The Children's Aid Blog

New Children’s Aid Society Charter School to Give Neediest Kids in the South Bronx an Advantage Through Lottery

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The Children’s Aid Society has announced a first-of-its-kind lottery system for its new charter school in the South Bronx’s Morrisania neighborhood. The lottery system for Children’s Aid College Prep is open to all students but will emphasize particularly on needy students. “We have always focused our resources on the most vulnerable young people in New York City and our first charter school will be no different,” said The Children’s Aid Society President and CEO Richard Buery. “All children will be a part of our new school, but those who have been involved in the child welfare system or who have other challenges that can dampen academic success should be given an additional boost.”

Poverty levels in Morrisania—a community where Children’s Aid has established service hubs and community schools serving more than 10,000 people over the last 10 years—exceed those of other New York City neighborhoods. Currently 57% of children in Morrisania are growing up in poverty and only 27% perform at or above grade level on standard reading tests, more than 15% lower than the City average.

Just as other lotteries, all applicants will receive one entry for applying. Additional entries will be given to those students who meet the following criteria:

  • Students who come from single-parent households
  • Students from households below the NY self-sufficiency standard
  • Students who have not attended a full-day kindergarten
  • Students who are English language learners
  • Students who have been involved in the child welfare system.

For example, a student from a single-parent household and has been involved in the child welfare system will receive three entries, or chances to get in.

The Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School will serve 120 students in Kindergarten and 1st grade and eventually approximately 300 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. The Children’s Aid Society’s deep roots in the South Bronx and its multi-site service centers in the surrounding community will enable the proposed school to provide effective youth development practices, comprehensive health care and a commitment to empowering parents, foster parents and other care-giving adults to become full partners in their children’s success.

The Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School is accepting applications for K-1 through April 2, 2012 and the lottery will be held on April 9th at 11am at The Next Generation Center at 1522 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx. The school will open in Fall 2012. To apply, visit, or complete the charter school common application. For more information, visit our website:

New York Times Neediest Cases Story: Love at First Sight, and Through Years of Struggles That Followed

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The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story about helping Monique and Angel Cartegna make ends meet after job loss and injury.

Monique and Angel Cartagena met on a snowy night in 1991. She, then 16, was walking down 179th Street in the Bronx when she noticed what appeared to be a man breaking into a Toyota Celica. He, then 19, was jimmying the driver’s side window with a coat hanger, having locked his keys inside. The time was 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 31.

“So this girl with beautiful eyes walks up,” Mr. Cartagena recalled, staring at his wife the other day across their dining room table. “And I was like, ‘This is my car! You want to help me?’ ”

Ms. Cartagena covered her face with her hands. “Being the naïve 16-year-old that I was,” she said, “I helped him.” She pried open the window until he retrieved the keys. “And it was — what do you want to call it? Love at first sight?” she added.

Click here to read the complete article and to learn more about the Neediest Cases Fund.

Richard Buery on The Huffington Post: A New Charter School, A New Approach to Escaping Poverty

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"The lessons we have learned from community schools demonstrate that addressing the growing achievement gap requires a holistic and legitimate effort to refocus the system on children and their needs."

 Despite the hard work of the thousands of dedicated and talented professionals that fill public schools, systemic problems contribute to a growing achievement gap that often leaves minority and low-income families at a serious disadvantage. While there is no one solution, community schools that provide high-quality academic instruction and offer comprehensive social, health, recreational and family services can help level the playing field between rich and poor.

A study published in 2009 shows that the New York State black-white achievement score gap for public school students in fourth grade is 26 points in both mathematics and reading. The 2009 Hispanic-white gap for New York fourth graders is only slightly better at 17 points for mathematics and 25 points for reading.

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New York Times Neediest Cases Story: Trying to Give Her Family a Better Life Than Hers

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The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story about helping Enid Cruz make ends meet to keep a roof over her family's head.

Enid Cruz was fed up. She was tired of seeing people fight and sell drugs outside her building in East Harlem. She wanted a fresh start not only for herself, but also for her youngest daughter and her granddaughter. Though she and her children had grown up in the neighborhood, she said, it was time to go.

“I wanted to try something new, and I thought I could afford it,” she said.

Reared by a single mother who had epileptic seizures, Ms. Cruz, 47, had climbed her way out of an impoverished childhood of public assistance and food stamps that never went very far, she said.

“There were times when we would have our lights turned off or there was no money to get school clothes,” she recalled.

Click here to read the complete article and to learn more about the Neediest Cases Fund.

Chinese Delegation Visits P.S. 152 Early Head Start

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It is the year of the Dragon and along with the rest of New York City; the Children’s Aid Society’s Early Childhood programs is celebrating with fun and educational activities to teach little ones about the Chinese New Year. Earlier this month the Early Head Start Program at P.S. 152, a Children’s Aid Society Community School in Washington Heights, hosted a visit for a group of Chinese government officials. 

The 18 member delegation from the National Population and Family Planning Commission of China (NPFPC) came with the purpose of learning from The Children’s Aid Society’s Early Head Start program which serves pregnant women, infants and toddlers, ages 0-3, in a home visiting model. 

