Policy Priorities

All children in New York State need access to comprehensive health and mental health coverage, safe and stable housing, high-quality education and age appropriate treatment by the justice system.

The Children's Defense Fund-New York seeks to ensure that the needs of New York's children are met by educating the public on the challenges that these youth face and by advocating for state and local policies that guarantee them opportunities to succeed in life.

Delete Test

Nation-wide community schools provide a holistic set of policies and programs to improve student wellness and academic achievement.

CDF-NY celebrates NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Community Schools Initiative for its use of a service co-location model that positions schools as a resource hub for students and families by providing access to academic instruction, social services and health care delivery systems. CDF-NY’s Executive Director, Melanie Hartzog, is proud to serve on Mayor de Blasio’s Community Schools Advisory Board, and the CDF-NY policy staff with specific expertise in school healthcare delivery and school climate are pleased to contribute to advisory board workgroups and strategic planning.

Education Justice

The Children’s Defense Fund initiated its national Cradle to Prison Pipeline® campaign to reduce the detention and incarceration of youth and young adults by increasing the preventative supports and services children need, such as quality early childhood development, education services, and comprehensive health and mental health coverage.

The overall goal of the Children’s Defense Fund–New York’s Education Justice work is to improve education outcomes for youth by keeping them in school with the support of caring communities, and out of court!

Learn more about our efforts.

Youth Justice

The Children’s Defense Fund initiated its national Cradle to Prison Pipeline® campaign to reduce the detention and incarceration of youth and young adults by increasing the preventative supports and services children need, such as quality early childhood development, education services, and comprehensive health and mental health coverage. Through its Youth Justice work, the Children’s Defense Fund–New York aims to ensure that justice-impacted young people are treated in age-appropriate ways that meet their rehabilitative needs, ensure their safety while in the system and decrease the likelihood that they will re-enter it in the future.

Learn more about our Youth Justice work.

Housing & Homelessness

New York cannot solve the current housing crisis by constructing more and more shelters. Quickly rehousing families or preventing episodes of homelessness before they happen is significantly cheaper and results in better health and social outcomes for children. Our goal is to ensure that instances of child homelessness are rare and brief.

Learn more about our efforts.

Income Security

Because the experience of poverty during critical growth years is traumatic for a child and negatively affects healthy development, CDF-NY works to ensure that working youth and families have access to work that pays and income supports that secure basic needs such as food and shelter.

Learn more about our current work.