Launched back in October by First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, the Growing Up NYC digital platform’s primary functions is to give parents and caregivers a rundown of constructive events happening in each borough based on their child’s age. The platform would be particularly helpful during winter recess when parents will be left with the task of finding fun and constructive ways to keep kids occupied.
Growing Up NYC is a relatively new initiative from the NYC Children’s Cabinet. It provides guidance to City agencies around how to prioritize and implement policies and programs that advance the well-being of children and young adults ages 0-24, and allows parents and caregivers to easily access a vast array of resources for raising a family in New York City, including fun winter/holiday-themed events plus story time, game nights, arts and crafts-making, homework help and more.
“I remember bringing Chiara home from the hospital in her car seat. We put her down on the couch, still in her car seat, looked at each other and thought, ‘What do we do next?,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Like many who are new to parenting, Bill and I had no family nearby to help us with our many questions. Growing Up NYC is a wonderful digital how-to resource to help parents navigate raising children in New York City – which we all know can be tough. It provides parents with a treasure trove of information, from developmental milestones to updates about free family fun. And busy parents can access it on-the-go, from the phone in their pocket.”
“We believe that New York City is the best place in America to raise children, and we’ve invested in a range of programs – from Pre-K for All to Schools Out New York City – that are making it better by the day,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “By making information about New York City’s many programs and parenting resources available through a 21st Century digital tool, Growing Up NYC allows parents and caregivers to access the best that our City has to offer. Together with the new policy framework to help City agencies invest in programs that will have the greatest impact on child-well-being, The Children’s Cabinet continues to create opportunities for our youngest New Yorkers reach their full potential.”
The Growing Up NYC digital platform is a new City of New York resource for parents and caregivers. A “mobile first” platform – accessible by phone, tablet or computer here – the digital guide is designed to help millions of New York parents access City services, programs, and events for families and children up to age 12. Parents will be able to access everything from after-school programs to parenting classes to temporary cash assistance programs and where to find fresh foods in their neighborhoods – all at their fingertips.
A hard-copy resource guidebook that contains expanded information for youth up to age 24 will be available in libraries across the City.
The new initiative is grounded in the first-ever policy framework, here, to help City agencies make strategic, evidence-based investments in programs that promote child health, development, and safety. The framework is underpinned by trend data that benchmarks children’s performance on key well-being indicators and major health milestones along the 0-24 age continuum.
Growing Up NYC builds off of previous Children’s Cabinet campaigns – including Talk to Your Baby and NYC Baby Showers – that address the developmental needs of children from birth to age three. The Cabinet’s new policy framework will support the cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development of all New York City children by shaping City policies, agency practices and program development around the following key elements:
1. Guiding Principles: a set of eight core beliefs and values to shape agency work;
2. Universal Risk and Protective Factors: Factors that are critical to understanding the balance required to meet developmental needs;
3. Age-Graded Transitions: A series of developmental milestones that children should successfully meet over the course of their lives;
4. Program Spotlights: Comprehensive “spotlights” of relevant investments and programs to highlight the City’s work on these issues; and
5. Well-Being Indicators: Selected indicators that will be measured to assess the City’s Progress toward its goals
Additionally, the policy framework provides the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with a decision-making tool to align agency program proposals with the new framework in order to prioritize necessary investments.
Each year, the Cabinet will assess the implementation of Growing Up NYC and how its investments in children are impacting the well-being indicators. Findings will be made available through the Annual Scorecard for Child Well-Being and Safety.
“Growing Up NYC will make it easier for families to discover the extraordinary free programs and resources available in Brooklyn’s public libraries,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “That’s great news for children who will find their first favorite books at our story time sessions, students who will enroll in our after-school STEM programs and families whose lives will be enriched by their interactions with our dedicated, knowledgeable librarians.”
“As a member of the NYC Children’s Cabinet, the Department of Youth and Community Development works collaboratively with other agencies to develop and implement effective programs and policies to address the needs of our young people and their families,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “Growing Up NYC is an exciting initiative, that empowers New Yorkers to take full advantage of all of the City’s parenting resources. This digital platform is bringing the City’s services into the 21st century while empowering families and helping our communities flourish.”
“It is essential that our youngest New Yorkers have access to a high quality education in their earliest years regardless of the neighborhood they live in or the language they speak at home,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Growing Up NYC will help provide parents and guardians with a road map of programs and resources for our youngsters, like the fantastic cultural institutions and parks that New York City has to offer. I encourage families to take full advantage of this program and the many exciting opportunities in NYC.”
“Creating an equitable and healthy landscape for our city’s children is the bedrock of good government,” said Mindy Tarlow, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “Growing Up NYC delivers City resources directly to the fingertips of New Yorkers in a simple and accessible manner, improving the livelihoods of millions of parents and children citywide.”
“Sometimes the biggest obstacle to resources for parents and families is access to information,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “This resource guide and policy framework are important parts of expanding access to programs like evidence-based maternal home visiting. Thank you to First Lady McCray, Deputy Mayor Buery, and the City.”
“Navigating the City’s resources can often be complicated, especially for parents who already have the monumental responsibility of caring for their children. I am so pleased that this new initiative will provide parents with access to quality, comprehensive resources in a way that is simple and efficient,” said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery.
“Growing Up NYC is a meaningful effort to improving outcomes for our youth,” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. “My office has been involved in local early childhood initiatives and the need for a coordinated citywide system is evident. As an Early Childhood Education Fellow, I’m looking forward to working with First Lady McCray and Deputy Mayor Buery to address all facets of child development in my community.”
“From even before your child is born until they set out for life on their own, Growing Up NYC will be there to help,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “This is yet another example of the City taking innovative approaches that will empower millions of parents and their children to achieve their hopes and dreams. I applaud First Lady Chirlane McCray and the administration for leading on a data-driven, digitally inclusive initiative to improve the lives of New Yorkers everywhere.”
“As the proud new father in my first year of parenthood, having a one-stop guide to all resources available in the city could be a lifesaver for parents who are about to dive head first into parenting,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Being a father is the hardest job I’ve ever had, so I’d like to thank First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Buery for bringing all the vital tools at the City’s disposal directly to families with this new mobile platform.”
“By setting up guiding principles to shape the work of City agencies and by creating an accessible online platform to help parents and caregivers navigate city programs and services, we take another step toward investing in a healthier city for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Deborah Rose. “By engaging parents and local government, this initiative strengthens our commitment to promoting the health and well-being of New York City’s youngest residents, and I thank the Mayor and First Lady for their dedication to this important issue.”
About the NYC Children’s Cabinet
The NYC Children’s Cabinet is a multi-agency initiative created by Mayor Bill de Blasio to bolster communication and coordination among city agencies and provides a space to identify and analyze individual and common areas of work that impact child safety and well-being. The Cabinet is chaired by Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, and is comprised of commissioners and directors from 24 City agencies and Mayoral offices.
The Children’s Cabinet promotes opportunities to develop partnerships and efficiencies, allowing each agency’s efforts to build off each other and produce a greater cumulative impact on youth and their families.