CAS staff from Early Childhood, Community Schools and the National Center for Community Schools were in attendance to meet with the delegates from China who were especially interested in learning about ways Early Head Start screens infants and toddlers for special needs as well as how the program integrates and coordinates social services around prenatal care, health services and educational support. 

The group discussed the need for early intervention and shares the same beliefs as The Children’s Aid Society that early childhood education is important in fostering school readiness for children and families. 

New York Times Neediest Cases Story: Long After Southern Storm, Still Looking for New Home

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The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story about helping Shelly Berry enter her children in schools and find work for herself.

The first few days of Shelly Berry’s life in New York City were spent in the hallway of an apartment building in the Bronx. That was where she and her two daughters slept for three nights, huddled together on the grimy floor of a stairwell.

Their predicament began a month before, in April 2011, when a series of devastating tornadoes struck Raleigh, N.C., where Ms. Berry and her daughters lived. The tornadoes left several people dead, injured scores of others and demolished many buildings, including Ms. Berry’s apartment. But she and her daughters, Stephanie, 11, and Kaylia, 13, had managed to pack some clothes into three bags and had taken shelter with a neighbor.

Ms. Berry, who had been laid off as a receptionist, was now out of work, low on money and homeless; she had to figure out her next move quickly.

Click here to read the complete article and to learn more about the Neediest Cases Fund.

New York Times Neediest Cases Story: A Drive for Education From an Inspiring Mother

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The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story about helping Dianuris Ortiz reach her goal of entering and graduating from college.

When it comes to role models, Dianuris Ortiz said, her mother, Marcia Dominguez, was the ideal.

“All her outfits matched,” Ms. Ortiz, 21, said. “She was always in heels, she was professional, she had respect for herself.”

Ms. Dominguez came to the United States from Cuba in 1979 as a political refugee, Ms. Ortiz said. She went to college and got a job as a social worker — all the while raising three children in the South Bronx mostly on her own.

“It was always school first,” Ms. Ortiz said. “My mom had us in a straight line. If we got out of line, she corrected us.”

Her mother, she said, was the epitome of class and elegance.

Click here to read the complete article and to learn more about the Neediest Cases Fund.

Children's Aid Helps to Educate Latinos on the Citizenship Process

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The Children’s Aid Society works to provide children and families with the supports they need to succeed, thrive and realize their “American dream”. For many of the immigrant parents in the communities served by CAS part of achieving this is being able to fully participate in the democratic process. CAS has joined the ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía! Campaign to engage community members who are eligible permanent residents in an information session to educate them in the naturalization process. With over 400 partnering organizations, the campaign has motivated over 1 million individuals to obtain their U.S. citizenship.

The information session, which is also co-sponsored by Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, is to be held this Saturday, January 28th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at he Eleanor Roosevelt Intermediate School - I.S. 143 in Washington Heights. The topics to be discussed will include process and documentation requirements to apply for citizenship and the benefits. For more information call 1-888-839-8682 or visit

Children’s Aid Society’s Food & Nutrition Director to Speak at Local Food Conference

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Just Food will hold its 2012 conference “EAT • WORK • GROW THE MOVEMENT” at the Food & Finance High School on February 24th and 25th. This conference will bring together over 1,000 local food lovers and advocates. CSA members, community gardeners, urban and rural farmers, food professionals and entrepreneurs will participate in two days of hands-on workshops, discussions and skills-building sessions and of course some good food. The Children’s Aid Society’s very own Food & Nutrition Director, Stefania Patinella, will speak at the conference on the importance of serving real, fresh and nutritious foods in our city’s most important institutions, such as day cares, schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Her talk is based on our successful Go!Healthy Meals model, which serves delicious, from-scratch meals to 2,000 children each day.

Just Food is a non-profit organization that connects communities and local farms with the resources and support they need to make fresh, locally grown food accessible to all New Yorkers. Ticket costs are $30 per day or $50 for both days and discounts are available for students, farmers and low-income community members.  

For more information on the conference, registration and to buy tickets, please visit

Caption: Director of Food and Nutrition Programs at The Children’s Aid Society, Stefania Patinella with CAS participants at the Dunlevy Milbank Center in Harlem. Photo by Lily Kesselman.

New York City Mayor Honors MLK at Children’s Aid Community School

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Schools were not in session this past Monday, January 16th, but many students headed to the Mirabal Sisters Campus, a Children’s Aid Society Community School in Washington Heights, to honor one of America’s most prominent leaders in the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Approximately 100 middle and elementary school students participated in a morning full of beautification and literacy activities hosted by Mayor Michael Bloombergand the NYC Serviceto commemorate Dr. King’s birthday.

To kick off the activities, students and volunteers were treated to breakfast and opening remarks from the Mayor and star of “The Mountain Top”, Angela Bassett. Mayor Bloomberg and The Children’s Aid Society’s President and CEO Richard R. Buery, Jr. toured the various activities that included a one-on-one reading with volunteers as well as an “I Have A Dream” themed drawing activities.