Referral Guide For Recently Arrived Immigrant Children and Their Families:
- On Friday, October 31, 2014, the de Blasio administration published a new resource and referral guide that is intended to link recently arrived immigrant children and their families to New York City government and non-profit services.
- The guide is separated into six main categories: Child and Family Welfare; Donations and Volunteering; Education; Health Services; Legal Services; and Request a Birth Certificate.
- Each of these sections are further broken down into sub categories which can help parents and children more easily access different services, such as: mental health clinics, school enrollment, food pantries, homelessness prevention, and legal advice.
- This referral guide was created in response to the growing number of children fleeing violence in Central America who are arriving in New York.
- Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal stated, “This guide represents the City’s firm and ongoing commitment to connecting recently arrived immigrant children and their families to the services that are available to them, regardless of immigration status.”
- The guide was published in English and Spanish, and can be accessed here.
- For more about this, click here.
Hurricane Sandy Anniversary/Mental Health and Legal Services:
- It has been two years since Hurricane Sandy hit New York; however, many New Yorkers are still feeling the effects. It is estimated that 700,000 people are still experiencing mental health issues as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
- To help combat these issues, the Mental Health Association of New York City, launched iHelp: Sandy Stress Relief. This program provides counselors and resources to people with anxiety, depression, substance abuse or other issues following Hurricane Sandy. This free program is available twenty-four hours a day seven days a week and uses behavior modification combined with relaxation techniques to help people learn to cope with the initial devastation of the storm and to become more resilient against future tragedies. iHelp is available online with access via text or chat, as well as by telephone.
- There are also legal assistance programs available for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Immediately following the storm, the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) created a Storm Response Unit to help with storm-related issues such as: housing, FEMA claims, insurance claims, bankruptcy, and contractor fraud. Queens Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. invited Legal Aid Society representatives to a public meeting in his district to discuss legal issues following Hurricane Sandy.
Domestic Violence and Pets:
- This October, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, one of the recurring questions has been: what happens to the pets of domestic violence victims when they go to a shelter? It has been estimated that 48% of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations out of fear of what will happen to their pets if they leave.
- Urban Resource Institute, a New York City non-profit helping victims of domestic violence, individuals with developmental disabilities, and individuals affected by substance abuse, has teamed up with the ASPCA and others to create URIPALS (People and Animals Living Safely). URIPALS created “co-sheltered” housing for victims of domestic violence and their pets. They have recently announced extending five more units to this program, as well as opening dog parks at the existing locations.
- State legislatures around the country have also begun to pass laws allowing pets to be included in orders of protection. The new federal bill, the Pet And Women Safety Act (PAWS), has been introduced to help victims of domestic violence and their pets escape from abusive relationships together and would establish grants for pet-friendly domestic violence shelters. PAWS would also make it a crime punishable up to five years in prison to cross state lines to hurt a pet. In New York, Family Court Act section 842 contains a provision protecting “companion animals” from being killed or harmed during domestic disputes.
Economic Protections for New York Health Care Workers Who Treat Ebola Abroad:
- Recently, New York government officials have had to respond quickly to balance the public fear of an Ebola outbreak while also respecting the heroic efforts of the medical professionals who are returning from treating patients in Ebola-stricken countries abroad.
- Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have indicated that they do not wish to detract from the kind efforts of medical professionals who have been volunteering to treat Ebola patients abroad, and they recognize that volunteering in this way is heroic. They have also stated that the problem should be treated at its root, and that is in Africa.
- In order to encourage medical professionals to continue treating patients abroad, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have proposed a plan that would provide financial protections to those willing to treat Ebola patients in Africa who may face quarantine when they come to New York.