New York state has a goal of reducing child poverty by 50% by the end of 2031. On Wednesday, the New York State Child Poverty Advisory Reduction Council met for its final meeting of the year.

The meeting looked at what the council has accomplished over the past year and what the group is looking for from the state as we move toward 2024 state budget negotiations.

Barbara Guinn, co-chair of the Child Poverty Reduction Advisory Council and acting commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, says the bulk of 2023 has been spent identifying and addressing key issues ranging from housing to tax policy.

“We need to have recommendations that are put forward and hopefully adopted,” she said. 

She says collaboration drives the group’s policy recommendations.

“We’ve heard from experts, from think tanks, from other agencies within the state that have a lot of expertise in the area so that people can understand some of the ways that government can take action,” she said.

The council is also confronted with the scope of New York’s varying demographics, and appointee Pete Nabozny, director of Policy for The Children’s Agenda in Rochester, says it’s crucial to have representatives from various regions.

“Poverty is different in different parts of the state, so we need to have voices from across the state to make sure that the recommendations this council puts together ultimately reduce poverty across the entire state,” he said. 

At the meeting, the council voted to release its 2023 progress report outlining specific accomplishments like reforms to child tax credits, expanding eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program and eliminating roadblocks for access to public assistance.

Looking ahead to 2024, the council wants to build upon those reforms to child tax credits.

“I think a lot of us are hoping that the governor’s budget and the final enacted budget includes an expansion of the child tax credit, as well as more housing support for families,” Nabozny said.

Another area of focus for next year is finding ways to get the word out about how New Yorkers can be part of the process. 

“We’ll hold more sessions to engage members of the public and others across the state to hear about the work of the committee, and for us to get input from them about potential recommendations from the committee,” Guinn said.

In addition to informing people about the process, they also say a key goal is raising awareness of and easing access to resources that are already available.