2021-22 Health Budget Testimony in Support of MECF

Testimony of the New York State Catholic Conference regarding the 2021 – 2022 Health Budget, Joint Legislative Budget Hearing Health. Statement in Support of the Maternity & Early Childhood Foundation, submitted by Kathleen M. Gallagher, Catholic Action Network Director, NYS Catholic Conference.

February 25, 2021

The New York State Catholic Conference urges the restoration of funding for the Maternity & Early Childhood Foundation (MECF), a statewide not-for-profit organization which provides grants to community-based programs serving low-income pregnant and parenting moms. MECF has been supported in the NYS Budget every year since 1983, but tragically, this year the Executive Budget proposes to eliminate all of the Foundation’s funding, which would be harmful to the programs and devastating to the families served.

MECF supports community programs in areas of our state where resources are limited or non-existent, providing services such as home visits, crisis intervention, parenting education, referrals and connections to social services, housing, mental health care and WIC. During the coronavirus pandemic, some of these programs supply a crucial lifeline for young families in poverty, providing necessities like food, clothing, diapers and formula. More

2021-22 Human Services Budget Testimony

Testimony of the New York State Catholic Conference regarding the 2021 – 2022 Human Services Budget submitted by Dennis Poust, interim executive director, NYS Catholic Conference.

February 9, 2021

Senator Krueger, Assembly Member Weinstein, distinguished members of the Senate and Assembly.

My name is Dennis Poust, and I am the interim executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference. The Catholic Conference advocates for issues of importance to the New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors, the policy board for Catholic Charities and its programs operating in all 62 counties of this state. Catholic Charities’ 400 human services agencies from every region of the state serve the poor and vulnerable, aged and infirm, immigrants and refugees, people with developmental and physical disabilities, people with mental illness, people with HIV/AIDS, those suffering from addiction, people and families who are homeless or facing housing insecurity, people who do not have enough food to feed their families, and many others. For more than 100 years, Catholic Charities has partnered with New York State in providing services, and it remains the largest non-governmental provider of human services in the state.

With such incredible need in these unprecedented times, we understand you must do your best to triage the issues, focusing first and foremost on the preservation of human life, caring for those who are ill, vaccinating millions of people in a socially equitable way, helping to preserve businesses, ensuring the education of children, making sure people have the basic necessities of life such as food and housing…the list goes on. More

2021-22 Education Budget Testimony

Testimony of the New York State Council of Catholic School Superintendents presented by James D. Cultrara, Executive Secretary, regarding the 2021-22 Elementary and Secondary Education Budget.

Joint Legislative Budget Hearing: Elementary Education

January 28, 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused and continues to cause enormous financial hardship to the state’s Catholic schools. In the days and immediate weeks following the declaration of the state and national emergency, tuition income to our schools began to drop as parents lost jobs, suffered reduced income and/or were unwilling to pay tuition for an on-line instructional program we were forced to implement. As a result of the precipitous drop in income, more than 30 Catholic schools across the state were forced to permanently close last June, two-thirds of which were in the City of New York.

The financial hardship did not end with the close of the last school year. Re-registrations for the fall were dramatically lower, leaving administrators unsure of whether they could survive the next school year. As they prepared to reopen their schools for in-person instruction – under the strict health and educational requirements of the state – they were forced to bear the unanticipated costs of hiring additional nurses and other staff, installing physical barriers and signage, purchasing personal protective equipment, acquiring cleaning supplies, arranging for ongoing sanitizing throughout and between each day, installing or modifying air purification equipment, purchasing and training for additional technology related to remote learning, collecting and reporting data to the Department of Health on a daily basis – the list goes on and on. As the school year progressed, many schools located in red, orange and yellow zones were also forced to endure the cost of COVID testing. Taken together thus far, these costs are ranging between $1,000 to $5,000 per pupil. More