Legislators and Advocates Hold Press Conference at State Capitol in Support of Children and Families Reinvestment Act

Legislation would establish a dedicated funding stream for community-based primary prevention programs, expand access to Child Tax Credits, improve New York’s childcare system, and bring economic stability to low-income families

Albany, NY – Today, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and Senator Jabari Brisport were joined by fellow legislators and advocates in the State Capitol to call for a package of legislation and series of budget priorities that will support the healthy development and well-being of all New York children and provide parents and caretakers with vital supports that lift incomes and promote economic security.

The legislative and budget proposals are components of the Children and Families Reinvestment Act that will significantly improve the lives of child and families across the state by:

  • Creating a Child and Family Well-being Fund for primary prevention. A flexible funding system that would bolster community assets and create opportunities to fund new programs in historically underfunded communities that are particularly vulnerable to child welfare system involvement.
  • Reinstating open-ended reimbursement for prevention services at the original rate of 75/25. This broad array of services for children and families – which includes housing and childcare supports, assistance in obtaining basic household goods and counseling – are designed to keep families facing crisis intact through the provision of supports and prevent the need for further involvement with the child welfare system.
  • Infusing funds into chronically underfunded child welfare programs. The CFRA includes a series of budget proposals that would ensure that counties have resources needed to respond to the needs of children and families facing child welfare system involvement, including but not limited to resources to fund programs that support family members as foster parents, housing subsidies, and workforce supports.
  • Lifting incomes by expanding and strengthening New York’s Empire State Child Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Universal Basic Income Pilots. The CFRA calls for a number of actions state leaders can take to expand on existing tax relief and income lifting programs that would provide meaningful and permanent support for families, and ensure that families who are not currently reached such as immigrant households may be supported through these initiatives.
  • Taking essential next steps toward stabilizing and transforming the New York childcare system. The CFRA outlines several actions that must be taken this year to move toward a universal childcare system in New York State by making vital compensation improvements to the essential childcare workforce and addressing existing barriers to access for immigrant households and families receiving public assistance.

Over the last few years of the pandemic, financial supports such as the federal Child Tax Credit and direct cash assistance have helped safeguard families against the stressors of financial hardship. As such programs have eroded, New York state has a responsibility to ensure that investments in programs that are proven to have an impact on child and family well-being – including childcare, income supports, child welfare prevention, and more -- are prioritized.

These proposals are a critical response to the heightened needs of children, families and communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are necessary to reverse over a decade of damaging austerity measures and cuts to programs for children.

“The victories from last year's Children and Families Reinvestment Act, CFRA, demonstrated an across-the-board understanding that New York has been failing families for decades -- and it showed we have the political will on our side to make things right. Our coalition today stands stronger than it ever has, and we're calling for full implementation of each request in the second iteration of CFRA. This will repair years of chronic disinvestment, strengthen families, uplift providers, and make New York a beacon for children and families services,” said Andrew Hevesi, Chair, Assembly Committee on Children and Families.

“In one of the richest places on earth, with more billionaires than any other state in the nation, the fact that anyone would claim we can’t afford these basic measures to protect and care for children should be considered nothing short of scandalous. What we can’t afford is to stand by while our childcare sector collapses and while families are being ripped apart simply because they lack resources,” said Jabari Brisport, Chair, Senate Committee on Children and Families.

“Many families across the state are struggling to make ends meet. This especially includes my Bronx constituents. If we are going to support the well-being of families, we must provide essential services that will allow parents to care for themselves and their children. The Children and Families Reinvestment Act is a critical step towards providing the necessary relief and economic stability to working families. I am proud to support this package, as it will greatly benefit our communities,” said Assemblyman Kenny Burgos.

“I am proud to support the Children and Families Reinvestment Act (CFRA) because New Yorkers deserve a state that invests in human capital and the supportive services that our children and families so desperately need. The CFRA’s multi-pronged approach rightfully begins to address the historical inadequacies of New York’s childcare support systems, and will contribute to the positive growth of all New York children,” said Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre.

“The federal Child Tax Credit in 2021 lifted 2.9 million children out of poverty throughout the country, improving health and education outcomes. Now two years later, these payments have ended, but we cannot afford the negative consequences of New York children and families sliding back into poverty. We need to continue our commitment to families and provide opportunities for economic stability and mobility. The Children and Family Reinvestment Act package of legislation is a necessary step to provide that support, especially to vulnerable, chronically underfunded communities, for housing, childcare assistance, counseling and basic needs. In addition to infusing much needed funds into child welfare programs, this act will ensure the essential workforce of our childcare system, ensuring that those who care for our state's children also receive the care they need and deserve.” said Assemblymember Anna Kelles.

“Children and families are New York's most important resources. The Children and Families Reinvestment Act is a package of legislation and budget priorities we must pass to achieve equity and healthier outcomes for all New Yorkers, starting with our childcare ecosystem that has long been unsustainable for both families and providers, and is now hanging on by a thread, said Assemblywoman Sarah Clark. “Caregiving wages are too low, exacerbating a workforce shortage and rates are too high, so parents struggle to return to jobs and careers. We also know too many families are struggling across the state with high costs and economic insecurity.

Programs that help children and parents in crisis have been chronically underfunded for years. When we don’t invest in child welfare and prevention programs, far too often our system criminalizes poverty instead of supporting our families. It’s time for our state to lead through bold and transformational change and it starts with passing the CFRA. Thank you to Chair Hevesi and all our colleagues standing here today to demand better for New York families.”

“New York State childcare has seen historic investments in the last two years, but there is still more work to do. When our families have reliable, affordable childcare, parents can stay in the workforce and provide for their families, while kids benefit socially and emotionally. I'm proud to support the Children and Families Reinvestment Act to help ease the burden on parents and providers, and improve the lives of our children,” said Assemblywoman Jen Lunsford.

“New Yorkers are leaders. We are the progressive bastion of the nation, but for too long we have failed to lead for children and families. The Child and Family Reinvestment Act is the ambitious vision the people of this state deserve. I am proud to co-sponsor this plan to put more money back in the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers, and make childcare more affordable,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney.

“As a member of the Standing Committee on Children and Families, I have a responsibility to ensure that the Assembly helps meet the needs of the youngest and most vulnerable New Yorkers we represent. We know that direct investments in children and their caregivers have myriad positive social and economic knock-on effects. We’ve seen how early pandemic-era federal programs like the Child Tax Credit and direct cash assistance helped lift so many families out of poverty, and it’s time for the state to take up similar initiatives now that the federal programs have ended. I call on my colleagues to pass the bills in the Children and Families Reinvestment Act and include vital investments to New York’s children and families in our FY2024 budget,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas.

“Despite the real progress we made in last year's budget, the cost and availability of childcare remains a crisis for my constituents and families across New York. At a time when the cost of living is rising and economic security seems further out of reach for so many, the Children and Families Reinvestment is our roadmap for truly supporting the next generation of New Yorkers and the hard-working parents who raise them,” said Assemblymember Emily Gallagher.

“New York's families face serious and unacceptable social-economic inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and state leaders must take immediate action to address these pressing issues and promote an equitable recovery," said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens' Committee for Children of New York (CCC). "Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York thanks Assemblymember Hevesi and Senator Brisport for recognizing the urgent need to strengthen primary and general child welfare prevention services, increase access to childcare, and expand programs that lift incomes such as New York’s Empire State Child Credit, the State Earned Income Tax Credit, and Universal Basic Income Pilots. We look forward to working with state leaders to ensure the Fiscal Year 2024 budget brings a more holistic range of supports to promote the healthy development and well-being of New York's children and keeps families safely and firmly together.”

“The Child and Family Reinvestment Act is a bold step toward supporting strong families across New York State at a critical time. This is about racial justice, economic mobility, community health and public safety. To realize our collective New York Dream, our State’s budget must include new investments that meet families’ needs and reflect community demands. That means establishing a new Child and Family Well-Being Fund, investing in supports for families who have contact with the child welfare system, expanding and strengthening child tax credits and guaranteed income pilots, and delivering on the promise of childcare for working families. The time is now, and we are proud to stand with Assembly Member Hevesi and Senator Brisport in this comprehensive vision for children and families,” said Julia L. Davis, Director of Youth Justice and Child Welfare, Children’s Defense Fund-New York.

“Families thrive when they can count on economic security, childcare and vibrant community programming that brings joy and wonder into their lives. This bill brings critical reinvestment to neighborhoods where families are under stress. It activates local leaders and community networks to wrap together around families. Research shows that these investments to protect against economic setbacks and to strengthen the social fabric can directly reduce child welfare involvement, a source of trauma. The Child and Family Reinvestment Act will reverse over-spending on crisis intervention and set families up to flourish,” said Nora McCarthy, Co-Founder, NYC Family Policy Project.

“Here's what we know. Investing in children brings strong returns, and preventing problems from becoming severe helps keep families and communities strong. The Child and Family Reinvestment Act represents smart, thoughtful investment in children, families, and communities. The Child and Family Wellbeing Fund would infuse much-needed resources into communities that have been most-impacted by child welfare investigations to strengthen families and neighborhoods. Family-serving, community-based programs would be funded with the aim of supporting and strengthening families and keeping them together. New York families are struggling; what are we waiting for?” said Kate Breslin, President & CEO, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy