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The Final FY 20 State Budget Is Out! 

Successes: Thanks to the Governor and Legislature for their support of vulnerable youth and families and the nonprofits that serve them with the following in the FY 20 state budget:

  • $6 million was secured in the budget for support of the Foster Youth College Success Initiative! This initiative will provide critical support for youth already attending college and a new freshman cohort. In addition to this, the statutory language within the bill has been updated. The new language will allow ALL youth in care attending CUNY, SUNY and private universities to access the funding, including Dreamers.
  • Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS) – The state budget contains statutory language that ends the use of non-secure detention for PINS youth while allowing them to maintain access to diversion and respite services to prevent PINS filings in family court. The budget has also allowed family court judges the authority to continue to place PINS youth in foster care when it is in their best interest and when it would be contrary to the welfare of the youth to stay in their home. However, the reimbursements to counties for these placements are eliminated.
  • Temporary Operator for Foster Care Agencies: The budget did not include language proposed by the Governor to authorize the Office of Children and Family Services to appoint a temporary operator for foster care agencies.
  • Behavioral Health Parity: The budget included a comprehensive overhaul of New York State’s Insurance Law aimed at dramatically curtailing health insurance/health plan practices that restrict New Yorkers suffering from mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and autism spectrum Disorders from accessing their health insurance benefits for care and treatment.
  • July Start Date for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and Health Home Serving Children (HHSC) Fingerprint and Background Check: The new start date is allowing agencies more time to process fingerprinting and background checks on their HCBS and HHSC workers.
  • NYS Child Welfare Worker Incentive Scholarship Program: The final budget appropriates $50,000 for this program. This represents level funding from 2018-19.
  • NYS Child Welfare Worker Incentive Loan Forgiveness Program: The final budget appropriates $50,000 for this program. This represents level funding from 2018-19.

Challenges:

  • The final budgets does not include the 2.9% human service COLA.
  • The final budget did not include the proposal that would allow the 386,807 children under the Child Health Plus Eligibility to receive the new Children and Family Treatment and Support (CFTS) Services.
  • The CFTS Services enhanced rates were not included in the budget.

State Legislation Still Awaiting Action:

  • Proximity Pilot Bill & Family Visiting Bus
    • As part of the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, led by the Osborne Association, and in recognition of the importance of maintaining family ties for children, JCCA is supporting two bills that will help keep families together when a family member is incarcerated. One of the bills is the Proximity Pilot Bill, which is a pilot program that will place 100 incarcerated parents in facilities closer to their children and families and that will evaluate the impact on visiting frequency, institutional adjustment of parents, and recidivism, rates. The second is the Family Visiting Bus Program, which requires inclusion of funding for the program for the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

New York City FY 20 Budget:

  • Fair Futures, a coalition of agencies, has asked for $50 million in funds that will be utilized for creating a comprehensive coaching program for students from middle school through age 26. Thanks to Speaker Corey Johnson for including $10 million in the Council’s budget response and we hope for its inclusion in the final city budget.
  • JCCA’s Foster Home Services Early Literacy Program is part of the City’s First Readers initiative that is designed to provide effective, high-quality early childhood literacy services, programs, and resources for children from birth to age 5. We support the citywide request for $6 million dollars for the initiative and hope to obtain an increase to sustain a program that instills a love of reading to young children in our foster care programs in the Bronx and Brooklyn.
  • JCCA’s Young Women’s/Wrap-Around Support for Traditional Aged Foster Youth Initiative: We are excited to announce that the Foster Home Career Enhancements program has officially started its inaugural year. With the help of this initiative, a new set of enhanced career, educational, and wrap-around support services are available for young women aging out of foster care. These services will assist young women to obtain high-paying and/or non-traditional employment as a path to an independent adulthood. JCCA strongly supports the continuation of this initiative.
  • JCCA’s Second Chances: As part of the City Council’s Court-Involved Youth Mental Health Initiative for the past five years, JCCA’s Second Chances program offers services to youth between ages 12-16, who are actively involved or at risk of involvement with the justice system, and who may be struggling with emotional and/or mental-health issues. Programming includes outreach, screenings, crisis intervention (as needed), preparatory counseling, linkages or referrals to programs that meet the needs identified in the screening, and a twelve-week Leadership Group. JCCA supports the continuation of this critical initiative and hopes for an increase to provide stipends to youth involved in work internships.
  • Support for Community Behavioral Health Services: As a part of the Coalition for Behavioral Health, JCCA urges the City Council to restore and increase Behavioral Health Funds in the FY 20 Budget for $19,798493 for the following initiatives:
    • Mental Health Services for Vulnerable Populations: CBOs and advocacy organizations provide mental health programs, services, and referrals to difficult-to-serve populations and offer clinical and practice management trainings to providers.
    • Medicaid Redesign Transition: Assists CBOs that provide mental health services transition from a fee-for-service system to a managed-care model under New York State’s Medicaid redesign.
    • Court Involved Youth Mental Health Initiative: Assesses risk for mental health concerns and connects court-involved youth with CBOs familiar with City and State Agencies.
    • LGBTQ Youth Mental Health: This allocation supports comprehensive mental health services for vulnerable LGBTQ youth, focusing particularly on youth of color, youth in immigrant families, homeless youth, and youth who are court-involved.
    • Children under Five: This allocation funds community-based outpatient mental health clinics throughout the City that provide mental health treatment to children aged five years and younger.
    • Autism Awareness: This allocation supports wraparound services for autistic children in after-school and summer programs and during school closings. The programs may also provide forums or training seminars to teach coping skills to families and caregivers affected by autism.
    • Geriatric Mental Health: This funding supports organizations that provide a range of mental health services to older adults in “non-clinical settings,” such as senior centers, drop-in centers, religious institutions, social clubs, homeless prevention programs, and individual homes.
    • Developmental, Psychological. And Behavioral Health: This initiative targets individuals in need of mental health care, particularly those with chemical dependencies, developmental disabilities and/or serious mental illness. The funding supports a range of programs and services that address the needs of those individuals as well as the needs of their families and caregivers.
    • Opioid Prevention and Treatment: This funding supports neighborhood-based prevention and treatment efforts around opioid abuse.
  • Indirect rate for human services contracts: The City Council has included a $106 million investment in the City’s Budget to help fill in the gap between provider’s indirect costs and the contract reimbursement rates from the City to increase indirect rates for nonprofit contracts to 12%. 

New York City Legislation Still Awaiting Action:

  • Contract Procurement:
    • In collaboration with the Human Services Council of New York, JCCA has signed onto two important bills that will hold New York City accountable in overseeing and maintaining contracts for agencies across New York City. Int.1450-2019 Bill will require interest to be paid on late payments under city contracts with non-profit organizations. The second bill, Int.1448-2019, requests that the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) create a division that will be dedicated to coordinating, facilitating, and supporting an inter-agency oversight review process of unregistered contracts with the goal of registering contracts before their start date.
  • Support Students in Foster Care
    • In collaboration with Advocates for Children and other agencies, JCCA is supporting two budget requests that provides school stability for foster youth across New York City. The first request is for $5 million to expand bus services for K-6th grade students in foster care. This would reduce the number of school transfers and provide a sense of stability. The second budget request is for $1.5 million to fund a Department Of Education Office for Students in Foster Care. This department will develop and implement needed policies that will assist students in foster care.