FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11434
JANUARY 28, 2007
CONTACT: BERNARD GASSAWAY
PROPOSES CREATION OF NYC OFFICE OF THE CHILD ADVOCATE
Bernard Gassaway is challenging the New York City government and its citizens to create an office that would be solely dedicated to child-related issues. The New York City Office of the Child Advocate would be led by an independently elected citywide official. The office will fight for improved child-related services, early childcare, children’s rights and education.
The city council and mayor are urged to put this proposal before the Charter Revision Commission to make it a reality. New Yorkers are encouraged to lobby their city and state representatives to support this initiative to have it put on the ballot as a referendum. They may contact the commission directly by calling 311 or via www.nyc.gov.
According to Gassaway, “If we measure ourselves by the conditions and treatment of our children, we are in crisis. Though such an office would not be a panacea, it would provide New York City children with full-time, independent, proactive advocacy.”
By all accounts, the city’s office of Administration for Children Services (ACS) is overwhelmed by the number of child abuse cases before it. It also lacks the resources and independence to carry out its mission fully. According to Gassaway, “An independent advocate would fight to secure adequate funding for child-related services. Most would agree that ACS is underfunded, understaffed and overwhelmed.” New York City currently has nearly 2,000,000 residents under 18 years old.
Mr. Gassaway said, “Rather than supporting legislation to criminalize children at an earlier age, we need to aggressively address the conditions that cultivate criminal tendencies. New York City should choose to be seen around the world as a child-centered city, a city that leads the way in protecting the rights and well-being of all children.”
Bernard Gassaway is the former principal of Beach Channel High School and senior superintendent of alternative schools and programs for New York City, a Columbia University Charles H. Revson Fellow 2003-2004, author of Reflections of an Urban High School Principal, and homeschool father.”