Getting Heard at the Capitol
For the third consecutive year, advocates for the Fostering Youth Success Alliance (FYSA) traveled to Albany to request more funding for the landmark Foster Youth College Success Initiative. This year, FYSA set a record with more than 100 people roaming the halls of the Capitol, meeting with dozens of lawmakers.
There was a little more urgency this year. FYSA first helped establish funding for the FY 16 budget, with $1.5 million. The state, with the support of Governor Cuomo doubled that budget the following year, ensuring that a second group of students would get the college support they needed. Unfortunately, Gov. Cuomo’s initial FY18 budget only included $1.5 million. At that level, not only would New York not be able to support any new students with funding, but it would have to take away funding from hundreds of students already midstream in their education.
"We bear a responsibility to these young men and women coming out of foster care,” said Assembly member Ellen Jaffe (D-Suffern) the new chair of the Committee on Children and Families. She has been a supporter of this program since the beginning and will work with other key legislative champions, such as Assembly members Deborah Glick and Donna Lupardo, in getting our leaders to invest in the Foster Youth College Success Initiative at a level that helps sustain and grow it.
This advocacy day was only the beginning of what will certainly be a long push to double down on the futures of foster care youth—who have every right to go to and succeed in higher education.