For nearly twenty years, the Center’s Child Welfare Watch project has focused on vulnerable children, youth and families. The Center tracks the economic and social wellbeing individuals and communities, examines the quality of public services, and offers constructive recommendations for reform. We are particularly interested in how poverty intersects with low-wage work, homelessness, child welfare, and the justice system. This year, our research focuses on the needs of babies and toddlers, efforts to improve the quality of family child care, the City’s continued homeless crisis, and adolescents involved in the justice and foster care systems.
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.
Report | Child Welfare
As family homelessness in New York City continues to climb and the City fights to open 90 new shelters, a new report by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School offers insight into how family shelters are missing opportunities to avert a hidden but common catastrophe of homelessness: families breaking apart.
The report, “Adrift in NYC: Family Homelessness and the Struggle to Stay Together,” sheds light on the academic research showing that homelessness and family breakup go hand in hand. Partners separate from partners. Children separate from parents – both through informal arrangements with friends and relatives as well as through mandated foster care placements. And what begins as a temporary arrangement often proves lasting. Family members who do stay together often do so against a relentless backdrop of fear that, having lost their homes, they will next lose one another.
How Children Pay the Price for Over-incarceration
By Leila Morsy and Richard Rothstein
As many as one in 10 African American students has an incarcerated parent. One in four has a parent who is or has been incarcerated. The discriminatory incarceration of African American parents is an important cause of their children’s lowered performance, especially in schools where the trauma of parental incarceration is concentrated.
'These Are People’s Lives and It Scares Me Every Day’
A Child Protective Caseworker Talks about Her Work
Recent deaths of children in families investigated by New York City child welfare services have put frontline child protective workers under intense scrutiny; last week, the City’s Department of Investigation released a report calling for improved protective services training and staffing at ACS.
Urban Matters | Mental Health
Reform or Relapse? Kids’ Medicaid Mental Health Services Hang in the Balance
By Abigail Kramer
After five years of planning and negotiation, the State’s departments of health, mental health, and substance abuse had come up with a plan to overhaul their outdated, overburdened system of mental health services for low-income kids.
Data & Statistics | Child Welfare
Watching the Numbers (2016)
A six-year statistical survey monitoring New York City's child welfare system
CLICK HERE FOR FULL SURVEY
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.
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.
Dollars and Sense: Greater Economic Security for Family Caregivers
By The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
At least 17.7 million Americans are family caregivers of someone age 65 or older – unpaid work that, with the rapid “graying of America,” has become increasingly commonplace. While many caregivers find deep personal satisfaction in such work, they also experience higher levels of anxiety and stress, resulting from the physical, emotional, and economic burdens caregiving puts on their own lives.
'We Moved So Many Times I Didn't Think It Was Strange' (2016)
By Hoa K. Vu
Roughly one out of eight New York City public school students has been homeless sometime during the past five years, according to a recent estimate by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness. With family homelessness remaining at record levels, tens of thousands of children are growing up in shelters. In her own words, one tells her story.
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.
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Report | Child Welfare
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.
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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.
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