Schuyler Center releases State of New York’s Children 2022
A new analysis finds New York children facing a variety of challenges that have been worsened by the pandemic.
The non-profit Schuyler Center for Advocacy and Analysis held its State of New York’s Children 2022 data briefing Tuesday, outlining the effects of poverty on children’s social, emotional, and cognitive well-being, ongoing racial discrimination in employment, housing, and education, and the ill effects of the high cost of child care on children and families.
Center Director of Policy Dede Hill says in order to thrive, children need strong and economically stable families, healthy bodies and minds, safe homes and communities, and a sound education.
"Unfortunately, these past two COVID years have caused tremendous disruption in all aspects of children's lives and the toll has been heavy," Hill said. "More than nearly 7,200 New York children have lost a parent or primary caregiver to COVID-19. And that data is from June of 2021. So those numbers are unfortunately likely higher. And of course, many more have lost grandparents, aunts, uncles, beloved teachers, family, friends."
Hill says although federal and state government quickly rolled out interventions that buffered families and children from the harshest impacts of the pandemic, COVID-19 brought hunger to a new level.
"Food insecurity remains high even as we've begun to emerge from what we hope is the worst of the pandemic," said hill. "An early December Census Pulse survey tells us that 13% of New York adults reported or have reported that there was sometimes or often not enough food in their households. And national data tell us that there are significant racial inequities in food security. And insecurity is especially high among Black and Hispanic families."
Center Policy Analyst Crystal Charles says two years into the pandemic, young people are facing myriad crises.
"The pandemic hit transition age and former foster youth hard," Charles said. "Respondents in a 2021 survey reported experiencing challenges that caused them to fall behind or abandoned education, unmet medical and behavioral health needs, unstable and substandard living situations. Food insecurity, underemployment and low wage jobs and emotion emotional and physical repercussions of enduring chronic stress. Many of us will find any number of these issues familiar. But the major difference is on top of these issues, transition age and former foster youth tend to lack the family supports many of us take for granted. Absent from the governor's state of the state was any mention of the children and families involved in the child welfare system. These New Yorkers are facing the most daunting challenges."
Charles did praise Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul's proposal to eliminate the $9 monthly premium in the Child Health Plus program for some families with low income, and says barriers to health insurance, including Medicaid, should be removed.
The report found that the child care sector — and all early childhood services — are on the verge of collapse after years of underinvestment, compounded by the added costs created by the pandemic. It credits "historic levels of federal child care stimulus funds" with keeping those services afloat, and concludes "the only way to ensure equitable access to high quality early childhood care and education is to treat—and fund—these services not as a private privilege, but as a public good."
Click HERE to read the report.