Since its founding in 1875, The NYSPCC has been in the forefront of advocacy efforts for laws and policies that seek a safer and healthier environment for all children. We engage in advocacy efforts on a broad variety of fronts, including legislative advocacy, litigation support, and public awareness campaigns.
The NYSPCC takes an active role, both as an individual agency and in coalition with other individuals and organizations, to support legislation that will improve the lives of children and their families. Advocacy efforts focus on the local, state and national levels.
Recent successful advocacy efforts include the enactment of the New York State Child Victims Act, which improved both the civil and criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims. Victims can now sue their abusers until they reach the age of 55. In addition, all victims can sue their abusers, regardless of when the abuse took place, during the one-year period after the Act went into effect.
The NYSPCC was also instrumental in amending Article 23-B of the Education Law, a change that now requires private schools to report allegations of child abuse committed by school staff to law enforcement. As a result, the nearly 500,000 private school students throughout New York State now have the same protection from abuse by school personnel as found in the public schools.
The NYSPCC recently testified at a New York City Council hearing in opposition to a bill that would require legal counsel for parents at the initial contact between a child protective services investigator and the family during a child abuse investigation. This bill, which if enacted would cause significant delay in potentially life-saving intervention for children, was successfully defeated in the City Council.
For the 2020 legislative session, The NYSPCC supports these bills currently pending in the New York State Legislature:
- S7249/A9102, sponsored by Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, creates a felony Endangering the Welfare of a Child (EWOC) criminal charge. A felony EWOC charge is needed for egregious instances of child maltreatment, such as life-threatening medical neglect or repeated instances of improper supervision and where a child is placed in danger. Without this change, district attorneys are forced to bring only a misdemeanor charge which does not reflect the seriousness of the danger created for the child victim. Click below for the text and other information regarding the proposed bill.
- A3688, sponsored by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and supported by Senator Robert Jackson, would mandate instruction for public school students from grades K through 12 in protection from sexual abuse and assault. Such instruction is necessary and vital in keeping children safe from the life-long damaging effect of sexual abuse. Click below for the text and other information regarding the proposed bill.
The NYSPCC lends its support during litigation in the form of amicus curiae briefs where the issue before the court has a significant public policy aspect for child welfare systems. This can include the submission of an amicus brief in its own behalf, or signing on with other child welfare organizations in support of a brief prepared by a third party.
The NYSPCC believes it is an essential component of its mission to constantly bring the issue of child protection/child safety to the forefront of public consciousness. We believe that child protection is everyone’s responsibility, and the public can play a supremely important part in the mosaic of the formal systems and practices that are designed to help ensure child health and safety. Through public awareness campaigns, public service announcements, social media presence, and other efforts, The NYSPCC tirelessly puts children’s well-being front and center in the public eye.
Currently, The NYSPCC is helping to spearhead an anti-corporal punishment campaign by promoting the concept of “No Hit Zones,” encouraging institutions such as hospitals, family service providers and the like, to adopt and advertise “No Hit Zone” policies at all locations where children and parents are likely to be present. For more information and resources on the “No Hit Zone” campaign, click below.
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