The Children's Aid Blog

Richard Buery's Essay “Can We Save the City’s Children?” Published in The Atlantic

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The following is an excerpt from Can We Save the City's Children?, by Richard Buery, President and CEO of The Children's Aid Society, published as part of The Atlantic’s essay series, America the Fixable.

"Engaging the local community is vital to the rehabilitation process. For young offenders, receiving supportive services in their home communities, where they can remain connected to families and local institutions, offers the most reliable path for ensuring that they do not grow up to become lifelong criminals. For most children convicted of minor infractions, effective services can be provided while they live at home, avoiding the costs and negative impact of institutionalization. Yet for the past few decades we have failed troubled youth--the vast majority of them black and Latino (84 percent of all admissions in 2009)--by shipping them to juvenile detention facilities hundreds of miles away from home, often for minor infractions."

Continue reading: Can We Save the City's Children?

Children’s Aid Youth Talk Foster Care with One-Man Musical Performer

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Participants of The Children’s Aid Society’s Next Generation Center attended a performance of the one-man musical From Foster Care to Fabulous by Patrick Burns earlier this month. The musical is based on his experience living in four foster homes between the ages of 14 and 17. The youth were very impressed and inspired by Patrick’s story and were also excited to participate in a “Talk Back” after the show which included several foster care professionals.

 “The kids were really impressive during the “Talk Back” and expressed themselves honestly and with some serious charm!” said Natalia Giordano of The Next Generation Center

The Next Generation Center (NGC) is a one-stop center in the Morrisania section of the Bronx designed to support young people with a service delivery and program approach designed to support the needs of youth in foster care and those who have aged out of foster care as well as those involved in the Juvenile Justice System. NGC offers job readiness training and subsidized internships, educational guidance and advocacy, legal counseling, housing assistance, and life skills, creative and visual arts, multimedia, fitness and recreational programming.

Patrick is graciously donating the proceeds from the run of the show to The Children’s Aid Society. “I’m very excited and proud bring the show to New York City where all proceeds will benefit the Children's Aid Society, an organization that provides adoption, foster care, health, and education services to underserved children and families in New York City," Burns said.

Proud Washington Heights Parents Graduate, Better Equipped for Work Force and Economy

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On Saturday June 9, the Fifth Annual Ercilia Pepin Parent Leadership Institute Graduation ceremony took place. Over 100 participants gathered at the Mirabal Sisters Campus to celebrate their accomplishments which was followed by an exhibition in the cafeteria of their acquired and perfected skills.

The Children’s Aid Society’s Parent Leadership Institute was designed to help immigrant families overcome the social, cultural, financial and linguistic challenges that they face while building a solid bridge between the school, its parents and the surrounding community.  A critical intervention is to increase the employability of its participating parents. As a result theme specific trainings and workshops are offered such as baking and upholstery as well as on starting a small business. Parents are also connected to community resources and local organizations that further advance their goals.

Richard Buery, President and CEO of the Children’s Aid Society and Richard Negron, the Community Schools Director, addressed the parents to let them know that their accomplishments were instrumental not only in their own lives but in the lives of their children. The parents were applauded by many of the local elected officials of the Washington Heights community. Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Council Members Robert Jackson and Ydanis Rodriguez, State Assembly Member Herman Farrell and State Senator Adriano Espaillat all reiterated that the graduates had achieved great things and were on a path of being more successful in their lives overall. Senator Espaillat presented a proclamation to the parents and staff of the institute, which was especially important given his role in the planning and start-up of the Institute. The Senator also presented Certificates of Achievement to the parents.

The exhibit showcased the hard work these parents had accomplished all year long. The cafeteria was decorated with beautiful handmade jewelry, stellar cakes, handmade clothing and curtains. The day’s event exuded pride not only of the successes achieved by these graduates but of the entire Washington Heights community.

Richard Buery's Daily News Op-Ed on Mayor Bloomberg's Speech on "Stop & Frisk"

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The following is an excerpt from Why stop-and-frisk should be ended, not mended, an Op-Ed piece by Richard Buery, President and CEO of The Children's Aid Society, published on the Daily News website.

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s speech at a Brownsville church on Sunday was a much-needed demonstration of leadership as community concern about his stop-and-frisk policy grows. We should all applaud the mayor’s desire to reduce violent crime, which disproportionately impacts communities of color, especially the young black and Latino men who are overwhelmingly its victims.

