“I am devastated by the abrupt, violent pulling of this program,” said Jonathan McLean, chief executive officer of the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services, at a City Hall rally Tuesday.
In April 2022, THE CITY’s MISSING THEM project—along with Columbia Journalism Investigations, Type Investigations and City Limits—published a story that revealed that more than 8,600 New York City children have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID, a population that would entirely fill 15 average-size city schools.
“New York City’s Department of Education recommends schools spend just $80.15 per student on arts education—yet school leaders can use that money for other classes and programs, often resulting in the total elimination of arts programming in a school.”
Liz Donovan, Sam Rabiyah and Muriel Alarcón |
More than 8,700 children in New York City are grieving a parent or caregiver who died of COVID. Here are some of their favorite memories, and what they wish others knew.
“Reaching children at much earlier ages to teach them about healthy relationships and how to identify abuse will provide them with the foundations to safety and resiliency and provide our youngest New Yorkers with an additional layer of protection against harm.”
At a virtual rally on Sunday, parents, young people and advocates in the city and across the state shared stories about the impact of the pandemic and renewed calls for elected officials to invest more in behavioral health programs and services for children and teens, which experts say have been underfunded for years and are now at a breaking point, with increased demand spurred by the coronavirus crisis.
Undocumented teens cannot apply to New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), which advocates say offers a number of educational and economic benefits. “For some, it’s as simple as a summer job that provides them with extra income but for others, it can be the start of a lifelong career.”
Youth and advocates are optimistic, saying Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget takes important steps to expand resources, but that more needs to be done to make up for years of ‘chronic underfunding’ across the system.
The de Blasio administration has proposed an increase in spending for student mental health initiatives, but advocates and council members are pushing for more.
‘Investing in mentorship is not just a moral imperative. It is a wise business decision. Bringing in young people disrupts group think, provides a diversity of opinions, develops our future workforce, and yields economic benefits.’