Kids Can’t Wait is a statewide coalition of parents, providers and advocates working to strengthen the Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education systems by eliminating inequities and expanding access to timely and effective services. Drawing on last year’s state legislative wins for children, attendees learned what parents, providers, and government officials can do to ensure no child in New York has to wait for life-changing services. #KidsCantWait
We are coordinating and taking action around common goals to ensure the best possible start, for the best possible future for the 115,000 young children in our region.
2021 was a great year for Liftoff WNY. We fine-tuned our strategic advocacy agendas, launched Liftoff’s social media, grew our team, and established a new partnership with Help Me Grow WNY. To learn more, we invite you to read through our Year in Review 2021 below.
As a leadership member of the statewide ‘Kids Can’t Wait’ coalition, dedicated to ensuring that young children with developmental delays and disabilities receive timely services, we thank Governor Hochul for the steps she took last week to address long-standing needs in the Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education programs.
Ensure that preschool special education programs, as well as state-approved non-public schools for school-age students with significant disabilities, receive the same increase in payment rates as school districts.
For decades, NY has persistently disinvested in critical services and supports for young children with developmental delays and disabilities. Liftoff and members of the Kids Can’t Wait campaign recently sent a letter to NYS Governor Hochul asking for her support to strengthen New York State’s the Early Intervention system so that children receive the evaluations and services they need early in life.
Liftoff joined over 100 organizations across New York State urging greater support for preschool students with disabilities. The State has a legal obligation to ensure there is an appropriate school setting for every preschooler and school-age student with a disability. New York relies on preschool special education programs and state-approved non-public schools to meet the educational needs of students with the most significant disabilities. At a time when school districts are receiving an infusion of new funding, the State must not shortchange students with the most intensive needs and the schools that serve them. We must prevent additional programs from shutting their doors and ensure children with disabilities across New York State receive the support they need to learn.
An Action Plan for a Strong and Equitable Child Care System. In 2018, Governor Cuomo assembled a Task Force of experts to develop innovative solutions to improve access to quality, affordable child care in NY. This month the Task Force’s recommendations were released: Supporting Families, Employers & New York’s Future Report: An Action Plan for a Strong and Equitable Child Care System. Our guest presenters spotlighted the recommendations to create a child care system that is more affordable, accessible, high-quality, and coordinated.
Please find Liftoff’s Spring 2021 Network e-newsletter with searchable links and content for your review.
We are pleased to announce that Amy Miranti has joined Liftoff as our Communications and Administrative Associate! Amy is responsible for a combination of day-to-day operations, technology, and communication tasks for our initiative. We are thrilled to have Amy home in on our communications plans and strategies and serve as our administrative liaison to our Steering Committees and community partners. Amy is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Spanish. Prior Liftoff WNY, Amy served as a marketing and social media consultant for Arkatecht and Dancing with ED. In addition to Amy’s professional experience, she brings a deep commitment to community through her volunteer work with Help For Parents Network, Inc., as a Crisis Text Line Counselor, and as a volunteer with Blythedale Children’s Hospital.
Stephanie Townsend, PhD features her latest research on WNY’s digital divide and showcases ROC the Future’s “Digital Divide in Rochester: Initial Data & Actions Taken” Report, which Stephanie is the lead author. Following Stephanie’s presentation, participants heard from Jennifer Cathy, Liftoff member and Chief Impact Officer of the United Way of Greater Rochester. Jennifer is a lead member of ROC the Future’s working group charged to ensure a coordinated community response for pre-K students that makes sure children and their families, whether in the Rochester City School District or community-based pre-K programs, have internet access and age-appropriate devices.
‘No Small Matter’ Screening & Discussion No Small Matter is grounded in the idea that early care and education is deeply personal — after all, we’ve all either had a child, known a child, or been a child! But on a broader scale, the return on investment for high quality early learning has ripple effects across our society. Now is the time to get this right — both because it’s urgent for families today, and because it’s an issue at a tipping point in cities and states around the country.
Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body We know that the foundations of lifelong health are built early. But we don’t often discuss the considerable effects on both short- and long-term outcomes in physical and mental health and learning. Featured speaker, Dr. Tariq Khan shares why these early moments matter and highlights Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child’s recent groundbreaking working paper, “Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined”. As the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, housed at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University states, “the policy and practice implications of this knowledge are striking: Strategic investments in young children and the adults who care for them affect long-term physical and mental health as much as they affect early learning”.
Please find Liftoff’s Summer 2020 Network e-newsletter with searchable links and content for your review.
Please find Liftoff’s Spring 2020 Network e-newsletter with searchable links and content for your review!
Please find Liftoff’s Winter 2020 Network e-newsletter with searchable links and content for your review!
Liftoff, a strategic alliance of 29 funders supporting early childhood initiatives across Western New York and Monroe County has named Rachel Bonsignore as its first director. Liftoff, a collaborative effort launched in 2018, has a mission to promote and enhance high quality early childhood development for children up to age five by integrating practice, policy, research, and resources to ensure they reach their fullest potential.
Anna Muoio, from the Deloitte Monitor Institute, facilitated a workshop for Liftoff members to support axes of collaboration and leveraging networks for social impact. A draft action plan was developed. More details with opportunities for engagement will be shared in the coming months.
Our children deserve every opportunity to succeed. Unified by this belief, early childhood funders across Western New York have joined forces to form Liftoff, which was publicly launched in the summer of 2018 at press conferences in Erie and Chautauqua counties, to work with existing community organizations and networks to ensure that, by the time children reach kindergarten, they are prepared physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively to reach their fullest potential.