News and Resources

Campaign for Children Seeks Funding for Early Childhood and After School Fixes

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

In response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Preliminary Budget for FY2015-16, The Campaign for Children is seeking several budget adjustments to address what they argue are critical issues in both the early childhood and after school services networks in New York City. 
“Early Learn providers’ largest concern is with the compensation of their staff. Early Childhood educators are among the lowest paid professionals of any field and the situation for Early Learn teachers and staff is particularly stark,” said UNH’s Gregory Brender.  “Many Early Learn staff cannot afford health insurance due to the employee contribution. Moreover, their salaries are considerably lower than similarly credentialed teachers in the public school systems. These disparities will only grow if the wages of Early Learn teachers continue to stagnate.”

Read the full article here.  

The DYCD “Haves” vs the “Have-Nots”

Friday, December 05, 2014

One of the most significant problems which providers faced as part of this year’s Summer Initiative was the wide disparity in funding levels between the 70 DYCD Cornerstone programs, which received approximately $90,000 to cover the costs of expanded hours and programming, and the 37 NYCHA-operated and nonprofit-sponsored NYCHA centers, which received only one third of that amount, little more than $30,000.

“The inequity in funding between DYCD Cornerstone and non-DYCD sites was a real problem,” says UNH’s Gregory Brender.  “The non-DYCD-funded providers were not able to offer the same quality services with the lower funding levels.  Unless more money is put into to the budget, we will face the same problem next year.”

Read the full article here.

Advocates Argue Advantage Awards Reveal Need for More Funding

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Advocates used Governor Cuomo's announcement last week of $10.9 million in grants for Advantage After School Programs as an opportunity to point out that funding for these and other youth programs has actually declined in recent years and that the awards themselves demonstrate the need for additional investments in these types of programming.

The New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN) noted that the FY2014-15 state budget included $17.7 million for Advantage. This was down 37% from the $28 million which had been allocated to the program annually prior to the ecomic crisis and subsequent recession.  The loss in funding has cost almost 8,000 students the opportunity to participate in programs. Overall, funding for New York’s three major afterschool funding streams remains 40% below pre-recession levels.

Only 68 of 281 applicants for the latest round of Advantage After School funding actually received grants—fewer than a quarter of the applicants. Several programs that had been receiving funds were cut, which will leave them struggling to still serve students.

"There are a lot of programs that used to be there for students that aren't operating anymore," agrees Gregory Brender, Policy Analyst with United Neighborhood Houses.

Governor Cuomo proposed $160 million in new afterschool funding in the FY2014-15 executive budget, which would have created opportunities for more than 100,000 students. That funding was not included in the final budget.  NYSAN says this was a huge missed opportunity to provide new options for some of the 1.1 million students in need of a safe, educational place to go after the school day ends—and for their families, too many of whom face painful choices when they cannot afford safe afterschool options.

Read the full article here. 

Settlement Houses Play Major Role in Mayor’s Vision of Expanded Afterschool Programs

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


June 18, 2014
For Immediate Release                                                  
Contact: Gregory Brender, 212-967-0322 ext. 330 

Settlement Houses Play Major Role in Mayor’s Vision of Expanded Afterschool Programs

Settlement Houses Make Up 15% of Selected Providers

New York – Settlement houses have been selected to play a major role in making the Mayor’s vision of universally available afterschool programs for middle school students in New York City a reality. Yesterday, in an announcement at UNH member agency New Settlement Apartments, Mayor Bill de Blasio, joined by Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, announced the selection of 271 new programs, run by 108 community-based organizations, that will operate middle school programs starting in September.

 Eighteen settlement houses were selected to take part in the city’s afterschool expansion, together running 43 new programs at middle schools in Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens. The settlement house network makes up 15% of the newly selected providers.

The following member agencies of United Neighborhood Houses were selected:  BronxWorks, CAMBA, Center for Family Life in Sunset Park,  Claremont Neighborhood Centers, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, East Side House, Educational Alliance, Grand Street Settlement, Henry Street Settlement, Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Mosholu Montefiore Community Centers, New Settlement Apartments, Queens Community House, Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Centers, St. Nick’s Alliance, Union Settlement Association, University Settlement Society, and WHEDCo.

Settlement houses are neighborhood-based organizations that provide educational, recreational, and social services to residents of all ages, responding to the specific needs of their neighborhoods.   Their programs may include: job training and employment programs, early childhood education, youth programs, arts education and performances, English-as-a-Second-Language and literacy education, legal counseling, home care, housing, and senior services. All settlement houses in New York City are members of United Neighborhood Houses.  Providing services to children and youth are core to their mission.


 United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) is a membership organization of 38 settlement houses and community centers in New York City. UNH promotes and strengthens the neighborhood-based, multi-service approach to improving the lives of New Yorkers in need and the communities in which they live. Today, UNH’s membership comprises one of the largest human service systems in New York City, with 38 agencies working at more than 400 sites to provide high quality services and activities to a half million New Yorkers each year. UNH supports its members through policy development, advocacy, and capacity-building activities. For more information, visit

City Seeks AfterSchool Providers

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Buoyed by the state legislature’s preliminary approval of funds last week, city officials are wasting no time in pushing ahead with plans to expand after-school programs for tens of thousands of middle school students starting in September.

The city is accepting proposals from organizations to provide new after-school programs for nearly 55,000 middle school students, at an estimated yearly cost of more than $131 million, according to an RFP released by the city. The new programs will nearly double the number of middle school students eligible to participate in an after-school program.

Read the full article here.

Advocates Applaud NYC's UPK and After School Plan

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Advocates applauded Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to expand full-day Universal Pre-Kindergarten and afterschool programs for middle school students, as well as the end to NYC's yearly "budget dance", during City Council budget hearings yesterday.  However, representatives of The Campaign for Children, a coalition of over 150 New York City provider and advocacy organizations, also citing a number of critical concerns which could threaten early childhood and after-school programs unless addressed quickly.  Among their concerns are funding rate discrepancies between Out of School Time programs supported by different funding streams, missing summer program allocations in the FY2015 budget and expiring one-year contracts in need of extensions.  The group also cited its Campaign for Children Transition Plan as a roadmap for developing a high-quality, universal system of early childhood and after-school programs.

“We are greatly encouraged by the growing recognition of the importance of after-school," said Gregory Brender of United Neighborhood Houses (UNH). "UNH strongly supports New York City’s plan to expand after-school programs for middle school students through a modest, targeted tax increase.   Many young people and parents from UNH member agencies have visited Albany, made phone calls and organized in their communities to support New York City’s plan.  We are thrilled that many members of the City Council have been lobbying for the plan and that the resolution supporting New York City’s plan passed with an overwhelming margin.  

Read the full article here! 

Here are Three Things the Next Mayor Should Do for NYC's Youngest

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Here are Three Things the Next Mayor Should Do for NYC's Youngest

Expert Advice on How to Strengthen the Early Childhood System

Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - 02:11 PM

Pre-kindergarten students (Yasmeen Khan)

It’s been one year since the Bloomberg Administration launched EarlyLearnNYC, an ambitious model aimed at improving the quality of the city’s contracted child care system for children ages 6 weeks to 4 years old. As we look back at its first year, we see that EarlyLearn, while laudable, has not been fully realized.

As it exists, the current EarlyLearn system is under-funded, decreases the capacity of the contracted system, and includes rates that are inadequate for providers.

According to the Mayor’s Management Report, EarlyLearn enrollment in fiscal year 2013 was 30,096, a substantial decrease from the more than 45,000 children enrolled in the contracted system the year earlier.

When we look at total enrollment in the contracted and voucher systems, we see a 19 percent decrease in the number of children served by ACS in 2013 (101,852) compared to 2010 (120,809). This decrease in the number of children served is particularly troubling in light of the fact that ACS has found that only about one third of all eligible children are being served as it is.

The numbers are moving in the wrong direction.

We see a path for the next mayor to take to truly maximize access to a high-quality, affordable, full-day early childhood education experience. EarlyLearn's overarching goal is to deliver a higher level of service; something that early childhood education providers and advocates agree is of vital importance in preparing high-needs, low-income children for kindergarten and beyond.

Here are three things we want to see the next mayor do to ensure the early childhood system's success:

1. Stop the annual budget dance. First and foremost, the more than $60 million of one-year City Council discretionary funding for child care must be baselined so that the money is permanently in ACS’s budget. This would eliminate the annual budget dance where the City Council restores the one-year funding each June and would result in a more stable system.

2. Increase funding. The city must address the EarlyLearn rate so that it is sufficient to fund the high-quality services that EarlyLearn envisioned. The per-child rate must be increased so that providers can meet standards, retain appropriate and credentialed staff and meet the costs of operations, administration, and materials for children.

3. Respect the staff. We must ensure early education staff has adequate compensation and benefits. An investment in the early childhood education system must include resources for the workforce, including professional development, support for obtaining credentials and advancing education, and improved compensation and benefits, including affordable health care coverage.

Subsidized child care is an investment in New York City’s future. Every child deserves access to safe, high-quality, and affordable early childhood education.

Going forward, the next mayor, public advocate, comptroller and City Council members must have a plan for making high-quality, affordable early education available to every New York City child.

UNH Responds to Mayor Bloomberg's FY 2013 Executive Budget

Thursday, May 03, 2012


  70 West 36th Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10018-8007
 Phone: (212) 967-0322   Fax: (212) 967-0792

For Immediate Release: May 3, 2012
Contact: Annetta Seecharran, Director of Policy and Advocacy, (212) 967-0322 x329

United Neighborhood Houses Responds to the Mayor’s Failure to Restore Funding for Child Care and After-School in his Executive Budget

“United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) is outraged by the lack of commitment to children, working families, and older adults that is revealed in the Mayor’s Executive Budget this year.

The Mayor’s complete failure to restore funds to child care and after-school programs, including Out-of-School Time (OST), is nothing short of disgraceful. It is a hit to not only the 47,000 children who will lose the critical educational and social support they are provided through these programs, but to their parents, who will be forced to quit their jobs to take care of their children or leave them alone after the school day ends.  Thousands of jobs will be lost at non-profit agencies with the shuttering of these programs. In the UNH agency network alone, over 50% of OST programs, which service approximately 6,000 children, are already slated for closure.

This budget devastates the infrastructure that keeps hard-working parents in their jobs, provides children and youth with productive educational opportunities, and strengthens the current and future generations of New Yorkers. The fact that services supporting low-income communities including after-school and child care programs have failed to rise to the top of the Mayor’s priority list is shameful.”

United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) is the membership organization of New York City settlement houses and community centers. Rooted in the history and values of the settlement house movement, UNH promotes and strengthens the neighborhood-based, multi-service approach to improving the lives of New Yorkers in need and the communities in which they live. UNH’s membership comprises one of the largest human service systems in new York City, with 37 agencies working at more than 400 sites to provide high quality services and activities to a half million New Yorkers each year. UNH supports its members through policy development, advocacy, and capacity building activities.


Download statement here. 

Budget Threatens Programs for City Kids

Wednesday, May 02, 2012
"People are describing the OST awards as a bloodbath," said Wackstein. "When the EarlyLearn awards are announced, it's going to be just as serious." 

Read the full article>> 

WNYC: Poor in Wealthy Neighborhoods Miss Out on Services

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

 As the city targets where to keep subsidized child care and after school programs, public housing developments in wealthy neighborhoods are getting overlooked, according to a report by United Neighborhood Houses.

The report estimates 77,000 public housing residents are living in what the city has deemed as low-need areas for subsidized child care and after school programs. The developments in wealthy districts include the Eliot Houses in Chelsea and the Amsterdam Houses near Lincoln Center.  

“We're talking about subsidized childcare and subsidized after school [programs]. They cannot afford to pay market rate for these services even if they happen to be living in a wealthy area,” said Nancy Wackstein, executive director of United Neighborhood Houses. The group advocates for settlement houses which hold some city contracts for after school and child care programs.  

Wackstein argues that someone living in public housing on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is just as needy as someone living in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Read the full article>>