Rise’s parent-led organizing team is advocating for our Parents’ Platform in New York City. We’re advocating for investments that will improve community conditions, reduce family policing and build new approaches to preventing and addressing harm. We’re calling on elected representatives to target conditions—not families.
Rise has identified three priority advocacy issues for 2022-2023: child care, mandated reporting and mental health supports.
Priority 1: Provide universal child care and end ACS oversight of child care vouchers, processes and services.
Child care is a family policing issue! Lack of access to child care is linked to “neglect” reports, which lead to traumatic family policing system involvement. Rise is advocating for affordable, accessible child care for all NYC families—including respite and community-based child care to support parents in emergencies or when last-minute child care needs arise. We are calling for child care and respite care to be available without ACS involvement, and to be unaffiliated with family policing systems.
We are partnering with Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) in the campaign for universal child care and are part of the Empire State Campaign for Child Care Coalition. Over the past few months, Rise has collaborated with AQE by organizing parents to speak at and attend rallies and a press conference to influence New York State Governor Hochul’s decisions around investments in child care.
Engaging Elected Representatives
Rise has reached out to New York City and New York State elected representatives, sending them information about the connections between child care and family policing, and has started to meet with New York City Council Members to introduce our policy priorities.
The NYS budget recently passed, and there are many more milestones to achieve to make child care universal for all families. Rise is now focused on influencing how the child care investments will be implemented, including both legislation and upcoming NYC-level budget decisions. We will continue to raise awareness about this issue and advocate by engaging in social media campaigns and by publishing updates, parent reflections and interviews.
As part of our campaign, we:
- conducted a survey hear from NYC parents/caregivers and inform our strategy;
- held a virtual town hall to discuss child care and family policing;
- will resume membership meetings and community-building events to organize, engage and inform parents; and
- will continue to build partnerships with community-based and parent-led organizations.
Get involved in our campaign for universal child care!
Join our letter campaign: Currently, we are pushing members of New York City Council’s General Welfare Committee to prioritize addressing the urgent need for affordable, accessible child care for all families and to end ACS oversight of child care vouchers. This Committee has jurisdiction over New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) and ACS—two agencies that currently administer child care in NYC—and other institutions and city agencies. We are beginning to meet with members of the General Welfare Committee and are organizing a letter campaign to capture their attention and build momentum. We encourage individuals and organizations to join our letter campaign!
>> Use our toolkit (instructions and letter template) to write to members of the General Welfare Committee by July 31 and to share this information with your networks.
Raise awareness on social media: Use our toolkit by July 31 to share the results of Rise’s survey, bring attention to child care as a family policing issue and call on our elected officials to address it! The toolkit includes social media graphics for Instagram and sample Tweets.
Connect with us for updates about this issue and how to get involved:
- Sign up to join us in advocating for our Parents’ Platform.
- If your organization is interested in exploring being part of a NYC-based coalition advocating for child care accessibility, email email@example.com.
- Sign up for our newsletter and connect with us on social media @ReadRiseMag.
- New York State Budget Falls Short on Child Care Investments
- Halimah Washington at AQE Press Conference: ‘Child Care is a Family Policing Issue.’
- ‘If I had access to child care, I wouldn’t have had an ACS case.’
By Keyna Franklin, Rise Assistant Editor
- For Me, Child Care Could Be a Life Saver: ‘I’ve pushed off medical treatment because I don’t have child care, and I don’t want the hospital to call ACS.’
- Child Care is a Child Welfare Issue: Why Rise Identified Child Care as a Policy Priority
Q&A with Halimah Washington, Rise Community Coordinator, by Keyna Franklin, Rise Assistant Editor
- ‘Our Goal is Universal Child Care in NYS’: AQE’s Stevie Vargas discusses the importance of free, accessible child care—and what proposed legislation will change.
By Keyna Franklin, Rise Assistant Editor
Resources from Partner Organizations
- The Child Care Crisis in New York State (Child Care Tour Report)
Prepared by the Office of Senator Jabari Brisport and the Alliance for Quality Education
Priority 2: Replace mandated reporting with support and access to community resources.
Mandated reporting feeds families into a harmful, traumatizing system that does not support them. Rise calls for ending mandated reporting—and immediate steps must be taken to reduce reporting so that fewer families become involved with the system through hotline calls made by mandated reporters. We want NYC to implement models that are responsive to crises and provide support and a stable safety net, making community resources more accessible.
We recommend the following immediate actions in NYC:
- Require all City and City-contracted agencies to engage in organizational review processes to identify and address existing internal policies that drive staff to make hotline calls instead of directly serving and supporting families—as well as to create policies that work to address family support needs.
- NYC Department of Education should review the protocols mandated reporters in schools follow and implement a new model for supporting families when issues arise.
- Trapped in the Web of Family Policing: The Harms of Mandated Reporting and the Need for Parent-Led Approaches to Safe, Thriving Families
Article by Imani Worthy, Tracy Serdjenian and Jeanette Vega Brown of Rise published in the Family Integrity and Justice Quarterly, Spring 2022 Issue. See page 38.
- Rise letters of support of AB 2085
Rise submitted a letter to the California Assembly Public Safety Committee to support proposed legislation to amend California’s mandated reporting law. The original legislation would have eliminated mandatory reporting of “general neglect” cases. While amended legislation would not eliminate mandated reporting of neglect, it would provide opportunity for mandated reporters to connect families to community-based services, which could reduce reports and harmful system involvement; therefore, Rise submitted a second letter in support of AB 2085 as amended.
Priority 3: Invest in community-led mental health supports, including resourcing the development and implementation of peer support networks for parents in crisis.
Many parents at Rise have connected traumatic experiences of family policing to a lack of support around grief and mental health care for themselves and their families. However, quality mental health services are financially out of reach for low-income parents and children. Rise is advocating for investment in peer support models and local organizations that provide mental and behavioral health and holistic services that directly benefit children, families and communities.
Rise recommends that NYC:
- Resource the development and implementation of peer support networks for parents in crisis.
- Pilot a peer support program in neighborhoods with high rates of ACS investigations.
- Make culturally relevant, individual and family therapy and grief support readily accessible for children, adults and families.
- Someone to Turn To: A Vision for Creating Networks of Parent Peer Care
Report developed collaboratively by the Rise Peer Vision Team.
How We Developed Our Parents’ Platform
In 2021, in collaboration with TakeRoot Justice, Rise released the participatory action research report, An Unavoidable System: The Harms of Family Policing and Parents’ Vision for Investing in Community Care.
This report, based on community conversations and surveys of parents impacted by the policing system:
- documents parents’ experiences with Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), NYC’s family policing system
- explores a collective vision to transform our society’s structures, policies and practices related to family and community support
- outlines specific concrete legal, policy and budgetary changes that can be made immediately to shift away from reliance on ACS and strengthen support in communities
Following our report release, Rise held a series of eight community report-back sessions, engaging parents, parent advocates, social workers, legal providers and community members in discussions about our research findings. Through this process, Rise identified our three policy priorities for 2022-2023.