Educational Institutions

Advocates for Children of NY Inc

  • New York, NY
  • www.advocatesforchildren.org

Mission Statement

Since 1971, Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) has been New York City's premier educational advocacy organization, working in partnership with NYC's most vulnerable families to secure quality and equal public education services for all children. AFC focuses on the children and youth who are most likely to experience failure or discrimination in school because of poverty, race, disability, language barriers, homelessness, or involvement in the foster care or juvenile justice systems. No other city-wide organization works in the trenches, providing these vulnerable students and their families with the one-on-one guidance and advocacy they need, while at the same time, pressing for systemic reforms that benefit all students, even those who are most challenging to educate.

Main Programs

  1. Children with Disabilities
  2. Project Achieve
  3. Immigrant Students' Rights Project
  4. Juvenile Justice Education Advocacy Project
  5. NYS-TEACHS
Service Areas

Self-reported

New York

New York, NY

ruling year

1972

Principal Officer since 2007

Self-reported

Ms. Kim Sweet

Keywords

Self-reported

education, advocacy, children, public schools, disability

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Also Known As

AFC

EIN

11-2247307

 Number

2489151349

Physical Address

151 West 30th Street 5th Floor

New York, 10001

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (B01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (O01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (P01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

In FY 2015, AFC assisted more than 19,000 individuals by providing one-on-one advice or case representation or preparing them to advocate for themselves through our community workshops. We also helped thousands more who benefited from policies that changed because AFC was there to advocate for the needs of students who are often forgotten.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Children with Disabilities

AFC has extensive expertise in the education-related rights of children with disabilities, and we put that expertise to work on several levels. We provide one-on-one legal representation and advocacy to help low-income families of children with disabilities get the educational services and support they need. We also offer free workshops throughout the city to bring training, information, and assistance on the education system to parents and the professionals who work with them. We address systemic problems with the education of students with disabilities through our policy work and when necessary, federal litigation. We coordinate and lead a collaborate effort called the ARISE Coalition, which brings together more than 30 different organizations and individuals to press for policy change to benefit children with disabilities in the New York City schools.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 2

Project Achieve

AFC's Project Achieve advocates for the educational needs of children in or at risk of placement in foster care while building capacity in the agencies that serve them. Project staff operates satellite offices in child welfare agencies where they provide on-site assistance and training to caseworkers, birth parents, and foster parents to prepare them to address education-related issues affecting their children. Project staff also conducts policy advocacy on the city and state levels to improve educational outcomes for students in foster care.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 3

Immigrant Students' Rights Project

AFC's bilingual project staff advocates on behalf of individual parents and their children, trains parents and community-based organizations serving immigrant families on education-related rights, monitors access to interpreters and translated materials in the city's schools, and collaborates with other groups to support communities seeking to improve outcomes for English Language Learners.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees

Budget

Program 4

Juvenile Justice Education Advocacy Project

AFC's Juvenile Justice Education Advocacy Project is the only project in New York City that provides in-depth case advocacy and legal representation to address the educational needs of court-involved youth while harnessing what we learn from our individual clients to fight for systemic change. Project staff works closely and effectively with probation officials and the family courts to reach students who often fall through the cracks.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 5

NYS-TEACHS

AFC operates the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS). This program focuses on building the capacity of school districts throughout the state to improve educational opportunities for homeless children and youth.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Homeless

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    AFC is dedicated to serving children who live in poverty and face significant barriers to educational success. Our goals are (1) to advocate for policy change that will ensure an appropriate education for children; (2) for parents and professionals to exercise their rights and advocate for their children; and (3) for families and children to secure schools and/or services that meet their educational needs.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    We use four uniquely integrated strategies to advance education reform, empower families and communities, and advocate for the educational rights of individual students.

