The Families Task Force was created to look at what the needs of Westchester families are, how they are changing, and what we want the county legislature and the state delegation to know about Westchester families and have some influence on ways to improve family life. The initiatives that the Task Force has been working on and related resources are here on this page. The Task Force is open to the public. If you would like to get involved please contact Diana Toledo at (914) 995-2813 or Aviva Meyer at (914) 995-2188.
Immigration Rights and Services
The Families Task Force held a meeting in conjunction with NonProfit Westchester on Immigration: Rights and Services, what you need to know. Participating in the meeting were Neighbors Link, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Hudson Valley Justice Center, Pace Immigration Clinic, John Jay Legal Services and Hon. Catherine Borgia. Below are some resources distributed and discussed at the meeting.
To watch video of the meeting, click here.
Thriving Families Resolution
The Families Task Force held 4 public hearings across Westchester County in 2015. The hearings resulted in The Thriving Families Resolution, a document compiling all of the issues and priorities the Task Force heard from residents. The Task Force is advocating for the Board of Legislators to discuss and pass the Resolution in the coming months. To email your Legislator asking them to support the resolution, click here.
- Students who fall behind academically in elementary school have a higher chance of not graduating high school and a lower chance of being ready for college if they do
- Effective afterschool programs bring a wide range of benefits to youth, families and communities. Afterschool programs can boost academic performance, reduce risky behaviors, promote physical health, and provide a safe, structured environment for the children of working parents.
- Afterschool Supports Students' Success Flyer
Mental Health Care:
- Statistics indicate disparities and disproportionalities in mental health and treatment experiences based on many factors, including race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. For example, African-Americans are more likely to experience a mental disorder than whites; are less likely to seek treatment; and when they do seek treatment, are more likely to use the emergency room for mental health care; and more likely than whites to receive inpatient care. LGBT adolescents are more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as heterosexual adolescents (all data from Maryland, 2012).
- Surgeon General’s Report and Conference on Children’s Mental Health 2000 indicates that a minimum of 20% of children and adolescents experience signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year. It is estimated that only 5% of that 20% of youth in need of mental health services receive those services. These service figures are significantly lower if the child/youth is from a minority group.
- Child sexual abuse affects 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys before the age of 18, and cuts across all age, socio-economic, ethnic and racial groups. Children who are sexually abused or victims of family violence are at increased risk for repeated abuse, school problems, self-destructive or anti-social behavior, substance abuse, serious mental illness (including depression and suicide) and out of home placement. Unaddressed mental health needs of child victims of sexual abuse can lead to serious short and long-term negative outcomes for children. Reaching child victims as early as possible prevents long-term trauma and emotional disturbance or mental illness. State of the art, trauma-informed mental health services have been shown to foster healthy development, reduce the deleterious effects of violence and abuse on children and families, promote positive growth, pro-social behavior, and the ability of children to remain safely in the community with their family.
Employment can be beneficial for youth by teaching responsibility, organization, and time management and helping to establish good work habits, experience, and financial stability. There are many advantages to working during high school, especially for low-income youth, including higher employment rates and wages in later teen years and lower probabilities of dropping out of high school. Knowing how to find and keep a job is not only critical for admission to the adult world but also is an important survival skill for which there is little in the way of formal, structured preparation.
Child Care & Early Education:
- In a comparison of 60 countries, American 15-year-olds ranked 24th in reading, 28th in science and 36th in math
- New York ranks 25th in the nation for quality of education, based on key metrics that include SAT/ACT scores, dropout rates, and math and reading scores
- Quality early childhood education has a critical impact on kindergarten readiness, high school graduation and employment rates, and adult income, yet only 14% of U.S. public education dollars are spent on early childhood education.
- In New York, only 22% of eligible children have a public child care subsidy
- 63% of the state’s 4-year-olds in low income communities outside NYC do not have a seat in full-day Universal Pre-K
- Academic Achievement is determined by economics. In Scarsdale the median household income Is $241,453 and the high school graduation rate is 99%. In Mount Vernon the median household income is $49, 268 and the high school graduation rate is 54%.
In addition to working toward resolution passage, the Task Force is taking up the issues in the resolution in an effort for joint collaboration. Currently the Task Force is focusing on the issue of Transportation, particularly the Bee-Line bus system. To fill out our survey regarding the Bee-Line bus click here.
Below are resources and information regarding transportation: