The Children's Aid Blog

Wacky Tacky Day at Drew Hamilton

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October 27th was WACKY TACKY DAY at Drew.  Parents were encouraged to let the children select their own clothing to wear to school.  The excitement has begun with children welcoming each other for Wacky Tacky Day and identifying the colors and items they are wearing.  Check out the hilarious pictures!

Photo credit to Donna Chandler; children/staff from the Drew Hamilton Center in pictures.

Children’s Aid Society Community School Earns an A, Urging for More to Be Done

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As the City reports that only 25% of high school graduates are college-ready, we are proud that The Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, a Children’s Aid Society community school partner, received an A grade on its recent Department of Education report card. Principal Nancy Mann appeared on Fox 5 on Monday night to echo Children’s Aid vision of preparing students in high-needs neighborhoods for college.

“We’re doing what the City considers to be a good job,” said Principal Mann “We think there’s a lot left to do.”

The Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School serves 75% Latino and 25% Black students with nearly all of the qualifying for free or reduced price lunch, an indicator of poverty.

To see more about the recent Department of Education report card findings, click here to view the FOX 5 News report online.

 

NYC High Schools Graded: MyFoxNY.com

Domestic Violence Part 4: How Can You Help

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This is the last in a series of blogs on domestic violence and healthy relationships which we originally posted last year in honor of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

If you know someone who you think is being abused by their spouse or partner, here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Let them know you are worried about them and want to help. Don't tell them what to do or try to take control of the situation.
  2. Don't blame the victim, imply they did something to 'bring it on,' or tell them they are stupid for staying.  It's hard to understand why people stay in abusive relationships - some common reasons are love, belief the abuse will change, self-blame, and fear that the abuse will get worse if they try to break it off.  But the worst thing you can do if you want to help is to reinforce the idea that they are to blame.
  3. Help them to reduce isolation. Abusers often cut their victims off from friends and family members. Tell them you'll be there for them whether they decide to stay in the relationship or not.
  4. Connect them with a domestic violence advocate who can help them develop a safety plan. Call one of the numbers below to find out what resources are available in your area.

Finally, if you know someone who's being abusive, do not look the other way. Calmly express your concerns about the specific behavior that you see as abusive and make it clear that you do not believe there is any excuse for abusing another person. Suggest that they get help in order to change their behavior, and tell them you will support them in their efforts to change, but will not support abusive behavior. Do not accept excuses, justifications, “laughing it off” or victim-blaming. Call one of the numbers below to find out how to get help for the abusive person.

How to get help:

The Children’s Aid Society – Family Wellness Program   212-503-6842
NYC Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-699-SAFE (TDD 800-787-3224)
National Teen Dating Violence Hotline 1-866-331-9474 (TTY 866-331-8453)

Photo via www.mysistersplaceny.org
 

CAS Children Protest Afterschool Budget Cuts in Harlem

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“Based on the economic climate, the government needs to know that what’s going on in the city hurts entire families,” Casper Lassiter, Director of Dunlevy Milbank Center said. “They need our services.”

On Thursday, October 20th about a hundred CAS children and supervisors marched in New York City to protects cuts to afterschool programs.

Lights on Afterschool is a national effort to draw greater attention to the value of afterschool programs as well as urge lawmakers to preserve funding for these vital programs. Each event is designed to raise awareness of the programs currently serving students, the impact that prolonged cutbacks have on students, and the need for sustained support of these programs.

For more information, read the post on The Uptowner. NY1 also attended and covered the march and posted a video on their website. You can also find out more on our website here.

Domestic Violence Part 3: The Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

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This is the third in a series of blogs on domestic violence and healthy relationships which we originally posted last year in honor of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Check back next week for our final blog on Why Victims Stay and how you can help.

While every relationship is different, survivors of domestic violence have identified common characteristics and behaviors of abusive partners.  Knowing the warning signs can help you to avoid abusive relationships or identify abuse and get help for yourself or a friend/family member sooner. If you recognize any of the warning signs below, consider calling the Family Wellness Program or one of the hotlines listed below.

  1. Extreme jealousy – when one partner wants to know who the other is with and what they are doing at all times, is extremely possessive, accuses them of cheating with no reason. 
  2. Isolation – when one partner wants the other all to him/her self, tries to cut them off from friends, family, and activities – might even insist they quit their job or school.
  3. Controlling behavior – when one partner tries to control the other by telling them what to do, how to dress, who to hang out with – or manipulates them into doing what they want.
  4. Fast-moving relationship – when a partner who comes on very strong, is an extreme “smooth talker” and wants make major commitments very early in the relationship.
  5. Blaming – when one partner always seems to blame the other for his/her own behavior – “You made me do this.”
  6. History of abusive behavior – if someone has ever been abusive to a current or ex partner, a child or an animal; it is unlikely they will change without help.
  7. Moodiness – someone with a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality.
  8. Put-downs – when one partner is constantly criticizing the other, putting them down and making them feel badly about themselves.
  9. Entitlement – when someone believes they are entitled to be in charge or be catered to, whether because of gender or other reasons.
  10. Intimidation and threats - when one partner uses threats or intimidating body language, punches walls or breaks things to intimidate the other.

How to get help:

The Children’s Aid Society – Family Wellness Program   212-503-6842
NYC Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-699-SAFE (TDD 800-787-3224)
National Teen Dating Violence Hotline 1-866-331-9474 (TTY 866-331-8453)

 

Children's Aid Youth "Read for the Record"

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by Donna Chandler

Children at CAS's Drew Hamilton Day Care participated in Jump Start's "Read for the Record" on October 6, 2011.  This is our third year of participation.  Mrs. Rhoda Carloss-Smith, President of the Black Child Development Institute, New York, Mrs. Nieves Laras, Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and Volunteer at Drew Hamilton, and Dr. Margaret Caspe read Llama Llama Red Pajama to our children. 

