Assembly Budget Protects Struggling Families

Restores cuts to the public assistance grant, Safe Harbour program and Early Intervention
March 15, 2011
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced the passage of an Assembly budget proposal that maintains essential programs for children with special needs and families struggling during this economic downturn.

Turning back costly co-pays

The Assembly budget rejects the plan to increase or establish co-pays for Medicaid, Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus. This $7.5 million restoration will help families better afford health services.

“Now is not the time to increase co-pays for medical care,” Assemblywoman Jacobs said. “People are struggling, and they simply don’t have extra money lying around. If we impose higher co-pays and fees, some vulnerable New Yorkers are going to be left with no choice but to go without needed care.”

Public assistance for those in need

The Assembly provides $27.8 million for the third and final phase of the public assistance grant increase to take effect on Nov. 15, 2011, which the executive proposal delays until July 1, 2012.

“New York took a huge step toward addressing poverty in 2009, with the first public assistance grant increase in nearly two decades,” Ms. Jacobs said. “By allowing this vital increase to be delayed one year, we would be abandoning the most vulnerable New Yorkers during a very difficult economic time.”

Safe Harbour maintained

The Assembly budget restores $3 million for the Safe Harbour program that was eliminated in the executive budget. The program was passed by the Legislature in 2008 for the protection of sexually exploited youths in New York. The program would provide children under the age of 18 who have been subject to sex trafficking with critical services to rehabilitate their health and well-being.

“The victimization of a child is one of society’s most abhorrent acts, and the scars left behind can last a lifetime,” said Jacobs. “Eliminating the care provided by this program would leave sexually exploited children without the essential support they need to rebuild their lives after such heinous criminal acts.”

Early Intervention for children

The Assembly proposal also maintains Early Intervention (EI) reimbursement rates at current levels, rejecting an executive proposal to reduce rates by 10 percent. The total restoration for EI is $11.6 million for 2011-12.

“New York State has one of the best Early Intervention programs in the country, and that doesn’t happen by chance,” said Ms. Jacob. “It happens because we make the needed investment to protect those infants and toddlers.”

Additional restorations

The Assembly budget restores $36.3 million for various programs, including:

  • Child care demonstration projects ($5.3 million);
  • Wage Subsidy Program ($5.2 million);
  • Settlement Houses ($1 million);
  • Child care SUNY/CUNY ($949,000);
  • Supplemental Homelessness Intervention Program ($581,000);
  • Emergency homeless ($500,000);
  • Refugee resettlement ($289,000);
  • Disability Advocacy Program ($279,000);
  • ACCESS – Welfare to Careers ($144,000); and
  • Caretaker relative/kinship ($144,000).

The Assembly also restores funding for prevention programs in the Office of Children and Family Services, which include:

  • Youth Development & Delinquency Prevention/Special Delinquency Prevention Program ($14.2 million);
  • Runaway and Homeless Youth ($2.4 million);
  • Settlement Houses ($451,000); and
  • Kinship ($339,000).