    • Direct Assistance – to families in the form of advice and free legal representation.
    • Training – for parents, professionals and young people so they can learn to advocate for themselves.
    • Policy Advocacy – to change education policy so that the public school system serves all children of New York City effectively.
    • Impact Litigation – to safeguard the educational rights of NYC's parents and children.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    AFC has over 44 years of experience providing educational services to families in need of assistance It is widely recognized as a leading authority on the NYC education system, particularly the special education system and early childhood education. Indeed, we have been at the table on most major policy changes since 1971 and the media often looks to us for insight on stories pertinent to students facing barriers to accessing a quality education.

    In addition, because AFC has attorneys on staff, parents, professionals, and other advocates looking for legal expertise often turn to AFC for guidance in interpreting the extensive statutes and regulations that apply to special education. Also, AFC is somewhat unique in NYC for the breadth of its knowledge of the education system, beyond just special education. It has expertise in subjects like school discipline, promotion, and immigrant students and English Language Learners. No parent with an education issue gets turned away because the issue is not directly related to a disability. AFC knows the system as a whole and is therefore able to help parents reach outside of special education to find the help their children need in meeting the challenging academic goals that have been established for all children.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    AFC employs a number of methods to evaluate the effectiveness of its work and to ensure that objectives are met:

    • Annual goals are set for each project and are reviewed by the Executive Director at mid-year and at the end of the year.

    • For each in-depth case advocacy or legal representation case, goals are created in consultation with the client. Goals are recorded in our database. When a goal is achieved, that is also recorded in the database.

    • With respect to training, we survey training participants immediately after their training programs to ascertain their perception of the usefulness of the information provided.

    • To measure the longer-term impact of our work, project staff follow up with families between three and six months after they received services or secured a school placement to ensure their educational needs were met. Workshop and training participants are surveyed to assess if they have used the information they received to exercise their rights and advocate for their children within six months.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    In 2014/15, AFC answered 4,083 calls on our Jill Chaifetz Education Helpline and 1,986 calls on our NYS-TEACHS hotline, addressing the education-related issues of homeless students. Our staff handled a total of 9,967 matters by providing advice, in-depth technical assistance, and direct legal representation. AFC presented 321 workshops, conferences and webinars to over 9,390 parents, professionals and students.

    We are pleased to report that in 2014/15, we exceeded each of the program goals set for the year. With regard to our direct services to families, in 90% of the cases we handled during the grant year, children secured schools and/or services to meet their education needs. In addition, we surveyed clients six months after their cases were closed and found that 91% of those surveyed continued to have positive gains as a result of AFC's assistance. We also surveyed training participants (including parents and professionals) immediately after their training programs to evaluate their perception of the usefulness of the information we provided. 94% of those surveyed reported that they had learned something at the training and 94% said that they had shared the information they learned with others.

    While we are proud of our accomplishments, there is an unending demand for our services. We are always striving to provide assistance to as many families as possible and to use our limited resources efficiently and effectively.
Service Areas

Self-reported

New York

New York, NY

Social Media

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN OF NEW YORK
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Advocates for Children of NY Inc

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Principal Officer

Ms. Kim Sweet

BIO

Ms. Sweet comes to AFC from New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) where she most recently served as Associate General Counsel. During her ten successful years at NYLPI, Ms. Sweet spearheaded the office's special education advocacy work, oversaw and ran the special education pro bono project, served as one of NYLPI's senior managers, conducted litigation on disability rights issues and led a number of policy initiatives and coalitions. Ms. Sweet is also an adjunct professor at the Urban Law Clinic of New York Law School. After graduating law school, Ms. Sweet clerked for the Honorable Robert Jr., District Court Judge of the Southern District of New York and spent three years as a litigation associate at the firm of Patterson, Bellknap, Webb & Tyler, LLP. Ms. Sweet holds a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D from Columbia Law school.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Jamie Levitt

Morrison & Foerster LLP

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Senior Staff.
Sexual Orientation

We do not display sexual orientation information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies
No
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
No
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
No
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
No
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
Yes
We have a diversity committee in place
No
We have a diversity manager in place
No
We have a diversity plan
No
We use other methods to support diversity