The day started with a breakfast party with children and staff wearing their pajamas and throughout the day children made Llama puppets, Llama ears and had a wonderful parade of marching llamas.

To top off the day, Clifton Oliver, who appeared as Simba in The Lion King on Broadway, visited Drew Hamilton Day Care to perform for our children. 

Mr. Oliver understands developmentally appropriate practices and his session was interactive and engaging that encouraged children to sing and dance along with him.  He stressed the importance of believing in what you want and presented each child with an autographed picture.

It was a special day for everyone!

Photos Courtesy of Donna Chandler.

Photo 1: Rhoda Carloss Smith with Llama Llama Red Pajama.

Photo 2: Margaret Caspe reading in the Green Room.

Photo 3: Clifton Oliver, who appeared as Simba in the The Lion King on Broadway, dancing with the children.

Inaugural Children's Aid Society Gala Raises $1.2 Million to Protect NYC's Neediest Children

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The Children's Aid Society (CAS) raised $1.2 million to aid New York City's most vulnerable children at their Inaugural Keeping the Promise Gala. CAS honored BNY Mellon, Robert Wolf, Chairman of UBS Americas and President of UBS Investment Bank, and volunteer Ann Sather for their support of programs benefiting needy kids. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Ron Suskind served as Master of Ceremonies for the event at the Waldorf-Astoria.

The Keeping the Promise gala celebrated CAS's 158-year commitment to improving the lives of New York's neediest children through medical, educational and recreational programming, while showcasing the work of corporate and community leaders who have served as role models by upholding the CAS promise through their meaningful contributions and volunteer work.

"Raising over $1 million in the current economic climate is an incredible success and a testament to awareness of the worsening situation," said CAS President and CEO Richard Buery. "We are thrilled to honor BNY Mellon, Robert Wolf, Ann Sather and all of our attendees who realize that New York City kids in need are at record numbers and only through holistic and sustained support will we ensure they are not part of a lifetime of poverty."

"Children's Aid Society focuses on the most helpless of all children in the City," said Chairman of UBS Americas and President of UBS Investment Bank, Robert Wolf. "Their commitment to keeping the promise to forgotten children ensures that we will not lose an entire generation of future Americans."

Notable guests also attending included Tony Award Winner Patti LuPone; "Law and Order SVU" star, Tamara Tunie; Director, Screenwriter and Actress, Rebecca Miller; Author Harlan Corben.
 

Domestic Violence Part 2: The Effect of Domestic Violence on Children

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This is the second in a series of blogs on domestic violence and healthy relationships which we originally posted last year in honor of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Check back each week in October for upcoming blogs on Why People Abuse and Why Victims Stay.

It is estimated that at least 10 – 20% of American children are exposed to domestic violence in their homes. The effects on children vary widely. Some children are very resilient and continue to function in relatively healthy ways. But many children suffer from long-term effects.

Children who see, hear or are aware of violence at home are much more likely to get hurt themselves – either by getting hit directly or being ‘caught in the crossfire’ and hurt accidentally. Even when they are not hurt physically, they are usually hurt emotionally. They are much more likely to get in trouble for fighting with peers, do poorly in school, be diagnosed with learning disorders, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or other mental health problems like depression or anxiety. As adolescents, they are at greater risk of substance abuse, dating violence, suicide, and a whole host of other social and emotional problems.

The cycle of violence in a family all too often repeats itself from generation to generation. And it impacts not only the family, but all of society, not only because of the cost in the health care and criminal justice arenas, but because those same child witnesses are more likely to grow up to commit not only intimate partner abuse, but many other forms of violence in the community. 

If a child you know is being exposed to domestic violence, call one of the numbers below to find out how you can help:

The Children’s Aid Society – Family Wellness Program   212-503-6842
NYC Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-699-SAFE (TDD 800-787-3224)
National Teen Dating Violence Hotline 1-866-331-9474 (TTY 866-331-8453)

 

Mutual Support: the Community Schools Strategy

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Students learn best when their physical, mental, emotional, and other needs are met, but schools rarely have the time and resources available to meet those needs. If schools can find a way to engage families and communities, students are more likely to succeed. But how? One answer is the community schools strategy.

A community school has a set of partnerships in place that connect the school, the students’ families, and the community. Community schools are more than just another model or program; they bring together community partners, parents, teachers, and administrators to assess students’ needs and identify the resources that are available to meet them.

Read more on the Coalition for Community Schools Website

Richard Buery on The Huffington Post: Revamping Sex Education: A New Approach to the Birds and the Bees

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"Parents and policymakers are more likely to embrace school-based family life and sexuality education programs that are age and stage appropriate, while not obsessing over public health outcomes to the exclusion of all other dimensions of a young person's development."

Co-written by Dr. Michael A. Carrera, Director of The Children's Aid Society-Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program

New York City School Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Mayor Michael Bloomberg should be commended for their push to improve family life and sex education for public school students in grades 6-12. Current data indicate African-American and Latino teens in New York City have extraordinarily high rates of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and sexual risk-taking. Public education has an obligation to address this frightening trend. However, the Department of Education's narrow approach, using genital-sexual issues as the driving theme, must be significantly broadened in scope to effectively address this daunting public health and personal development issue. The City should consider a more comprehensive initiative that takes into account all aspects of a young person's growth and development, not solely strategies associated with understanding and reducing sexual risk-taking.

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