Friends and Colleagues,

The board and staff at Families Together are so grateful to the hundreds of families, young people, and system allies who joined us in Albany for Family Empowerment Day. Last week, we showed legislators where the  priorities  of New York's families and young people stand. Placing the needs of children and families first remains more important now than ever before.

However, advocacy is not an event, but a process. Movements are not moments, but the sustained, persistent effort of hundreds of people working toward a common goal. Our collective voice shapes policy. No one person or group can do this alone. So together, let's ensure this year's state budget prioritizes the needs of families affected by mental health, juvenile justice, foster care, and addiction. The time to act is now! You are the best advocates to get the message across. Be the change you want to see!

We recognize that the outbreak of COVID-19 complicates this work as legislators may not be taking appointments due to the risk of spreading this illness. We fully appreciate the gravity of this situation and urge you all to take every precaution necessary to keep your family safe and healthy. However, we have long understood that mental health is physical health and long before the COVID-19 crisis, New York faces a children's behavioral health crisis. Our families cannot wait! 

While many of us may now be asked to stay home, our advocacy doesn't have to. Call, email, tweet, and post to your legislators urging them not to forget about the needs of families affected by mental health, juvenile justice, child welfare, and addiction in this year's budget.  Visit our FTNYS Digital Advocacy Center for updates on e-actions on and call scripts.

Hearing a story about how you have been affected is the best way to inspire action. The stories you tell to your legislators carry weight and offers a human touch to these issues. Let them know that as your representative they have a responsibility to support youth in this year's budget.

If you are unsure who your State Senator or Assembly representatives are, check here: . If you have a story you'd like to share with us or questions regarding connecting with your legislator, do not hesitate to reach out to us at  (518) 432-03333  x28, or

Thank you for your continued advocacy. We look forward to working with you this year. 


Paige Pierce, CEO
Families Together in New York State