The Children's Aid Blog

Teen Pregnancy Prevention - A Holistic Approach with Promise

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wedHope. It’s a powerful word. It inspires nations, communities, and individuals – young and old. Hope is, according to Dr. Michael A. Carrera, the most effective contraceptive for teens because “the way that you help young people avoid pregnancy is by providing them with real evidence that good things can happen in their lives.”

For 25 years, Dr. Carrera has led The Children’s Aid Society’s wonderfully successful Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, which is a holistic, “above the waist” approach to teen pregnancy prevention. Regarding teens as “at promise” rather than “at risk,” the program’s mission is to empower young people through academic support and sex education, development of interests, talents and skills, and preparation for employment opportunities.  The Children's Aid/Carrera program sees the sum of these activities as having a contraceptive effect.

This approach to teen pregnancy prevention is a proven-effective program that has been shown to reduce teen pregnancy rates by 50%. Now that’s a success story.

The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world. To help turn that tide, Children’s Aid’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program is replicated in 21 sites and 30 other adaptions in 20 states, bringing the holistic approach and its message of Hope across the U.S.

The program doesn’t just address teens. There is a component for parents (and interested adults), too – the Parent Family Life & Sexuality Education program. It’s a way for parents to help guide their children through the decisions of young adulthood. It gives parents the facts, language and resources they’ll need to do the job well.

The Children's Aid Society Helps New York's Newly Homeless Families

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Every year, waves of newly homeless families are put out onto New York’s streets. This last July The New York Times reported that due to the economic downturn, city officials expect a larger surge this year than ever before.

Image courtesy of The New York Times The city’s homeless population is already up more than 20% over 2008, and officials soon expect an all-time high of 10,000 families in the city’s shelters. This severely affects children, who comprise nearly 40% of homeless New Yorkers.

In 1854, Charles Loring Brace was so moved by the epidemic of child homelessness that he founded New York’s Children’s Aid Society to provide shelter for children in need. Today, Children’s Aid works tirelessly with its family support services, on the same principle: that stable families foster stable children and a better future!

Children’s Aid supports families through our Carmel Hill Project, which serves families in three renovated apartment buildings. The Pelham Fritz Transitional Apartments are a Tier II shelter for homeless families. Since 1990, the complex has sheltered more than 900 families while acting as a neighborhood anchor for social services. And housing assistance is just one piece of the puzzle - our Office of Public Policy and Client Advocacy helps families resolve housing issues through legal assistance, financial help, and public advocacy.

Want to help build stable communities and stable families? Help The Children’s Aid Society continue its work to make sure every child has a safe home. Donate today.

Business of Giving: Bailing Out Our Schools

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Right now, everyone is focused on finding the cure for our current economic crisis. Bailouts, recovery plans and billion-dollar loans hopefully will get our economy back on firm footing soon. But we also need to look at the long-term, big picture of what will propel our economy into the future. And I believe that can be accomplished by reinventing the driver of our success: a world-class education.

If you look back at our nation’s history, our wealth was not built solely by great ideas. Rather, it also came from a very well-educated workforce created by created by world-class public schools. Children of immigrants who arrived on our shores 100 years ago received an education that lifted them from poverty to the working class and beyond. That influx of new workers built factories and invented and perfected new technologies. Workers on the assembly line could earn a comfortable living.

For the past 2 decades, the factory jobs that created prosperous lives for so many across much of America have been disappearing. The only way we can uplift the children and grandchildren of the working class and prepare them for a different future is by putting a renewed focus on world-class education.

Link here to see the whole article

C. Warren Moses, CEO

Children's Aid Society After School Programs Help Teach and Mentor Kids In Need

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The Children’s Aid Society knows it: once school is out each day, there is much more work to do in order to keep youth directed towards academic, social and cultural learning. After-School programs at The Children’s Aid Society’s Community Schools and Centers provide fantastic opportunities for kids to excel after 3:00 p.m., where our holistic approach is used to address all of the child’s needs. And it’s fun!

