The Children's Aid Blog

Finding “Forever” Families for Special Needs Children

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

November is National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for children and youth in foster care. Currently there are nearly 400,000 children in the United States foster care system. Every year, thousands of these children will age out of foster care without the love and support of a “forever” family.

Thirteen percent of all children served by this system have at least one documented disability. For those with a medical disability, emotional or behavioral disorder, the life-changing event of aging out can be catastrophic. 

At The Children’s Aid Society, our specialized teams in Family Foster Care, Medical Foster Care, Treatment Family Foster Care and services for teens who are “aging out” work tirelessly to bring security and stability to these children, either with a permanent home or with an adoptive family.

Over the past fiscal year ending June 30, the adoption unit at The Children’s Aid Society completed 97 adoptions. And so far, 28 adoptions have already been completed for the current fiscal year, which began on July 1. What makes these numbers extra special is the success the Children’s Aid has had with finding permanent homes for children out of Medical and Treatment Family foster care.

“At The Children’s Aid Society, we continue to be very proud of the fact that included in our adoption numbers we have significant percentages of children adopted out of our special medical, developmental disabilities and treatment family foster care programs,” said Michael Wagner, director adoption and foster care at The Children’s Aid Society. “When these children are adopted by their foster parents, they benefit from having one less transition and that can make all the difference for their futures.”

As we mark November as National Adoption Month, The Children’s Aid Society has six additional children scheduled to finalize their adoptions this week in New York City’s Family Courts.

From the Associates Council: Friendraising Starts with Midnight in Paris

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

When you watch Midnight in Paris, you watch the fantastic minds that defined modernism, hanging out in Gertrude Stein’s Paris apartment, creating culture that would impact generations to come. It’s a great reminder of the power of collaborating with impressive & inspiring people. And that’s what we are excited to do at our fall event – bring together awesome New Yorkers to show them the impact we can make together through The Children’s Aid Society.

Our goal at this event is to friendraise – in other words, to get people as excited as we are about The Children’s Aid Society. We’re looking for people who will partner with Children’s Aid to help grow and strengthen their amazing programs.  

As we get closer to the event, we wanted to share some tips on how you can help us friendraise this fall:

Share what excites you the most about The Children’s Aid Society. People will give their time and money to organizations they know and trust. There are so many great charities out there – why choose Children’s Aid? Think about key experiences you’ve had that will influence others to participate.

Show your friends the impact their gift will have. People are more interested in giving when they understand where the resources are going. This year, the Associates Council is raising money for the Go!Healthy program, an initiative that follows children from early childhood through adolescence and beyond, educating them about wellness, nutrition and healthy cooking. Kids who have gone through the program are more likely to choose an apple over candy as a snack and are more open to trying new foods at home. In addition to education, Go!Healthy provides healthy meals to approximately 1,500 children a day. Read more about their programs here.

Offer up multiple ways to get involved. People want to see that they can get involved and influence the organization, not just be a distant donor, but they may be afraid to make a large commitment upfront. An entry-level donation or volunteer experience will help people take that first step with Children’s Aid. Check out volunteer opportunities or learn more about joining the Associates Council.

So invite your friends to take the first step with The Children’s Aid Society by joining us on November 20th for Midnight in Paris – Associates Council style.

-- Stephanie Danzi, Associates Council Member

Join Us Tuesday to Talk Community Schools at “Talking Transition”

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

Every School a Community School: Moving from Pilot to Policy

Tuesday, November 19
4:30 - 6 p.m.
The Talking Transition Tent
“Town Hall”
@Canal & Varick Streets

After more than a decade, New Yorkers will have a new mayor in just a few weeks. In preparation for this major transition, The Children’s Aid Society will be taking part in a pioneering public dialogue called "Talking Transition."

Join us to discuss how all of New York City’s children and families can receive the supports and opportunities they need to succeed and thrive in school. Community schools, an educational reform strategy, remove barriers to learning by organizing the resources of schools and communities around student success. There are many existing examples of community schools in NYC—we now have an opportunity to promote system-wide support and implementation.

  • Learn more about community schools and their impact on student success
  • Watch a segment of the PBS special "The Graduates/Los Graduados," featuring Chastity Salas, a community school graduate (Nationally syndicated columnist Esther J. Cepeda has written a commentary on Chastity's journey. Read it here.)
  • Hear from a diverse panel about moving from pilot to policy

There will be a question and answer period following the panel.

PARTICIPATING PANELISTS:

  • Richard R. Buery – President and CEO, The Children’s Aid Society (Moderator)
  • Abe Fernandez – Director of Collective Impact, The Children’s Aid Society
  • Catalina Fortino – VP for Education, The United Federation of Teachers
  • Gayle Jennings–O'Byrne – Vice President, JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy
  • Sr. Paulette LoMonaco – Executive Director, Good Shepherd Services
  • Nancy Mann – Principal, Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School
  • Dianne Morales – Executive Director and CEO, Phipps Community Development Corporation
  • Andrew White – Director, Center for New York City Affairs at The New School
  • Sarah Zeller-Berkman – Director of Community Youth Development, Youth Development Institute

Talking Transition is an open conversation about the future of New York City. Along with dozens of other organizations and partners, we are helping New Yorkers engage in the issues and be part of the transition. All events are free and open to the public.

We look forward to seeing you Tuesday!

WaPo Column: Making College a Family Matter

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

Nationally syndicated columnist Esther J. Cepeda has written a commentary on the PBS documentary The Graduates/Los Graduados, which premiered last month. 