The mayor insists stop-and-frisk is responsible for New York City’s successful reduction in violent crime, including murder, and in reducing the number of guns on the street. His critics point out that there is no causal evidence that this is true. This speech was the mayor’s first attempt to address the true impact of stop-and-frisk. It was sorely welcome, and overdue.

The policy takes a toll well beyond inconvenience, anger and hurt feelings. It goes to the very nature of citizenship — the right to walk freely in your neighborhood and not be treated as a criminal, day after day, week after week, and year after year. It is a flawed — if well-intentioned — approach to addressing public safety."

Continue reading on nydailynews.com

Over 60,000 Signatures and Letters Call On Mayor to Restore Cuts to After School and Child Care

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On June 13th, 300 parents, children, providers and advocates from the Campaign for Children gathered on the steps of City Hall to deliver more than 60,000 petition signatures and letters to the Mayor urging him and the City Council to restore $170 million to OST and Child Care. The signatures and letters were collected from all around the city from students, parents and staff. Children’s Aid alone was able to collect 10,509 signatures and letters!

The group was joined by many City Council Members which included: Leticia James, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Charles Barron, Robert Jackson, Jimmy Van Bramer, Matheiu Eugene, David Greenfield and Diana Reyna. The Council Members echoed the groups sentiment that child care and after-school programs must be saved. Representatives from the Public Advocates’ office also joined the group, urging the Mayor to restore these cuts and collected more than 2,800 signatures to add to the cause.

The letter delivery is part of a month long vigil held at City Hall by children and parents at risk of losing child care and after-school programs. If these cuts are not restored in the final budget due June 30th, thousands of New York City families will lose access to programs that keep children safe and learning while parents are at work. The City of New York cannot afford to cut child care or after-school programs for even a single child. We urge the Mayor and City Council to stand up for children and working families, and fully fund child care and after-school in the final budget. Find out what you can do to make your voice heard at www.childrensaidsociety.org/take-action and http://www.campaignforchildrennyc.com

Campaign for Children Kicks Off Month Long Vigil

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On June 6th, The Campaign for Children, of which The Children’s Aid Society is a leading member, kicked off a month-long vigil whereby parents, children and advocates from programs around the city will be in front of City Hall every weekday until the final budget is announced. This Kickoff was especially crucial because it took place on the day of the final city budget’s public hearing.

The Kickoff commenced with a children’s demonstration held on the steps of City Hall. Children sang songs to Mayor Bloomberg and watched Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mark Page testify before the City Council Finance Committee. At an afternoon press conference, advocates, parents and children urged the Mayor and the City Council to fully fund child care and after-school in the final budget. Parents read hand-written letters from children and strung the letters up on clotheslines. The parents were joined by City Council Members: Gale Brewer, Margaret Chin, Leroy Comrie, Mathieu Eugene, Julissa Ferreras, Karen Koslowitz, Stephen Levin and Jummane Williams. The Council Members also expressed the importance of these programs and the need to restore the budget cuts.

At the public hearing, representatives from the FDNY, unions, providers, advocates, concerned citizens and many others expressed their outrage at the Mayor’s budget cuts to the City Council Committee on Finance. Most importantly, parents and students from all over the City testified (or submitted testimony) on the importance of child care and after-school programs in their lives. Please read the linked testimony from Bronx Children’s Aid parent Jessica Ortiz and from various Children’s Aid participants at PS 152 in Washington Heights.

A Gatsby Affair Raises $18,000 to Benefit Hope Leadership Academy

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On Wednesday, May 23, nearly 200 guests attended The Children’s Aid Society’s Associates Council’s Second Annual Spring Fundraiser, “a Gatsby Affair”, at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. More than $18,000 was raised to benefit The Hope Leadership Academy of Children’s Aid, a teen center promoting positive behavior, in Harlem. Hope gives youth a safe place to process their feelings on violence and victimization, and shows them how to derive strength from their experiences so that they can feel empowered rather than hopeless.

Inspired by the glamour of the Great Gatsby, guests gazed at gorgeous green wall installations and enjoyed seasonal Spring hors d'oeuvres and cocktails by ‘wichcraft while dressed in seersucker suits and fancy flapper frocks. Along with Associates Council President and Event Co-Chair, Jennifer Gallivan, The Children’s Aid Society’s President and CEO Richard Buery warmly welcomed attendees. Hope’s Director, Danny Morris, spoke about Hope, the importance of mentors and introduced the “super star” students present at the event, including 15-year-old Kelisha Cyrus, who gave a moving performance of an original poem.

