February 2, 2022
COFCCA submitted testimony to the Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees for their Joint Legislative Hearing about the New York State 2021/2022 budget. We advocated in support of the proposed 5.4% Human Services Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), increased funding to raise foster care worker wages, annual increases for the state-set foster care rate, and funding for the NYS Child Welfare Worker Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness programs.
New York Human Services Testimony 2/2/22
For video of our oral testimony, see our Facebook page: Budget Testimony Feb 2 2022
January 6, 2022 – COFCCA Statement on Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State
Our state is entering a new year with new leadership, and we appreciate Governor Kathy Hochul’s first State of the State address putting forward a positive vision of New York’s future.
We are thrilled to see the Governor’s commitment to invest $500 million for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) to help raise wages for human services workers. Human Services workers have been on the front lines of the pandemic, essential workers supporting New York’s children and families tirelessly each day. We applaud Governor Hochul for this recognition of their efforts; it is significant and appreciated.
This is a good start in supporting the child and family-assisting workforce in New York, and yet we have significant additional work ahead, in partnership with the state, given the extreme challenges our programs are experiencing with staff recruitment and retention. If we want our state’s families to be strengthened and our children kept safe, we cannot continue to under-support the professionals who are doing this challenging work, or the adults stepping in to serve as foster parents for those children with myriad needs.
The pandemic has shown us where we need to make improvements for the safety and well-being of New York’s children and families, to strengthen the workforce providing human services and child welfare services, and build up supports youth and young adults need to push our great state’s progress into the future. The Governor’s address makes clear, and we agree, the crisis has highlighted opportunities for transformational change in how we work, learn, and live.
We look forward to collaborating with Governor Hochul and her team in addressing the needs of our member agencies as we assert New York’s position as a leader in supporting children and families.
December 30, 2021 – COFCCA Statement on Appointment of Jess Dannhauser as ACS Commissioner
Congratulations to Jess Dannhauser, the next Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) as announced today by Mayor-elect Eric Adams. Jess has been an outstanding leader in our field, most recently as President & CEO at Graham Windham, and an innovative and passionate voice for Fair Futures—a critically important mentorship program for all youth in foster care through their young adulthood. He is deeply committed to children and their families and we are excited to work alongside him in this new role.
We applaud Mayor-Elect Adams for this outstanding choice of ACS Commissioner. We look forward to working with Commissioner Dannhauser and with the Adams administration on the important priorities ahead of us, including advancing equity and addressing the disproportionate representation of Black and Brown families in the child welfare system; supporting and recognizing the essential child welfare and human services workforce; promoting positive outcomes for our youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and strengthening families with community-based supports and services to avoid child welfare involvement whenever possible.
October 25, 2021
COFCCA submitted testimony to the New York City Council General Welfare Committee’s Hearing on pending legislation. We spoke of agencies’ need for advance notice of visitors to maintain safety in juvenile justice placement and detention programs and encouraged the Council to “count” time spent in Runaway/Homeless Youth and Transitional Independent Living programs when determining rental assistance eligibility.
NYC Committee on General Welfare testimony 10 25 21
June 17, 2021 – Statement on the SCOTUS Ruling in Fulton v. Philadelphia
Today the Supreme Court issued their decision in Fulton v. Philadelphia, a limited ruling that may have broader implications for families, children and youth, and those interested in fostering or adopting children. We are deeply concerned about how this ruling is being portrayed and interpreted, and the implications it has for the future.
We stand with the LGBTQIA+ community. We believe child welfare should support and affirm LGBTQIA+ children and youth, parents, foster parents and adoptive parents. We appreciate and value our LGBTQIA+ foster families in New York State and across the country who have chosen to foster and adopt, and we are committed to fighting for equal rights for all families.
June 14, 2021
COFCCA submitted testimony to the New York City Council General Welfare Committee’s Oversight Hearing on The Child Welfare System During COVID-19. We requested the Council look at how contracts could be restructured to offer line-item flexibility during emergencies, add funding to allow contract agencies to pay their workers on par with the City workforce by restoring the 3% COLA, and provide financial resources to support City racial equity and social justice mandates.
Testimony NYC City Council General Welfare 6 14 21 Child Welfare During COVID-19
May 25, 2021
COFCCA submitted testimony to the New York City Council Committee on Finance on the Final Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2022. We requested the Council invest more in the Human Services workforce, increase and baseline Fair Futures funding, and thanked the Council for their support in increasing the number of Family Enrichment Centers and baselining the Indirect Cost Rate.
COFCCA City Council testimony on final FY22 executive budget 5 25 21pdf
March 17, 2021
COFCCA submitted testimony to the New York City Council Committee on General Welfare Oversight Hearing on the Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2022. We advocated for committing to level funding (at a minimum) for Prevention services, supporting and expanding the availability of Family Enrichment Centers, reinstating the COLA for city human services contractors at a minimum of 3%, fully restoring and funding the Indirect Cost Rate, and baselining Fair Futures at $20M, along with a few additional issues.
NYC General Welfare FY22 Budget Testimony 3 17 21
March 2, 2021
COFCCA submitted testimony to the New York City Council Committee on Finance Hearing, held jointly with the Committee on Contracts and the Subcommittee on Capital Budget, regarding the New York City 2020/2021 budget. We advocated for reinstating the 3% COLA for city human services contractors, providing funding for emergency pay for front-line workers, and reinstating Indirect Cost Rate funding.
