2007-02-02 / Community

New NYC Child Advocate Office Proposed

Former Beach Channel High School principal Bernard Gassaway is challenging New York City politicians and legislators to create the New York City Office of the Child Advocate, an office that would fight for improved child-related services, early childcare, children's rights and education.

Gassaway urges that the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg put the proposal before the Charter Revision Commission to make it a reality.

"If we measure ourselves by the conditions and treatment of our children, we are in crisis. Though such an office would not be a cure-all, it would provide New York City children with full-time, independent, proactive advocacy," said Gassaway.

According to Gassaway, the city's Administration for Children Services (ACS) is overwhelmed by the number of child abuse cases. Gassaway also notes that the office lacks the resources and independence to carry out its mission fully. "An independent advocate would fight to secure adequate funding for child-related services. Most would agree that ACS is underfunded, understaffed and overwhelmed," Gassaway said.

Gassaway is a senior superintendent of alternative schools and programs for New York City and author of "Reflections of an Urban High School Principal." He was also a Columbia University Charles H. Revson Fellow from 2003 to 2004.

Gassaway concluded by saying, "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-bring of all children."

New Yorkers are encouraged to lobby their city and state representatives to support the initiative and have it put on the ballot as a referendum. To contact the Charter Revision Commission, call 212-676-2060 or visit www.nyc.gov.

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