Commentary

Budget Rundown: How Kids and Families Fared

By Michael Kink

This year's state budget was approved in Albany late last week, and it looks like a pretty good year for children and families. Some of the highlights of this year's state budget include: a second year of double-digit increases in child care funding, a new program to recruit and retain child care workers, another multi-billion-dollar increase in education spending, and big new increases for after-school, youth employment and home visiting programs. Here's a quick rundown:

CHILD CARE

  • A $119.5 million increase in funding for subsidies in the Child Care Block Grant (CCBG) to a total of $764 million.
  • New funding should result in the creation of 28,000 new child care subsidies for low-income working families.
  • A new $40 million child care worker recruitment and retention program to address the crisis in child care staff turnover.
  • An additional $15 million in capital funding for the building of new or rehabilitation of existing day care centers.
  • A $3 million expansion of the child and dependent care tax credit to about $25 million per year.

CHILD WELFARE SERVICES

  • A $20 million increase in funding for Juvenile Delinquency and Persons in Need of Supervision (JD/PINS) funding bringing total funding from $60 million to $80 million.
  • A $1 million increase for Child Welfare Caseworker Education and Training.
  • A $2 million increase for Settlement Houses.
  • A $2.3 million for a rate increase for the Medical Assistance per diem paid to residential foster care providers for children1s medical and mental health needs.
  • A 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for foster care and preventive service's voluntary staff.
  • A $3 million increase in adoption subsidies.
  • A $500,000 increase to $2 million for Child Advocacy Centers that provide medical and mental health treatment for children who are suspected victims of child sexual abuse and coordinate investigations of suspected child abuse in child-friendly settings.

PUBLIC SCHOOL AID

  • A record $13.6 billion education budget.
  • A 2% increase in operating aid for all school districts.
  • A $228 million for construction and renovation programs.
  • Full funding of initiatives to reduce class size in the early grades and to bring universal pre-K to all children in the state.
  • At least $20.2 million for extended school day safety and violence prevention programs for children in K-12.
  • Over $6 million in new funding to stimulate the development of charter schools.

ADVANTAGE SCHOOLS

  • A $15 million increase to $20 million to Governor Pataki1s after-school initiative, Advantage Schools, quadrupling its budget.

HOME VISITING PROGRAM

  • A $10.2 million increase in funding for the Home Visiting Program, which targets the families of newborns and provides health and social supports to families at-risk of neglecting their children, bringing the HVP total to $16.4 million.
  • Added funding will allow for the program to begin operation in up to ten new locations in the next year.

YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS

  • $35 million to fund the Summer Youth Employment Program in New York, which had been previously been funded through federal initiatives that have been consolidated as part of the Work Incentives Improvement Act.
  • A new $4.3 million Youth Education and Employment program intended to help at-risk youth stay in school.

PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAMS

  • A $39 million increase in tobacco education and enforcement activities to $42 million including enhanced anti-smoking efforts with community and school-based education programs.
  • Consolidation of $14.9 million in teen abstinence and pregnancy prevention efforts within the Department of Health including the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program ($7.3 million) and the Out-of Wedlock Pregnancy Prevention Program ($2.0 million), and the Teen Abstinence and Pregnancy Prevention Program ($2.6 million).
  • An increase of $7 million for school-based health centers.
  • $5 million for expansion of New York1s newborn HIV screening program.

CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

  • A landmark expansion of funding for children1s mental health services.
  • Expansion of community-based treatment for children in the Home and Community-Based Waiver program -- $14 million for over 300 new slots
  • New case management services for 4,000+ children -- $3.7 million.
  • Expansion of family based treatment for children who need highly trained host families for a limited time period -- $2.4 million for 125 more slots.
  • New grants for Family Support Services -- $2 million to serve 1,000+ families.
  • $1.3 million to expand clinical services for juvenile offenders in OCFS facilities.
  • 112 new Community Residence beds for children.

YOUTH SERVICES

  • A $1.6 million increase for the Youth Development Delinquency Prevention program (YDDP) to $33.2 million
  • Steady funding for the Special Delinquency Prevention program (SDP) at $10.4 million.
  • A $500,000 increase for the Runaway and Homeless Youth program to $5.8 million.

ALCOHOLISM AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES

  • $5 million to develop up to 100 residential treatment beds for adolescents and women with children to keep families together and reduce the number of children in foster care while their mothers seek addiction treatment.

NUTRITION SERVICES

  • A $2 million expansion of the WIC state supplement from $29.3 million to $31.3 million.
  • An additional $4 million in TANF funds for food pantries to a total of $16 million.

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