After-school programs run in 21 community schools and all eight Children’s Aid community centers, serving hundreds of elementary school-aged children in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. Offering a safe haven for children in some of the city’s most economically challenged neighborhoods, the kids can focus on school work as well as discover their many hidden talents.

Homework assistance is available for children who need it, and recreational activities such as basketball do more than break a sweat - they team kids up with mentors who serve as role models, providing invaluable emotional support. The Children's Aid Society is also a founding member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and virtually every Children's Aid site operates as a Boys & Girls Club.

You want more? Children can learn tactics, strategies, and problem solving while developing an appreciation for chess at the Philip Coltoff Center in Greenwich Village. And children from 9-12 years old interested in the performing arts take part in voice and articulation, dance, choreography and acting at the Rhinelander Center Stage Club.

The opportunities provided by Children’s Aid go on and on, and the skills the students develop are priceless; click here for information on volunteering opportunities!

Through the Lens of a George Lucas video... Why Community Schools Work

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"Public education is the foundation of our democracy -- the stepping-stones for our youth to reach their full potential.” – George Lucas

The reason why The Children’s Aid Society’s Community Schools work so well according to considerable research - and common sense - is that children flourish when the important influences in their lives, like family, teachers, coaches, and mentors, all band together to help a child.  Teaching children to be mindful of their health through education and recreational exercise like sports and dance, while also being respectful of their mind through academic studies, trade, arts and music instruction - are all part of the community school strategy. It is also how The Children’s Aid Society has operated for over 150 years.

A film crew from the George Lucas Educational Foundation spent time at a Children’s Aid Community School, Intermediate School 218 (IS218) in Washington Heights, creating a nine-minute video illustrating the successful implementation of this powerful strategy.

The “virtual site visit” highlights the school’s comprehensive instructional program – a combination of educational, recreational and social services.

IS 218 is a public intermediate school designed, from the very beginning, to meet the needs of the entire community. Their extraordinary after-school program, for children and adults alike, is a dynamic model for other community schools to follow suit. The Children’s Aid Society’s Assistant Executive Director for Community Schools, Jane Quinn, agrees: “When I first came to this school, I noticed two things. I noticed that the children seemed happy and I noticed that there were a lot of extra adults around, and I wanted to know what was happening here and how we could make it happen in more places.”

Community schools do work, thanks to the dedication and commitment of an entire team of players and supporters – all inspired by one common goal: to help children develop and grow into productive members of the community.

Children's Aid NYC Goes Fresh in NYC!

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Food, glorious food!  It’s amazing how easy it really is to get children excited about healthy, organic food!   Bring them to the farmer’s market, encourage them to grow their own window sill herb garden, or teach them how to cook a meal from scratch – the bright colors, fresh smells and wonderful flavors will stimulate their senses and you’re giving junk food a run for its money!  You may be shaking fresh2your head in disbelief but, at The Children’s Aid Society in New York, we’ve seen this green mania with our own eyes!

At our community schools throughout the city, we teach children and their parents all about good nutrition.  We challenge them to try it out and, much to their surprise they learn that healthful food actually tastes good!  At a youth green market in East Harlem, Children’s Aid’s kids are even sharing tips on nutrition, food prep and recipes.  And these youth green markets are popping up all over. In July 2008, The Children’s Aid Society launched the South Bronx Youthmarketfresh3

We operate these markets in close collaboration with the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) to bring fresh, delicious and healthful foods to families in low-income communities,  and showing children where their food comes from and how. The markets are run by the students themselves, at their school.  The kids are eager to learn and to taste!  Suddenly, that bag of preservative-filled potato chips seems less appetizing to them. 

And, of course, that’s the idea. And, every so often, a master chef is born. Just check out some of the culinary delights made by our very own young Next Generation Caterers. Bon Appétit!

