The Children's Aid Blog

What Everyone Should Know About Domestic Violence

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This is the first in a series of blogs on domestic violence and healthy relationships, being initiated in honor of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Check back weekly for upcoming blogs on The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children, Why People Abuse and Why Victims Stay, and other topics. 

The Children’s Aid Society recognizes domestic violence, also known as relationship abuse or intimate partner abuse, as one of the most pressing issues facing children, families and communities today.  Most people know someone who has been abused or abusive, even if they are not aware of it.  It can devastate families, lead to lifelong problems for the children who witness it, and contributes to a wide range of violence in the community. That is why CAS is committed to providing both education to prevent abuse and services to help families impacted by it to find safety and heal from its effects.

Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Abuse is defined as a pattern in an intimate relationship in which one partner (spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, dating partner) attempts to gain or maintain power and control over the other.  Abusers may use physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and financial tactics to establish that control. 

Anyone can be abused – this is an issue that cuts across race, culture, class, religion and sexual orientation, and teens as well as adults experience it.  The most important thing to remember is that NO ONE deserves to be abused. While victims are often convinced that they bring on the abuse themselves, this is never the case – a person who chooses to abuse someone else is always responsible for his or her own actions.

If you or someone you know is being abused or abusive, you should know that help is available. The first step is to call the Children’s Aid Society’s Family Wellness Program or one of the hotline numbers listed below. We will listen without judgment, give you information about your options, and help you figure out the next steps. All of our services are free and confidential.

Family Wellness Program     212-503-6842
NYC Domestic Violence Hotline      1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline  1-866-331-9474 | 1-866-331-8453 TTY

Business of Giving: Community Schools Mean Real Innovation

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If President Obama’s Office of Social Innovation gets the $50 million he’s requested to help fund non-profit agencies, I’ve got a suggestion for how to best spend that money: Tackle the hardest problems first.

What are the hardest problems? As someone who's spent the last 40 years working with disadvantaged children, two top my list: teen pregnancy and public education.

In this article, I'll discuss teen pregnancy. Despite decades of intervention, the US still has the highest pregnancy rate in the developing world. Each year, 4 out of 20 teens will get pregnant. In 2006, nearly half a million babies were born to girls between the ages of 15-19 in the US. These numbers frustrate me immensely because I see evidence everyday that with the right interventions, our country can reverse this trend.

At The Children’s Aid Society, we have taken a holistic approach to teen-pregnancy prevention. The Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program is based on what we know for sure: Hope is a powerful contraceptive.

To read the full article, link here

C. Warren Moses, CEO

The United Kingdom Takes A Cue From The Children's Aid Society's Community School Model

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Members of the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee of the UK Parliament visited New York City to study first-hand The Children’s Aid Society Community Schools. The 13 members of Parliament toured Community School I.S. 218 in Washington Heights - greeted by the principal, June Barnett, as well as members of the National Technical Assistance Center for Community Schools (NTACCS). The Children's Aid Society operates the NTACCS to assist educators, community leaders, funders and policymakers in adapting The Children's Aid Society school model.

The members of Parliament toured the student wellness center, family room, orthodontic clinic, classrooms and auditorium, and heard presentations about community schools and services provided there. They had much to see and learn: in 2010, all of the schools in England will become extended schools, which are based in part on Children’s Aid’s full service model. On their fast-paced tour, the group posed questions about school-based services, parent involvement, narrowing the achievement gap, and inspiring student self-esteem and motivation — all integral parts of The Children’s Aid Society’s model.

There has also been a valuable link between The Children’s Aid Society and Scotland for 10 years, with our successful model contributing to the implementation of similar schools there. Scottish educators keep abreast of Children’s Aid’s Community Schools developments with yearly visits. Education, like the child who is ready to learn, has no boundaries!

The community schools strategy works in part because parental involvement yields results, as does providing children with enriched learning during out-of-school time. And on-site medical, dental and mental health services are all a part of the legacy of The Children’s Aid Society founder Charles Loring Brace’s vision. Children do better in school when the major influences on their development — family, school and community resources — work together.

Children's Aid Receives Ninth 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator!

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The Children’s Aid Society is the first-ever recipient of a ninth consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator,  the nation’s largest independent charity evaluator! Designated for its “exceptional financial health,” Children’s Aid earned its latest four-star rating for its ability to “consistently execute its mission in a fiscally responsible way,” according to a letter from Ken Berger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the charity evaluator.

Berger’s letter also noted that Children’s Aid’s “ ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates The Children’s Aid Society from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”

Children’s Aid, founded in 1853, has created programs and services for families and children in need for over 156 years.  As times change and the needs of children, families and immigrants have changed, Children’s Aid has established centers and schools, opened clinics, and developed services where in New York City they are needed most.

“We are thrilled that Charity Navigator has recognized Children’s Aid’s ability to serve the impoverished children of New York City effectively and use donations wisely and efficiently,” said C. Warren Moses,  Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Aid Society. “We intend to maintain our fiscal health while continuing to innovate to meet the needs of children and families today.

“I am especially pleased that during the past fiscal year, donations from individuals actually increased by more than 10 percent, personal donations by Trustees went up and our Board approved an expense budget that included an additional $1.47 million to help sustain ‘lifeline’ programs for our families during the fiscal crisis,” he added.

Special Needs Call for Special Children's Aid Foster Care Programs

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The Children's Aid Society has been serving medically fragile children in our Medical Foster Care Program since 1988. Over the years this Medical Foster Care Program has successfully provided an alternative to institutional care, giving children a chance to grow up as other children do, in loving families.

friday The Children’s Aid Society was one of the first to provide this specialized foster care. These children need constant and comprehensive medical attention for conditions such as spina bifida, Down's Syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, congenital heart disease, cancer, seizure disorders and HIV/AIDS. We place these children with chronic and multiple medical disabilities in appropriate foster, and often permanent, homes. Caseworkers and nurses monitor their progress, and special medical equipment such as wheelchairs, special beds and stair lifts that are required are provided by the program. Important training and support services are also provided to the foster parents, to give the best possible care.

Another area of specialized foster care provided by The Children’s Aid Society is our Therapeutic Foster Care Program, providing foster care and therapeutic services to young people with emotional and behavioral problems. Some of these children have developmental disabilities; others suffer the repercussions of homelessness, abuse or neglect. A social worker and socio-therapist works closely with foster parents, supervising the implementation of an appropriate service plan to deal with the child’s behavior and needs.

These dedicated foster parents demonstrate tremendous commitment, undergo intense training keep logs of daily events, and remain in regular contact with our staff. Children’s Aid has achieved a phenomenal adoption rate with these fragile children.  Therapeutic foster homes are provided in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.

To learn how to become a Foster Parent, visit us.

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.