Lupardo’s legislation helps afterschool programs

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Activities in school buildings to be regulated by SED

(ALBANY, NY) – Keeping students engaged outside of the classroom has been made easier following the passage of a new bill through both houses of the Legislature. Afterschool programs taking place inside a school building will now be governed under the regulations of the State Education Department (SED), rather than the Office of Children and Families (OCFS). The bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton) in the Assembly and Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) in the Senate.

“We are making an effort to ensure that children have the best learning opportunities at every step along the way, and providing quality afterschool programs is a critical component,” said Lupardo, who serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families. “By having these activities fall under the purview of SED, program coordinators will no longer have to jump through unnecessary hoops to be sure our children are in a safe, engaging environment.”

OCFS’s State School-Age Child Care (SACC) regulations seek to ensure the basic health and safety of children in child care and to promote their positive development. Unfortunately, afterschool programs are challenged in their efforts to meet those licensing requirements and, in many ways, the regulations create barriers to high-quality programming.

For example, an afterschool program is held responsible for taking down posters on the walls put up by teachers in their own classrooms because these posters are considered a fire hazard based on the SACC regulations. School administrators do not consider these posters a fire hazard – in fact they actively encourage them during the school day. This new legislation would cut this unnecessary red tape for afterschool programs.

The bill will now go to Governor Cuomo for consideration.