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PCCY Highlights Since Our Founding

1980

  • With the strong core belief that our job—as parents, as neighbors, and as a society, is to make sure that every child has access to the fundamental building blocks for success, Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth is created. The agency was born out of a “Citizens’ Committee” watchdog group that previously looked at problems in services affecting children and youth in Philadelphia.

1982

  • PCCY brings together citizens from across Philadelphia to take a stand on behalf of children by creating two task forces—one on child welfare Issues, and the other on Education. This lays the groundwork for PCCY’s development and leadership on children’s issues.

1987

  • Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode and City Council follow PCCY’s call to combat teen pregnancy and infant mortality by establishing three teen health clinics across Philadelphia to provide comprehensive care to adolescents.
  • PCCY launches a public campaign to increase child enrollment in Medicaid. PCCY staff and volunteers work in schools, helping parents register their children.
  • PCCY launches partnerships with community organizations to help families secure healthcare for their children.
  • PCCY launches city-wide campaign to focus on improving the lives of homeless children.
  • PCCY begins major campaign initiatives to improve the meals, safety, schooling and support for children in shelters.

1990

  • PCCY responds to years of cuts in child welfare programs by issuing reports and organizing a march on Harrisburg, bringing trainloads of people including the Mayor and City Council representatives to focus attention on the needs of children, filing a lawsuit against the state and testifying at several hearings. As a result, the state established a new formula for funding child welfare that secures more funding from the state.
  • PCCY begins to draw attention to the problem of lead poisoning in the city, issuing reports, getting City Council to hold hearings, helping create lead court, briefing judges on impact of the problem.

1992

  • PCCY teams with stakeholders across PA to urge the state to pass the CHIP program. Not only did it pass, but PA CHIP would later become the model for the federal government’s national CHIP Program.
  • PCCY works to ease the CHIP application process, holds hearings and launches Child Health Watch.
  • PCCY organized petitions, volunteers and built publicity to ensure that all 79 public pools in Philadelphia would open on time.

1996

  • PCCY rallies 120 local community groups and the School District of Philadelphia to take more than 20,000 people to Washington, D.C. for Stand for Children to march on the Capitol and speak out on behalf of children.

1998

  • PCCY and the Philadelphia Department of Recreation launch the “Summer Playstreets Program.” The program encourages neighbors to close off their blocks during the summer to provide safe zones for children to play. PCCY helps organize neighbors who assist with free lunches and non-violent games to hundreds of children in the program.
  • PCCY launches maternal and infant care program to increase support for timely visits during pregnancy and better follow up with infants after mother and child leave the hospital.
  • PCCY together with the city, the Mayor, the United Way, the Eagles and the Phillies launch a $120 million children’s fund ($2 million a year for 20 years from the teams).

2002

  • PCCY launches a mini-arts grant program called the Picasso Project with the support from the Giveback Campaign. Schools from across the city apply for the grants, which are funded later through local individuals, corporations and foundations.
  • When the state announces it would give back some tax funds, PCCY launches a Campaign to “Give Back the Give Back” to encourage people to donate their returned tax funds to programs for children.
  • PCCY continues its Courtwatch project in which citizen volunteers are trained and sit in on court hearings of juveniles and issue annual reports on juvenile justice in Philadelphia.

2003

  • PCCY launches the “1% More for Kids Campaign” to urge Philadelphia Mayoral Candidates to commit an additional 1% of the City’s budget (about $35 million at the time) to programming for children and families. Both Mayoral Candidates expressed support for the idea.

2005

  • PCCY helps to create one of the first “peace” public high schools in the country. Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice opens and provides problem solving, conflict resolution and peer mediation programs in addition to more traditional subjects.

2006

  • After reporting on the extensive unmet oral health needs of children, PCCY teams up with area dentists to provide free dental care to hundreds of children through the very first “Give Kids a Smile Day.” PCCY continues to hold this day of care on an annual basis.

2007

  • After more than a decade of PCCY’s advocating for safe transportation for Philadelphia school children, SEPTA launches the “Student Transportation Pass” which provides free or low-cost transportation for thousands of school children.
  • The City Council of Philadelphia and the Mayor agree to place a ballot question at PCCY’s urging, to establish the Philadelphia Youth Commission as a City Government entity to develop and recommend strategies of improving the lives of Philadelphia’s youth.
  • To reflect its growing work in the region, PCCY changes its name to “Public Citizens for Children and Youth.”

2009

  • PCCY teams with Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, the First Philadelphia Foundation and the School District to provide a free day of vision care for children called “Give Kids Sight Day.” Doctors treated 1,200 children on this day. Give Kids Sight Day is now held every year.
  • PCCY advocated to save Philadelphia libraries many of which were threatened with being closed.

2011

  • PCCY’s reports and testimony on the number of children in Philadelphia suffering from lead poisoning leads to City Council passing an ordinance that requires Philadelphia landlords to ensure that properties rented to families with children are lead-safe.
  • PCCY continually testified, organized and advocated for increasing support for early childhood programs and public school funding.

2013

  • PCCY mobilizes hundreds of students, teachers and education advocates for rallies in Philadelphia and Harrisburg to call on the City and State to provide additional resources for schools. The District rehired hundreds of laid off teachers to open schools, albeit with only bare-bones resources.
  • PCCY issues a report and testifies on 111 barriers to enrollment in Philadelphia charter schools. The district used PCCY’s research as a guide in their charter renewal process, and, as a result, the barriers were removed, leveling the playing field for children in the district.

Throughout its history, PCCY testified, annually issued reports on the state of children in the city and region, organized communities and families to advocate and focused on the needs of children and what must be done to improve their lives.