The Children's Aid Blog

Richard Buery on The Huffington Post: Economic Inequality and Social Immobility

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"The achievement gap between children in poverty and their peers is already far too wide. Our budgets -- our values -- need to reflect a dedication to and investment in all of our citizens, particularly for our children who will be making these decisions for future generations."

Richard Buery, President and CEO of The Children's Aid Society

As our nation's political and economic upheavals play out in policy choices, it is clear that our country has not yet come to terms with what I believe is our most existential threat: economic inequality and social immobility. The 2010 Census revealed the greatest income disparity between rich and poor Americans since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. Today children are far more likely than they were 30 years ago to remain in the socioeconomic class into which they were born. Despite these distressing facts, the words "poverty" or "poor" were not mentioned by Governor Cuomo or Mayor Bloomberg in each of their 2012 "state of" addresses.

Read complete article on The Huffington Post

Follow Richard Buery on Twitter: @RichardBueryCAS

May is National Foster Care Month

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President Barack Obama has proclaimed May as National Foster Care Month. “For nearly half a million youth in foster care across our country, the best path to success we can give them is the chance to experience a loving home where they can feel secure and thrive,” the President said. During the month of May, the President is calling on all Americans to ensure a brighter future for foster youth and to celebrate the individuals and families who selflessly open their homes and their hearts to children in foster care. By standing in for a child's parent, foster families can help children that may otherwise become disconnected, neglected or in some very sad cases, abused. Today, there is still a great need for foster care parents.

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 Care and services for teens "aging out" of foster care. This May we ask you to consider opening your hearts to children in need of a loving and stable environment.

  • Applicants must be over the age of 21. They can be single, married or in a domestic partnership.
  • Applicant must be self sufficient. Applicant’s income can be from employment, pension, or social security.
  • Applicant must complete a state screening/background check.
  • Applicant must complete 30 hours of Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) training, basic training for all foster parent applicants.
  • Applicants must be in good physical and mental health and have completed physical exams for every household member.
  • Applicant must be the lease holder to his or her own apartment or home.
  • Applicant must identify an emergency child care person.

Click here to learn more about how you can become a foster care parent or please call us at 212-949-4962.

Click "Play" below to hear one of our foster parents describe the experience and rewards of opening her home to children in need.

Teens Receive Special Congressional Recognition

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On Thursday, May 19th, Congressman Charles B. Rangel honored high-achieving, college-bound, high school seniors at his Congressional district office in the Adam Clayton Powell building in Harlem. The students had the opportunity to chat with the Congressman and pose for pictures. Among the students honored with Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition were three Children’s Aid Society participants, Danielle Cureton, Jessica Gooden and General Washington! Congratulations seniors!

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Associates Council Fundraiser Moves Early Childhood Programs FORWARD

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Last week the Associates Council hosted their First Annual Spring Cocktail Party, FORWARD—raising $15,000 that will go directly to The Children’s Aid Society’s Early Childhood Programs, exceeding the event’s goal by 50% and making it a huge success!

Close to 200 guests gathered at the picturesque Southwest Porch at Bryant Park on Wednesday, May 11th to enjoy gourmet food and specialty drinks from 'wichcraft at this sold out event. Guests mingled under white, twinkling lights, were warmed by the city’s only fire pit and enjoyed perfect weather signaling that summer is just around the corner. And to prove that giving to a great cause always pays back, many walked away with great raffle prizes that included Duane Street Hotel stays, Southwest Airline tickets, a wine tasting party from Moore Brothers Wine Company, designer pillows by Madeline Weinrib Atelier, a hair treatment by M. Mcleod Hair, and an Equinox summer membership, just to name a few. FORWARD was also privileged to have generous sponsors including Goldman Sachs (Gold Sponsor) and Trident Investment Management (Silver Sponsor). The gorgeous spring flower arrangements that dotted the tables were donated by Late Bloomer and Michael Willis graciously photographed the event.

For 26 years, the AC has been taking ordinary volunteers and transforming them into future leaders that help guide Children’s Aid in its mission to serve New York City’s neediest children and families. Members of the AC come from a variety of fields including media, finance, education, human resources and social work. They combine their individual talents to provide a vibrant and diverse resource to The Children’s Aid Society. The AC proved true to this grand tradition through the dedicated service that they provided to Children’s Aid during the planning of this event. Throughout its history, AC members have also spearheaded and engaged in numerous initiatives, projects, and special events such as Miracle on Madison Avenue, the Annual Holiday Toy Drive, educational seminars and now FORWARD.