The winners of the luxury tiered raffles (Wilson’s Garage and the higher-end West Egg) were announced by event Co-Chair Alicia Barrett and her father. Some of the coveted prizes included a once-in-a-lifetime casting audition with CBS, a custom men’s suit from Bond & Bari, dinners at Gramercy Tavern and Maialino, Moore Brothers Wine and La Maison du Chocolat tastings, and a private shopping experience from Lilly Pulitzer. Generous guests also directly sponsored scholarship opportunities for Hope, including SAT prep books, college visits, and back-to-school shopping.

Special thanks to Event Silver Sponsors J.P. Morgan, Scotiabank, and Trident Investment Management, and event partners: Adrienne Brown for event photography, Design by Studio N8 for all marketing materials, and Party Town America with Dan and John for photobooth photography.

Written by: Evita Torre, Associates Council - Executive Committee Member
Photo credit: Adrienne Brown Photography

One-Man Musical About Foster Care Experience Comes to NYC

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Proceeds to benefit The Children's Aid Society

Patrick Burns based his one-man musical From Foster Care to Fabulous on his experience living in four foster homes between the ages of 14 and 17. On June 8th, 11th, and 17th, you can see Patrick perform From Foster Care to Fabulous at The Bleecker Street Theatre as part of the annual Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Patrick is graciously donating the proceeds from the run of the show to The Children’s Aid Society. “I’m very excited and proud bring the show to New York City where all proceeds will benefit the Children's Aid Society, an organization that provides adoption, foster care, health, and education services to underserved children and families in New York City," Burns said. After the June 11th performance, foster care professionals, including staff from The Children’s Aid Society, will participate in a “Talk Back.”

Performance dates are:

June 8th at 10:00 p.m.

June 11th at 6:30 p.m.

June 17th at 7:00 p.m.

General Admission is $18

Foster Care Parent Spotlight: Juana Sanchez

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The Children's Aid Society finds homes for more than 500 children each year. Our foster care program provides specialized services including Family Foster Care, Medical Foster Care, Therapeutic Foster Careand services for teens "aging out" of foster care. The Foster Care parents who work with The Children’s Aid Society open up their hearts and their homes to help children in need of a loving and stable environment where they are able to thrive. In observance of National Foster Care Month, The Children’s Aid Society is sharing this spotlight on Juana Sanchez.

By keeping siblings together Juana Sanchez is making a new family for herself and creating a chance for a brighter future for the group of five she has cared for over the last five years. On February 6, 2006, Ms. Sanchez opened her home to four siblings, one of whom was born with a congenital abnormality and required a high level of care. The night the children were placed with her was also the birthday of one of the girls. Although it was late in the night, Ms. Sanchez baked a cake for the child and the siblings all took pictures and ate together. A year later, Ms. Sanchez welcomed into her home an additional member of the sibling group without hesitation. She has been a strong advocate for the children and continues to ensure that each child receives the necessary services to address their issues. Ms. Sanchez has stated that while she did not physically give birth to them, they are the children of her heart. She is currently in the process of adopting all the children, and looking forward to making the family official. Ms. Sanchez has been a foster parent at the Children’s Aid Society since December, 2005.

Bronxites Celebrate the Arts and Culture with Children’s Aid

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Hundreds of families came out to The Children’s Aid Society’s Bronx Family Center last week for Arts and Culture Day on May 16th as part of the Annual Bronx Week Celebration. The week-long celebration, sponsored by Bronx Borough President Diaz, Jr. and the Bronx Tourism Council, showcased the Bronx community’s diverse culture and most importantly, its people who proudly call themselves, Bronxites.

Attendees were able to access many different resources at Arts and Culture Day such as free blood pressure and mental health screenings, Foster Care recruitment and health insurance information. John Moncrief, the Community Liaison from Assembly Member Eric Stevenson’s office, provided information on how his office serves its constituents and the resources provided.

The fun-filled event also had many activities for the younger crowd such as face painting, a bouncy house and raffles all while enjoying a tasty hotdog and sweet cotton candy. There was even a show-stopping dance performance by the C.S. 61 Dancers. C.S. 61 is a Children’s Aid Community School located in the South Bronx. The performance was reflective of the amazing talent and different cultures in the Bronx.

Needless to say, The Children’s Aid Society’s Bronx Week celebration was once again a success and more importantly a celebratory and rewarding experience for the families and children of the Bronx.