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Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Protecting Vulnerable Children: Following the tragedy of Zymere Perkins, the de Blasio administration announced a series of ACS reforms that will protect our most vulnerable: our children. While the case is still under investigation, we are using what we have learned to implement strategic reforms to ensure this never happens again. We are ensuring that there is a sufficient number of experienced NYPD and ACS personnel that will jointly investigate cases of children suspected of having endured serious abuse. Secondly, ACS must approve ending contracted services for cases that involve allegations of serious physical abuse against children. Third, we will strengthen oversight of our child protective staff by assembling a team outside of their division to hold them accountable, to review the work, to do the audits, to do case reviews. We will work with the Department of Education to establish clear guidelines for when a series of absences should trigger an investigation. We will conduct ongoing in-house training for all caseworkers on how to handle suspected physical abuse. And we will have further reforms underway in the coming months. We ask New Yorkers: if you see something, say something. If you fear a child is being abused, pick up the phone, call 311. If you feel a child is in immediate danger, pick up the phone and call 911.

#IamMuslimNYC: Last week, several City agencies announced events and programming supportive of the City’s Muslim communities, including the NYC Commission on Human Rights which launch a digital ad campaign, a fact sheet on legal protections for Muslims, and a brochure on religious protections under the City’s anti-discrimination law. The campaign has reached millions of New Yorkers so far. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Community Affairs Unit have also announced public safety forums, community engagement efforts, and other programming as part of the City’s broader effort to protect diverse vulnerable communities and fight xenophobia.

Mental Health Service Corps Members Placed Throughout the City: First Lady Chirlane McCray and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in partnership with the Hunter College/Research Foundation, announced the placement of 110 Mental Health Service Corps members in neighborhoods across the city. These mental health professionals, comprised of social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and addiction medicine specialists, will provide mental health and substance use services in communities with the highest need. They will support activities that promote mental health, in addition to improving access to effective treatment for mental illness.

Calling For Fairer Elections: The de Blasio Administration is fighting to ensure every vote counts this Election Day by streamlining the process and engaging voters. Last week, the Mayor called for the passage of a slate of reforms at the state level that would make New York’s voting process fairer and more open. By removing barriers to absentee and early voting, cutting down lines at the polls, and making voting easier and more streamlined, we can ensure that every New Yorkers’ vote counts. Some of these reforms include: allowing same-day voter registration; providing methods of early voting including vote by mail, “no-excuse” absentee voting and early in-person voting, and allowing 16- and 17-year olds the opportunity to pre-register to vote. The Mayor also called for the federal government to clear the large backlog of pending naturalization applications.

Perfect Score on LGBT Inclusivity: New York City received a true perfect score, 116 out of 100 points, this week for LGBT inclusivity by the Human Rights Campaign. The group issued its 5th annual Municipal Equality Index, which examines the laws, policies, and services of municipalities and rates them on the basis of their inclusivity of LGBT people who live and work there. New York City has received 100 points every year, as a result of a combination of standard and bonus points, since the index was first published in 2012.

New York City Hosts First Ever Pre-K for All Cities Learning Lab: New York City hosted policymakers from 12 municipal governments from across the country for the first-ever Pre-K for All Cities’ Learning Lab. The forum allowed for diverse municipalities to take part in an ongoing national dialogue about increasing access to high-quality early education for all children regardless of their race, socio-economic status or zip code. As of the first day of the 2016-17 school year, over 70,400 children in New York City were registered for free, full-day, high quality pre-K.

Updating the Requirements for Affordable Housing Lotteries: Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a series of new affordable housing lottery rules designed to ensure that City-assisted affordable housing reaches the New Yorkers who need it most. Important changes to the policies include ending developers and leasing agents’ ability to deny applications based solely on credit scores; new standards for homeless shelter referrals to account for special challenges faced by these households; strictly limiting the ability of landlords to deny an applicant based only on their exercising due process rights in housing court; and imposing limits on personal assets.

Increasing Police Transparency: Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for significant amendments to Section 50-a of the New York State Civil Rights Law to make disciplinary information about police officers and other uniformed personnel covered under this section of the law subject to disclosure. The de Blasio Administration, just like every administration that has preceded it, is constrained to follow State law and binding appellate court rulings, and to apply the law evenly in all circumstances regardless of who the covered employees are. However, the Administration strongly believes that the public interest in transparency and accountability for those in positions of public trust is not well-served by the law as it currently exists and, therefore, it will seek amendments to Civil Rights Law Section 50-a in the upcoming 2017 state legislative session.

Encouraging New Yorkers to Sign Up for SCRIE/DRIE: The City has enrolled 20,000 seniors and people with disabilities in the NYC Rent Freeze Program since expanding access in June 2014. The program, which includes the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) Program and the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) Program, helps those eligible stay in affordable housing by freezing their rent. The City is also launching new efforts to inform tenants about the Rent Guidelines Board’s freeze on one-year rent-stabilized leases, and two-percent increase on two-year leases – both of which took effect this October 1st. We estimate there are 77,000 New Yorkers who qualify for SCRIE and DRIE and are not getting it. We want to reach all 77,000 and we’re going to be aggressively reaching out because we want as many people as possible to benefit from this rent freeze. The number one message to get across about how you do it: just pick up the phone and call 311. If you qualify, the City will work with you to make sure you get what you deserve.

Equity And Excellence For All: Mayor de Blasio returned to the Association for a Better New York last week to share his vision of Equity and Excellence in all New York City Schools. The vision is a school system that begins earlier to give students a solid foundation; makes rigorous and challenging courses the norm; and ensures students master critical skills on time – like reading on level by the end of 2nd grade and completing Algebra no later than 9th grade; and invests in a path to college for every New York City public school student.

Ended Punitive Segregation for Inmates 21 and Under: Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Joseph Ponte announced the Department of Correction has ended the practice of punitive segregation for inmates 21 years old and under. The Department of Correction has created alternative, rehabilitative approaches for managing young inmates’ behavior that have paved the way for ending a practice that can be counterproductive to the development of young adults. This announcement represents an unprecedented milestone in New York State correctional history and puts the DOC at the forefront of correctional reform across the nation. No other state has accomplished comparable punitive-segregation reforms for inmates ages 19 through 21.

Safest September in Recorded History: Citywide, this September was the safest of any September in the entire CompStat era, with total index crimes reported down 12.1% from September 2015. Even in the context of historically low violence, we are sustaining further declines in shootings and murders. This is particularly striking as other large American cities are experiencing increases in their homicide rates. At the same time, we are strengthening the relationships between police and the people who live and work in every neighborhood. Neighborhood Policing is now up and running in more than half of the city, and in all of our commands that cover public housing. The public will soon have the names, email addresses and – increasingly – the cell phone numbers of the individual police officers who patrol their streets every single day.

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