Click here for more information on these events or to learn more about The Children’s Aid Society Associates Council. You can also follow the AC on Facebook.

Hope Academy Youth Honored by Boys & Girls Club of America

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Julio Santana, a participant at The Children's Aid Society Hope Leadership Academy, was recently honored as one of the Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) “Faces of the Future.” His interest in computers and dedication to our technology program have earned him one of the few spots in this national campaign which highlights the great work being done at our community centers.

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Julio is a young man who has been chasing a dream of a better future for his entire life. He spent most of his childhood in Santo Domingo with his mother after his father legally immigrated to New York almost thirty years ago. “It was lonely,” Julio said, but my father “always took care of us, he called, sent us money -- so I could study.” While in Dominican Republic, Julio attended a technical high school and studied computer programming, networking and learned to build databases using Microsoft Access.

In 2009, after enduring the loss of his older brother in an accident and watching his mother battle cancer, Julio and his mother were finally able to join the rest of their family in East Harlem. Eventually Julio began attending Hope Leadership Academy on Madison Avenue at 115th St.

When Julio first joined Hope, he barely spoke English, but his warm personality drew the other teens to him. Despite the language barrier, he became a leader in the technology program. Julio has been involved with computers ever since he “has memory,” he says. But thanks to the technology program he is gaining new skills, perfecting his English and having the opportunity to share his knowledge with other teens. Hope Leadership Academy has also introduced Julio to a welcoming community where he is able to meet and develop relationships with a diverse group of kids his age, as well as learn new tech skills and have access to a computer lab.

Julio is currently finishing an ESL prep course at Bronx Community College before he begins his degree in Computer Science. He wants to become a software engineer and earn his masters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) because “It’s one of the 10 best schools in the world for technology. I did the research.” Julio’s drive and dedication is obvious to everyone who meets him and he is a role model for his peers at Hope.

-Joanna Grosberg

2011 Youth Speak Out on Education Conference

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On Tuesday, May 10th, hundreds of youth attended the  7th Annual Youth Speak Out on Education Conference held at New York University’s Kimmel Hall and presented by The Children’s Aid Society, The Department of Education and The Audrey Miller Poritzky Education Fund for Children. This year's conference theme was “Preparing Students in Transition to Succeed in College.” Middle and high school students from throughout New York City and Children’s Aid community centers and schools came together to present their research on issues affecting the academic success of students in transitional housing.

The event opened with welcoming and inspirational remarks by Elayna Konstan, Executive Officer, Office of Youth Development, and Susana Vilardell, Director of Students in Transitional Housing Programs of the New York City Department of Education, and New York Ranger Adam Graves. As in the past, the youth presented their topics and solutions using power point presentations, skits and poetry. Among the many academic obstacles faced by students in transitional housing, the ones touched upon at the conference included inadequate spaces to study or do homework because of overcrowding, loss of supplemental academic services and programs due to budget cuts and strict curfews at shelters that prevent teens from visiting colleges. One very moving presentation was given by Angel from Children’s Aid's Dunlevy Milbank Center, who spoke about the importance of peer mentoring and extended day services in the life of students in transitional housing. He said that too often he sees “kids hitting each other instead of hitting the books” and that “these programs help unleash talents.” Speaking of his own journey, he believes that these programs give children in transition the opportunity to be a kid.

This year the conference presented two Q&A panels, one featuring college students who were successful while in transitional housing or facing issues with immigration. This first panel discussion was moderated by Toure, host of FUSE Network’s”Hip Hop Shop” and “On The Record with FUSE.” The second panel included The Children’s Aid Society’s very own President and CEO, Richard R. Buery, Jr., along with Anthony Orzo, Deputy CEO, Office of School and Youth Development, New York City Department of Education. Both panelists shared their personal stories about the obstacles they had to overcome and advice on how to stay focused on the road to college. Mr. Buery, who was one of the few residents of his block in East New York to go to college, credits his education for his success today.

Please visit our complete Youth Speak Out Photo Gallery.

Rhinelander Saturday Program for Deaf Children and Teens Honors Lost Participant

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On Saturday, April 30th, I had a great treat – the chance to sit outside on a beautiful day and watch a very quiet game of basketball among a very energetic group of deaf teens. Some of the teens are strong players, good enough for their high school teams. Others have played only a few times per year, mostly as part of our program. Even better, the game is co-ed. And, while winning and losing matters a bit, what matters most is that everyone who participates has fun.

