Advocates for Children of New York, Inc.

Our Mission

Advocates for Children of New York (AFC)’s mission is to ensure a high-quality education for New York students who face barriers to academic success, focusing on students from low-income backgrounds.

AFC achieves this through four integrated strategies:

  • Free advice and legal representation for families of students; 
  • Free trainings and workshops for parents, communities, and educators and other professionals, to equip them to advocate on behalf of students; 
  • Policy advocacy to effect change in the education system and improve education outcomes; and 
  • Impact litigation to protect the right to quality education and to compel needed education reform.

Our History

In 1971, three education activists created Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) to address the desperate need for skilled intervention to protect New York City children from inappropriate suspension; improve education for young people with disabilities; and foster communication between schools and parents.  To this day, AFC leads the charge for access to quality education for ALL New York City students, focusing on the children and youth who are most likely to experience failure or discrimination in school because of poverty, disability, race, ethnicity, immigrant or English Language Learner status, homelessness, sexual orientation, gender identity, or involvement in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems.  No other city-wide organization works in the trenches, providing students and their families with the one-on-one guidance and advocacy they need, while at the same time, pressing for systemic reforms that benefit ALL students.

See a timeline with highlights from AFC’s history and learn more about founding Executive Director William Jesinkey (1934—2014).