent solution.
This news is a source of great relief to children and families in Westchester who have been impacted.