Building Health Homes for Kids: New York’s Reforms for Children on Medicaid Finally Take Shape

By Abigail Kramer

New York has begun its ambitious project to re-engineer health care for low-income children. In a new report, Building Health Homes for Kids: New York’s Reforms for Children on Medicaid Finally Take Shape, the Center for New York City Affairs looks at the opportunities and challenges presented by the State’s first major step toward reform.


Keeping Teenagers out of Foster Care: Do Teen-Specialized Services Make a Difference?

By Abigail Kramer

In 2013, New York City launched an array of programs designed to keep teenagers out of the City’s foster care system.

The programs—known collectively as “teen-specialized preventive services”—represent a pivotal piece of the City’s ongoing child welfare reform agenda: to keep whittling down the number of kids who enter foster care by providing intensive, evidence-based therapy to families in crisis.      


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Our six years of key indicators spotlight trends in New York City’s foster care and preventive services systems.

Full Survey

What's Needed for '3-K for All' and Child Care Centers to Work and Play Well Together?

By Kendra Hurley

IN LATE APRIL Mayor Bill de Blasio announced two new plans that could determine the future of the country’s largest child care system for poor and low-income families. 

Will the new plans further disrupt a child care system still reeling from challenges that arose from pre-K expansion, including a roughly 20 percent decline in enrollment of 4-year-olds since the expansion? Or might they, present a key opportunity for the DOE to identify and address those challenges? 


Brief | Child Welfare

ACS IN OVERDRIVE: Since the Death of a Harlem 6-Year-Old, Are Fewer Families Getting the Help They Need?

After a series of widely publicized child deaths in 2016, New York City's child welfare system continues to struggle under a glut of new cases.

In response to a surge in child abuse and neglect reports, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) has drastically increased the number of families it brings into the system, filing more cases in Family Court and placing more children in foster care.

Caseloads among the workers responsible for investigating and monitoring families are significantly up. Family Court is overwhelmed, exacerbating its chronic problems of delayed and cancelled hearings. And lawyers for ACS-involved parents say that families are sitting on waitlists—sometimes for weeks—for preventive service programs designed to help stabilize and supervise kids' safety at home.


A six-year statistical survey monitoring New York City's child welfare system (2016)


Urban Matters | Child Welfare

Why Child Protective Investigations Can Make Parents Fearful and Put Kids at Risk (2016)

By Jeanette Vega

In many big cities the number of children entering foster care has dropped dramatically while the number of families receiving support services has grown. But across the country, just as many families continue to be the subject of child protective investigations; across the country, more than three million children are the subjects of such investigations each year. 


Urban Matters | Child Welfare

How 'Growing Up NYC' Aims to Improve the Lives of Children (2016)

By Richard Buery

New York City is home to almost three million children, youth, and young adults under the age of 24. The City is committed to helping each of those young people thrive at each stage of their childhood and grow up to become healthy and happy adults. To help us get there, the City’s Children’s Cabinet has launched Growing Up NYC: a unified vision for promoting the well-being of children and young adults. 


Report | Child Welfare

Executive Summary
Bringing It All Home: Problems and Possibilities Facing NYC's Family Child Care (2016)

By Kendra Hurley with Janie Ziye Shen 
In 2012, NYC launched one of the country's largest experiments in raising the quality of subsidized family child care. More than three years since the launch of EarlyLearnNYC, we investigated what has worked and what has not.


Report | Child Welfare

Is Reform Finally Coming to New York City Family Court? (2016)

By Abigail Kramer
While delay and dysfunction plague Family Court child protective cases, a combination of factors has opened a window for reform. 


Report | Child Welfare, Child Care

Baby & Toddler Takeoff (2015)

By Kendra Hurley, Abigail Kramer and Bruce Cory with Evan Pellegrino and Gail Robinson
With nearly 15 million new dollars earmarked in the 2016 city budget for the social and emotional health of the youngest New Yorkers, the city's growing interest in what's often called "infant mental health" is undeniable. This report offers the first comprehensive look at New York's key new goals and efforts to protect the well-being of babies and toddlers.  