Children's Aid Society Community School Student has the "Right Stuff"

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NASA SpaceSome kids are destined to be doctors and lawyers but according to Global Friendship through Space (GFTSE) Henry Bonilla, a rising 8th grader at the Mirabal Sisters Campus a Children’s Aid Society Community School, is "most likely to become an astronaut." Henry’s outstanding participation in GFTSE’s International Space Camp Program has earned him the highest honor bestowed upon a camper-- The Right Stuff Award.  This award is presented to one camper during each six day International Space Camp session who has displayed the characteristics of a future space explorer. The term “right stuff” was coined during the early days of NASA’s astronaut selection program to indicate an individual having the qualities needed to become an astronaut.

The Children's Aid Society Celebrates 75 years of Family Homemaker Program

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Since 1933, New York’s Children's Aid Society has provided crucial support for families facing crises in their lives.  The Family Homemaker Program is a very specialized service that was established under the auspices of The Children’s Aid Society and the Junior League of New York to meet the needs of families facing urgent circumstances and the possibility of losing their children to foster care. Family Homemaker Program is celebrating 75 years of continuous service; the oldest such program still operating in the United States.

The homemakers are certified Para-professionals, trained to take over care of the family’s children and help manage home life in times of upheaval, an important service for keeping families who live in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The families served are referred to The Children’s Aid Society through two New York City agencies: the Administration for Children's Services and the Human Resources Administration. Currently, The Children’s Aid Society employs 125 homemakers, serving approximately 105 families with their 315 children daily.

Areas of service include:

Household Management – from helping with children and housework, to guidance and support for parents on better ways to run the house and constructively solve problems

Family Support Counseling - providing deeper emotional support and problem-solving on a broader scale, so that families receive comprehensive and coordinated support.

Advocacy - together, homemakers and social workers help families to access services for stability, perhaps connecting them to public assistance or public health insurance if they qualify.

Our homemakers uphold Charles Loring Brace’s philosophy: every child needs a strong family in order to thrive. Keeping children and families safe and together remains Children’s Aid’s Family Homemaker Program’s mission today. Here’s to the next 75 years!

Why an Angry CEO Is the Best CEO

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When I announced my retirement earlier this year, I had one main suggestion for the committee looking for my replacement: Find someone who's "angry."

"Angry?" they said. "What do you mean?"

I mean that to lead one of the country’s largest child-focused charitable organizations, you have to have a fire inside you. You don’t want to hire the person who eases too comfortably into the leather seat, who likes gazing out the corner-office window. You want the person who sees the suffering of so many children, and is angry because it’s not getting fixed quickly enough.

I'm happy to say we’ve found that person. Richard R. Buery Jr. has committed his career to helping poor children, and therefore is no stranger to the statistics: To read the full article, link here

C. Warren Moses

Promoting Safe and Stable Families: The Children's Aid Society Provides Legal Advocacy Services for Children and Families in Crisis

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cas931We all need a guardian angel from time to time – to protect and guide us, to help us get back on track.  At The Children’s Aid Society, children and families have access to a fabulous team of dedicated guardian angels, formally called legal advocates, in the Office of Public Policy & Client Advocacy (OPPCA).

Serving all 150,000 children, youths and families at Children’s Aid in NY, OPPCA provides a wide spectrum of integrated legal, social and educational services and programs, such as assistance with domestic violence, child support and custody, juvenile justice,teen rights, immigration issues, housing, landlord/tenant issues, low-income subsidies, credit and consumer counseling, and basic “know your rights” training.

Tapping the expertise and availability of the Children’s Aid’s dynamic staff of professionals and well-established programs in all 50 sites, the OPPCA works hard to stabilize families by protecting their rights and providing them with advocacy training, so that they will be empowered  to stand up for themselves.  In cases where litigation is inevitable, the OPPCA draws from a pool of over 25 pro bono lawyers to assist their clients with legal representation.

The concept of “family” is something that many of us take for granted.  The reality is that in New York City alone, there are hundreds of thousands of families in crisis. Many of them seek assistance from The Children’s Aid Society who, in turn, is totally committed to the preservation of family. Progressive programs such as Families with a Future help families to set and achieve lifelong goals, providing them with encouragement, skills and – above all – hope.