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ALBANY, NY (WENY) – At a committee hearing Tuesday, advocates and agencies emphasized the power of primary prevention services have on child welfare.
Primary prevention efforts are defined as preventing child abuse and maltreatment before it starts by implementing programs. But many of those programs are underfunded, according to testimonies Tuesday.
“Child welfare has been under invested for decades,” said Crystal Charles, Senior Policy Analyst for the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.
In 2018, the Family First Prevention Services Act was passed in the federal budget. And throughout state fiscal years, millions of dollars have been allocated to New York State. But agencies like the New York State Office of Children and Families said the legislation did not go far enough.
Some advocates added that there are other elements to address in addition to funding issues, including disparities and access to resources between varying communities.
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi responded to testimonies Tuesday, saying that it is up to New York State to focus primary prevention efforts and drive as much money as possible into agency programs.
Despite the challenges to overcome, advocates said they are grateful for state leaders willingness to listen to their concerns.
“This hearing is major for child welfare just to shine a light on the system and the families that often interact with it and how much support is sorely needed,” Charles said.
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