March 28, 2012

SFY 2012-2013 Budget Invests in New York's Children
Assembly Negotiates Deal that Strengthens Safe Harbour and Closer to Home Initiatives

Speaker Sheldon Silver and Amy Paulin, chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, announced today increased aid to support services for New York's children.

"We need to do more to protect and support our children," said Silver. "As part of this budget, the Assembly has renewed its commitment to our most vulnerable population. We are putting services in place to ensure that our children can grow in a safe and nurturing environment. We are investing in our children and in our future."

Safe Harbour

The Safe Harbour for Exploited Children Act, which provides services for children subjected to commercial sexual exploitation, will receive $1.5 million in funding. This program provides safe, short-term housing with services, such as 24-hour crisis intervention and medical care. It will aid the development of a long-term residential housing facility which offers specialized services. In addition, it will fund law enforcement training and community-based programs to serve this unique population.

Close to Home

This budget establishes the Close to Home Initiative, a program that would create rehabilitation-focused detention facilities for low-level youthful offenders. Historically, youth offenders have been sent to facilities upstate. This program would create more facilities in New York City, where there is a greater demand for services.

"By placing these kids closer to home, closer to their families, they can focus on rehabilitation," said Paulin. "This transformative program is essential to realizing positive outcomes for our troubled youth. Similar programs in other states are proven to be effective, reducing recidivism and making communities safer."

As a result of Assembly advocacy, the program will now allow for increased opportunities for public input related to the operation of facilities in New York City.

The program ensures that judges may order services to meet the needs of placed youth and it requires attorneys and parents be notified of transfers.

Supportive Services for Children

The 2012-2013 budget provides funding for additional essential services for children including:

As part of the budget, provisions are included to ease the application process for students already enrolled in the free and reduced price lunch program.