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Family Support

Mission Statement of Advocates for Children

About Us

AFC promotes access to the best education New York can provide for all students, especially students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. We use uniquely integrated strategies to advance systemic reform, empower families and communities, and advocate for the educational rights of individual students.

AFC Services

Individual Case Advocacy

AFC is the only citywide agency offering free individual case assistance to families and children who are experiencing problems in obtaining appropriate educational services for their children. This includes special education problems, school disciplinary issues, and general access to school services.

Direct advocacy not only effectively assists individuals, but these cases often reveal trends in denial of services, which AFC then addresses through negotiation with schools, school districts, the City's Board of Education and the State's Education Department. Skilled bilingual education experts, paralegals, and attorneys help parents use resources and strategies to overcome barriers. When further intervention is required, staff members attend meetings with parents, impartial hearings at the Board of Education and handle administrative and court appeals.


AFC offers a Helpline four days a week to assist parents and professionals.

If you would like to speak with an attorney or advocate, please call our Helpline between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm on Mondays through Thursdays.



Each year AFC conducts scores of training workshops that educate and empower thousands of parents. The workshop presenters describe parents' and students' rights and entitlements, both in regular and special education. At "how-to" sessions, they explain to parents how they can participate in local school governance and to advocate on their own and others' behalf. Workshop presenters also teach parents what they need to know about the Board of Education and how it works. Workshops are held at times that are convenient to parents. We present workshops on evenings and weekends in churches, libraries and community organizations throughout the New York City. Most workshops are also offered in Spanish.

AFC also presents workshops for child welfare and other social services professionals that convey skills and knowledge about education law, regulations, and procedures. These workshops enable school personnel, foster care workers, clinical social workers and others to assist families in their care.

To schedule a workshop, please contact Joanne Bucellato:
1-212-947-9779, ext. 505 or email

AFC offers more than 40 different workshops. To download a list of our workshop topics, please click here.




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