Council Member Debi Rose, Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Youth Services, today announced four victories for young people in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget:
10.3 million added to the Summer Youth Employment Program, adding 5,000 slots to accommodate a total of 75,000 young people
a $19 million restoration for the Work, Learn, Grow program
$15 million in restored funding for 22,800 Summer SONYC slots
$16 million for the Comprehensive After School System (COMPASS)—$8 million of which will be baselined for future years.
The final budget agreement came after months of advocacy from the City Council and local advocates to restore and expand these programs that benefit young New Yorkers and their families.
“Our city’s young people are among the biggest winners in this budget,” said Councilwoman Debi Rose. “More than 20,000 families — including more than 1,000 on Staten Island — had been waiting in a shadow of uncertainty, unsure of whether their summer SONYC programs would be in place come July. With the passage of the budget today, they can now sign up their middle school aged children for summer SONYC programs.”
Staten Island SONYC providers who will now be able to accept young people into their programs include African Refuge, the Police Athletic League, the Jewish Community Center and United Activities Unlimited. In previous years, these organizations have operated a combined total of 17 summer SONYC programs across Staten Island, serving as many as 1,220 middle school students.
“In addition, the baselining of $8 million for COMPASS after-school programs was also a victory for families and providers that we had fought hard for,” Councilwoman Rose said. “It means that many families and community providers will not have to wait in limbo every year. They can make long-term plans that stabilize their programs and assure families that children’s after-school programs will be around from year to year.”
Finally, the expansion of Summer Youth Employment Program adds capacity for an additional 5,000 young people, for a total of 75,000 slots, while the Work Learn Grow restoration will provide former SYEP participants with career readiness training and paid employment opportunities for up to 25 weeks from October to April.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program has a decades-long record of connecting young people with their communities, teaching them financial literacy and preparing them for successful careers,” the councilwoman said. “The expansion of SYEP -- as well as the Work, Learn, Grow program that offers year-round youth employment and training -- is a meaningful investment in young people and in the future well-being of our city.”
“I thank all those who advocated with me, including Speaker Corey Johnson, my City Council colleagues and the advocates who raised their voices with us on the steps of City Hall throughout this process,” the councilwoman added. “Together, we produced a budget that reflects our values, and I look forward to voting aye today."
Citywide childcare advocates also applauded the FY 2019 budget.
“In all five boroughs of New York City families experience how important after-school, summer camp and youth employment programs are,” said Gregory Brender, Co-Director of Policy and Advocacy for United Neighborhood Houses. “Learning is not limited to the classroom, and children and youth need to stay active and engaged when school is out. Thanks to the leadership and passion of the City Council and Councilmember Debi Rose, the FY 2019 Budget saves summer camp for more than 22,000 middle schoolers, further stabilizes funding for after-school programs for elementary school children and expands summer jobs youth.”
“It is because of Council Member Debi Rose’s tenacity as Youth Services Chair and the commitment of her fellow Council members to children and their families that over 22,000 middle school students will have a summer camp program this summer,” said Stephanie Gendell, Associate Executive Director, Policy and Advocacy , Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York. “We are also so grateful for the Council and the leadership of Council Member Rose for securing $3 million to expand runaway and homeless youth services and funding for 5,000 more summer youth employment program slots this summer.”