NYC 2021 Contracts and Finance 3 2 21 COFCCA Testimony
February 9, 2021
COFCCA submitted testimony to the Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees for their Joint Legislative Hearing about the New York State 2020/2021 budget. We advocated for protecting state preventive services funding and for ensuring that the state continues to support staff working in child welfare and juvenile justice programs, among other items.
2 9 21 COFCCA Final Human Services Testimony
For the video of the testimony and Q & A, see our Facebook page: Budget Testimony Feb 9 2021
November 25, 2020
COFCCA submitted testimony to the NYC Council Committee on Contracts for their hearing about the Indirect Cost Rate Initiative During the COVID-19 Pandemic. We supported the full payment of agencies’ approved indirect costs (items and staff that support agencies’ direct service programs), as promised, in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
NYC Committee on Contracts testimony 11 25 20 – COFCCA
November 24, 2020
COFCCA submitted testimony to the NYC Council General Welfare Committee for their hearing on the Foster Care Task Force and Int. No. 148, a bill to increase access to housing vouchers for youth transitioning from foster care. COFCCA testimony supported the bill and encouraged the City to also include Runaway/Homeless Youth (RHY) service recipients who have the same needs.
NYC General Welfare oversight testimony 11 24 20 – COFCCA
October 28, 2020
COFCCA testified at the NYC Council General Welfare Committee’s hearing on Racial Disparities in the Child Welfare System. COFCCA advocated for more supports to families to prevent child welfare involvement while maintaining child and family safety and well-being.
Testimony NYC City Council 10 28 20 Racial Equity
June 2, 2020 – Special Statement from Jim Purcell, President and CEO, on behalf of COFCCA
The Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies and our member agencies stand in unity with those among us who have been oppressed and victimized. The nonprofit organizations which comprise the membership of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies work every day to strengthen families and children, most of whom are poor, disadvantaged, and too often discounted by our society in countless ways. So very many of these families are people of color who continue to face the added trauma of fear of the kinds of tragedies we saw so vividly in Minneapolis a few days ago. We cannot be silent. All of us must stand up and speak clearly on behalf of our clients, our staff, our communities, and ourselves. The murder of George Floyd by a police officer is unacceptable in a sane and fair society. And that coming after a list of similar travesties, this is not just one more. We need to demand that it be the last one. This evil must stop, and those responsible must be held accountable.
And lest we think “this is so far away” let us note the reprehensible video of the white woman confronting an African American man in Central Park, making a clearly false report to the police. Her demonstration of white privilege was a clear example of the work we need to do. That being said, while we are concerned about public safety during times of civil unrest, we must never take the focus off of the brutal behavior of the officer who sparked the flames of outrage and protests.
This has been a horrible time in our country. There is a dangerous virus infecting millions and killing so many, including, once again, a disproportionate number of black and brown people. Millions are out of work, with serious questions of how long it will take for the economy to replace those jobs. This is not the time to be meeting budget challenges by making cuts which will continue the disinvestment in these communities. Our society, and our government, must not turn their backs on those most severely hurt by all of these disasters. We have learned much working with traumatized children. We have learned that with a little support and guidance they can be amazingly resilient. As Martin Luther King Jr once said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” That is true. It is up to us to bend the arc much faster.
November 21, 2019
COFCCA testified at a NYS Assembly hearing on “Family Involvement in the Child Welfare and Family Court System.” The hearing was convened by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Chair of the NYS Assembly Committee on Children and Families, and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, Chair of the NYS Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues. COFCCA advocated for:
- restoration of state funding for preventive services to 65%, up from the current commitment of 62%, and a request to use that money (about $20 million) to support counties that want to use evidence-based models available for partial federal funding under the Family First Act;
- increased state funding for primary prevention, including the Community Optional Preventive Services (COPS) program;
- removal of KinGAP from the Foster Care Block Grant, making KinGAP its own stand-alone funding stream and therefore incentivizing counties’ use of it; and
- raising pay of our child welfare staff statewide, citing low salaries and high turnover.
October 31, 2019
Testimony regarding a raft of bills to monitor and make some changes to the manner in which ACS does their work. COFCCA testimony focused on the proposed changes to legal services for parents.
Testimony for 10 31 19
March 25, 2019
Testimony regarding how to provide services to the highest needs youth in our care in response to concerns about the Children’s Center.
Testimony for 3 25
January 28, 2019
COFCCA testified at the Higher Education Budget Hearing; COFCCA requested increased funding for The New York State Child Welfare Worker Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program and The NYS Child Welfare Worker Incentive Scholarship Program, programs funded through the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) to support our child welfare workforce in its pursuit of higher education.
1 28 19 COFCCA Higher Ed Testimony 2019
January 24, 2019
COFCCA testified at the Human Services state budget hearing; COFCCA’s testimony centered around the need to invest in the state’s child welfare workforce, to support the field’s implementation for the new federal child welfare law, the Family First Prevention Services Act, and to make necessary capital investments for health and safety improvements in residential programs, and expressed support for other related child welfare budget priorities.
1 24 19 COFCCA Human Services Testimony