For the past seven years, The Children’s Aid Society Rhinelander Saturday Program for Deaf Children and Teens has organized a basketball game and dinner for deaf teens from all over the city. The game was established in memory of a former Saturday Program participant and staff member named Kevin Lazare who was killed in a violent mugging; we believe he could not hear his attackers’ demands. After the game, there is always a moment of silence in Kevin’s memory. Before they moved to Georgia three years ago, Kevin’s mother helped cook dinner for the group and his brothers played basketball with the deaf teens.

This year the event was special because we had help from an amazing group of volunteers from TransCanada. Led by Community Relations Coordinator, Sharon Scott, the group included referees, coaches, “waterboys” and food service staff (who in real life are chemists, facilities workers and administrators). The volunteers were just as energetic as the teens. TransCanada has just signed on as a funder for the Saturday Program and their involvement in this event showed us how much they really care about the kids. The volunteers also took over a number of staff responsibilities for this event, so for the first time, Karen Solomon, the Program Director and I, actually found ourselves enjoying the game.

Laura Klein
Director, Rhinelander Children's Center

Children’s Aid Society and Diverse Coalition Demand City Reinstate Funding for After-School Programs

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The Children’s Aid Society, along with representatives from CAMBA, The Educational Alliance, The After-School Corporation, YMCA of Greater New York, United Neighborhood Houses, Good Shepherd Services, UJA-Federation and other advocates, was joined by Council members Lew Fidler and Jumanne D. Williams at a press conference on the steps of City Hall this morning to demand the City reinstate the $23 million proposed reduction in vital after-school programs.

“These programs provide essential opportunities and support for low-income children and have been proven to promote healthy development and reductions in crime, substance abuse, and pregnancy among teens. At least 16,000 underprivileged children will lose their after-school program throughout the City. We urge the Bloomberg Administration to work with The City Council to restore these devastating cuts” said Richard Buery, President and CEO of The Children’s Aid Society.

Please visit our Take Action Page to learn how you can contact the Mayor and City Council to demand that the cuts be restored before the June 30th budget deadline.

Richard Buery, Children’s Aid Society President and CEO, Addresses Mayor’s Executive Budget

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NEW YORK, May 5, 2011 – “As a key provider of city-funded daycare and after-school programs for New York City children, we are pleased that the Mayor has made some restorations to childcare subsidies for low-income New York families in his FY 12 executive budget. While we are encouraged by this news, as well as the restorations to child welfare preventive and homemaker services the Mayor made last month, we must also insist on restoration of funding for after-school (OST) programs – which stand to lose more than $23 million. These programs provide essential opportunities and support for low-income children and have been proven to promote healthy development and reductions in crime, substance abuse, and pregnancy among teens. At least 16,000 underprivileged children will lose their after-school program throughout the City. Further, the proposed cuts would make it impossible for some low-income working parents – who depend on these after-school programs for childcare – to earn a living; and hundreds of full- and part-time workers serving our most vulnerable populations will be laid off. The impact would be disastrous for children and working people, as well as for the economy of the City. We urge the Bloomberg Administration to work with The City Council to restore these devastating cuts.”

Follow Richard Buery on Twitter: @RichardBueryCAS

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

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Mark your calendars: May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM). Sponsored by Advocates for Youth, NTPPM is an educational campaign designed to help communities recognize the destructive effects of unintended teen pregnancy and early childbearing. The United States continues to have the highest adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in the industrialized world. Despite recent reductions in teen births in our country, 3 in 10 girls still get pregnant as teenagers.

The Children’s Aid Society is one of many organizations around the country that recognize the great need to work together to face the challenge of preventing this national tragedy. In 1984, Dr. Michael A. Carrera and The Children's Aid Society developed the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (CAS-Carrera). CAS-Carrera reduces teen pregnancy and births through educational repetitions centered on the benefits of abstinence, the importance of acquiring sexual and reproductive health knowledge, the wisdom of conscientious contraceptive use if abstinence is not chosen, the essential importance of acquiring primary health care, and the life-long benefits of educational achievement and developing aspirations for a career or profession. Guided by a philosophy that sees youth as "at promise" not "at risk," CAS-Carrera builds a participant's capacity and desire to avoid pregnancy.

As part of NTPPM, Dr. Carrera has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth to discuss his “specific challenges and rewards of getting youth to care about their futures” based on his 40 years of working with young people.

Click to hear Dr. Carrera’s podcast or read the transcript.

If you’d like to support the efforts of CAS-Carrera, please click here.