In 2023 many children and their families are still struggling to recover from the extended COVID-19 pandemic. Children’s mental health lags as tensions in schools and our communities persist. In 2021, New York enacted the Child Poverty Reduction Act, committing the State to reducing child poverty by 50% in the coming decade with attention to racial equity. This requires attention to evidence-informed policy actions that will immediately assist New York’s children and families who are experiencing poverty. WCA urges state elected officials to act quickly on the following issues impacting children and youth in New York state.
Overview of Priorities for Westchester’s Children & Youth
- Child Poverty: Assist the more than 22,000 Westchester children and the 760,000 children across New York State at or below the federal poverty line.
- Child & Youth Homelessness: Ensure all children and families have adequate, safe, and stable housing that is affordable and sustainable to reduce the rate of homelessness among children and families based on the most inclusive definition.
- Early Childhood Supports and Home Visiting: address disparities in access to early childhood supports and home visiting services to ensure children and families have the support guidance and resources they need to create nurturing and stimulating environments for children during critical early years of life.
- Youth Justice: Reject Executive Budget proposals that revisit the components of bail reform and protect gains made in Raise The Age legislation. We must also invest in effective interventions and programs that address the underlying issues that contribute to youth involvement in the justice system and ensure that children and youth continue to be dealt with in age-appropriate ways.
- Mental Health: Increase funding and access to mental health services for every child and youth in New York.