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.

 

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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:

  1. 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;
  2. increased state funding for primary prevention, including the Community Optional Preventive Services (COPS) program;
  3. 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
  4. raising pay of our child welfare staff statewide, citing low salaries and high turnover.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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NYC Council, General Welfare and Committee on Higher Education
James F. Purcell, CEO, Testimony presented on Higher Education Opportunities for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
NYC 2017 Gen Welfare and Higher Ed

NYS Committee on Children and Families
James F. Purcell, CEO, Testimony presented on Supports for Foster Parents and Relative and Non-Relative Caregivers
NYS 2017 Children and Families Supports for Caregivers

NYS Human Services Budget 
James F. Purcell, CEO Testimony before the NYS Assembly
2 6 18 COFCCA Human Services Budget Testimony PDF