Letter to the Editor – Saving Our Childrens Services
August 9, 2011
By NYC Council Speaker Christine Queens
Thanks to your support, the City Council was able to provide $42 million for childcare in the Fiscal Year 2012 Adopted Budget. This, together with the $42 million in funding that the Mayor added to the executive budget, saved 257 classrooms, 6 day care centers, hundreds of provider slots and vouchers for 8,900 school-age children.
We were also able to provide approximately $13 million in funding for a wide range of after-school programs, including the City's Out-of-School Time (OST) Program.
And we were able to maintain our strong support for a number of programs and initiatives aimed at keeping our children as safe and healthy as possible, including:
•Children Under Five Initiative ($1.25 million) – There's nothing more important than the health and happiness of our City's children. Through this initiative, the City Council will work closely with community-based health clinics around the city to provide mental health screenings and counseling to children five years of age or younger.
• Child Health Clinics ($5 million) – Thousands of children and families lack health insurance and a regular physician and must turn to child health clinics for primary and preventive care. This $5 million allocation will help make sure that these clinics remain open and up-to-date, providing enhanced levels of access and the best quality care to the children and families that come through their doors.
• Obesity Intervention ($1.3 million) – Childhood obesity is fast becoming the greatest public health challenge facing our city today. $1.3 million has been awarded to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to help curb and prevent obesity in New Yorkers of all ages. Specifically, funding will be used to support obesity prevention programs that provide education and physical fitness to children.
• Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative ($2.5 million) – Although the City's infant mortality rate is lower than the national rate, it still remains disproportionately high among certain groups and communities. As part of this initiative, the City Council will work closely with community-based organizations in high-need neighborhoods to provide health education workshops, outreach, referral services, case management and other healthy activities to mothers and their newborns.
• Asthma Control Program ($500,000) – New York City has some of the highest asthma rates in the country, particularly among children. $500,000 has been awarded to DHMH for the continuation of its pest control program, which works with pest control agencies to rid apartments and homes of cockroaches, mice and other rodents that trigger asthma. Funding will also be used to provide asthma screening and prevention programs at Head Start and Pre-K sites in neighborhoods around the City.
We still had to make some painful decisions this year, and we weren't able to fund all of these programs and initiatives at the levels we had hoped for. But we were able to pass a fiscally responsible budget on time – one that protects the most vital services without mortgaging our City's future. Thanks again for helping to make all of this possible, Mr. Tepel. It was an extremely tough budget and we absolutely couldn't have done this without you.
The New York City Council deserves tremendous credit for protecting services to children and communities.
Speaker Christine C. Quinn,
Finance Committee Chair Domenic M. Recchia Jr,
Youth Services Committee Chair Lewis A. Fidler,
General Welfare Committee Chair Annabel Palma,
Health Committee Chair Maria del Carmen Arroyo,
Mental Health & Disability Services Committee Chair G. Oliver Koppell