Report | Child Welfare, Homelessness

In Need of Shelter: Protecting the city’s youngest children from the traumas of homelessness (2015)

By Kendra Hurley and Abigail Kramer 
This Child Welfare Watch report describes the stresses that homelessness puts on families with young children, and explores the discontinuity between the large number of young children in the shelter system and the dearth of services available to them.

Story | Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice

Closing in on 'Close to Home': 
NYC to Open New Juvenile Justice Homes (2015)

After more than two years of delays and postponements, New York City officials say they will move forward this month with a long-promised reform of the biggest municipal juvenile justice system in the nation.


Data | Child Welfare


A six-year statistical survey monitoring New York City's child welfare system (2015)


Baby Steps: Poverty, chronic stress, and NY’s youngest children (2014)

By Andrew White, Kendra Hurley, and Abigail Kramer
We look at the science of early childhood development—and we illuminate how supportive, nurturing caregivers can buffer children from the negative impacts of early adversity, including the ambient stress that so often accompanies intractable poverty.


Brushes With The Law:
Young New Yorkers and the Criminal Justice System (2013)

By Andrew White, Kendra Hurley, and Abigail Kramer
In the final year under the administration of Mayor Bloomberg, who has made juvenile justice one of the signature issues of his time in office, we consider the progress of reforms and the places where they’ve been stymied. And we look at the impact on communities that have long been destabilized by cycles of crime, police scrutiny, arrest and incarceration. 


One Step Back: The Delayed Dream of Community Partnerships (2012)

By Andrew White, Kendra Hurley, and Abigail Kramer
This edition looks at the progress of the city’s community partnerships, at their accomplishments as well as their very real limitations, and at the vision they still represent for a child welfare system that answers to the communities it’s designed to serve.


In Transition: A better future for youth leaving foster care (2011)

By Andrew White, Clara Hemphill, Kendra Hurley, and Abigail Kramer
This special double edition of Child Welfare Watch reports that homelessness and severe economic hardship are widespread for young people aging out of New York City foster care.


A Need for Correction: 
Reforming New York's Juvenile Justice System (2009)

By Andrew White, Clara Hemphill, and Kendra Hurley
In the wake of a federal Department of Justice investigation that found widespread use of excessive force by staff at four OCFS facilities upstate, this new report identifies shortcomings in mental health services and explores possible solutions, including the expansion of alternatives to incarceration for juvenile delinquents.


Hard Choices: Caring for the children of mentally ill parents (2009)

By Andrew White, Clara Hemphill, Kendra Hurley, Ann Farmer, and Maia Szalavitz
A joint report with the Center for an Urban Future documenting the issues facing poor and working class parents with mental illness and their children.


Homes Away From Home: Foster Parents For A New Generation (2008)

By Andrew White, Kendra Hurley, Barbara Solow, Ann Farmer, Laura Longhine, and Helaine Olen
This issue documents how foster parents are adjusting to their increasingly demanding role, and how the system is struggling to meet their needs—as well as those of the children in their care, which may include anything from mental health care to prenatal care and parenting programs for pregnant teens. 


Against the Clock: The Struggle to Move Kids into Permanent Homes (2008) 

By Andrew White, Kendra Hurley, Barbara Solow, Kathleen Carroll, Keach Hagey, Kim Nauer, Joan Oleck, Helaine Olen
This issue explores the challenges of moving the city’s foster children into safe, permanent homes quickly, a decade after federal laws sought to improve foster care systems nationwide.


Pressures and Possibilities: 
Supporting Families and Children at Home (2007)

By Andrew White, Kendra Hurley, Barbara Solow, Eve Heyn, Nora McCarthy
This issue published jointly with the Center for an Urban Future, explores the transformation of the city’s network of nonprofit family support agencies as they become increasingly central to the Bloomberg administration’s strategy for protecting children from abuse and neglect.


Half Full, Half Empty: Children and Families with Special Needs (2007)

This issue of describes the impact of a longstanding dispute that has left children and families without the respite care, in-home assistance and other family supports that can help make it possible for young people with disabilities to live healthy and more fulfilling lives.


The Innovation Issue: New Initiatives in New York Child Welfare (2005)

This issue of Child Welfare Watch highlights some of the new initiatives that are improving parental visits for children in foster care, providing homes where families can reunify after children have been removed from the home, and creating much-needed pilot mental health clinics in foster care agencies.