The film shares the compelling stories of six young Latinos from around the country who beat the odds and achieved success in school. Featured in this nationwide premiere is Bronx-born Chastity Salas, a Children’s Aid Society community school alumna and current freshman at the State University of New York at Potsdam.

Ms. Cepeda's column, "Making college a family matter," explores what she calls “a nearly universal barrier to low-income, first-generation college students: leaving an impoverished family behind in order to better yourself.”

Ms. Cepeda quotes Chastity, as well as Emily Task, citing their work together at FLHFHS’s Student Success Center to prepare Chastity for college.

You can watch the entire one-hour documentary here.

Join the online conversation about this film and the ways to curb the high school dropout rate. Visit the film’s Facebook page and use the hashtag #TheGraduates/#LosGraduados on Twitter to show your support.

From the Associates Council: Escape to Midnight in Paris

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

The Associates Council is thrilled to continue our literary themed events by bringing a bit of Parisian sparkle to the lower east side in just a couple short weeks. Following our recent Emerald City spring soiree, the Children’s Aid Society’s 17th Annual fall fundraiser pays homage to Midnight in Paris.

Our venue, Preserve24, evokes a bit of the exposed brick facades, cobblestone street feel and Jazz Age environment the movie whimsically brings to life. You can almost picture Hemingway and Fitzgerald lounging in a corner booth discussing their newest masterpiece while Zelda dances by the bar. And even better, this fantastic new venue represents a charitable cause of its own, the preservation of Greenland’s retreating glacial landscape.

We are also pleased to announce that Tito's Vodka has graciously offered to be our exclusive vodka sponsor for the evening.

We hope you can escape with us to Midnight in Paris for drinks, hors d’oeuvres and more on Wednesday, November 20 from 7-9pm in support of the incredibly important work The Children’s Aid Society is doing in our neediest NYC communities. 

Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit The Children’s Aid Society Go!Healthy program, an initiative that follows children from early childhood through adolescence and beyond, educating them about wellness, nutrition and healthy cooking.

Buy tickets today!

-- Rebecca Steuer & Kate Ruque, Fall Event Committee Co-Chairs

Youth Vie For Coveted Spot on Leadership Council

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

As New Yorkers head to the polls today to vote for the city’s new Mayor, students at The Children’s Aid Society are also holding their own valuable elections. Last Friday, students in the afterschool program at P.S. 8, a Children’s Aid Society community school in Washington Heights, voted in its new 2013-2014 Youth Leadership Council. Their excitement and nerves filled the school’s auditorium as over a dozen future leaders presented compelling speeches in hopes of securing the most votes.

Youth Leadership Council (YLC) members learn valuable leadership skills and advocate for their fellow students, school and community. The YLC provides input and feedback regarding the activities in their afterschool program, plays a part in organizing afterschool events, and develops and participates in community service and youth advocacy projects.

The incoming council members at P.S. 8 will have large shoes to fill. Former students (left) credit their time with the YLC with teaching them how to be a better student, a better son/daughter and better community member. They ask the new council to be the example that the other children follow.

Stay tuned for more YLC 2013-2014 news.

From the Associates Council: Supporting an Incredible Cause

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

On Wednesday, November 20th, the Associates Council is hosting its 17th annual fall fundraiser themed Midnight in Paris.

Proceeds from this year’s fundraiser will benefit The Children’s Aid Society Go!Healthy program, an initiative that follows children from early childhood through adolescence and beyond, educating them about wellness, nutrition and healthy cooking.

“The crisis we face with childhood obesity in this country is so large that it can be overwhelming. But we fight it with positivity and empowerment,” said Stefania Patinella, Director of Food and Nutrition Programs at the Children’s Aid Society. “Our program teaches kids to take their health into their own hands. From toddlers to teens, they learn how to grow vegetables, cook nutritious and delicious meals, be aware of advertising that persuades them to choose junk foods and make the healthy choice instead. As they share meals with their families and compete for Healthiest Chef in our Iron Go!Chefs event, healthy eating transforms from a chore to a cause for celebration.”

By joining us for Midnight in Paris, you will help make Go!Healthy programs, including cooking classes, health and fitness, recipe competitions, and many others better able to improve the lives of children in our neediest New York City communities.

We hope to see you there. Buy tickets today!

-- Rebecca Steuer, Co-Chair, Fall Event Committee

Tom Hiddleston Surprises Kids at "Thor" Screening

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

Last night for Halloween, over 60 kids from the East Harlem Center and community school Mirabal Sisters Campus dressed up in costumes, and headed down to Times Square for a screening of “Thor: The Dark World.” Youth were greeted with Halloween treats and t-shirts upon arriving, and after they took their seats, Tom Hiddleston--the actor who plays “Loki”--made a surprise celebrity appearance, flying in all the way from London!

Thank you to Tom Hiddleston, the New York Daily News, Marvel and Disney for organizing this fantastic and memorable Halloween opportunity for our kids.

Read more on the New York Daily News article here.

photo credit: Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News

2013 Trauma Conference Attracts Hundreds

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

Hundreds of education and social services professionals are attending the “Impact of Trauma on Learning and Development” conference today at the National Center for Community Schools. This daylong conference, a collaboration between The Children’s Aid Society and New York Foundling, will give an in-depth look at this critical issue that affects students and their school environment.

Today's agenda includes a keynote address by Dr. Glenn Saxe, the director of the New York University Child Study Center and Arnold Simon Professor and Chair of the department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

The effects of traumatic stress on children have been well-documented and as a result many effective strategies have been developed for addressing the needs of trauma-effected youth in school settings. Leading researchers and practitioners will present on a range of topics, including: current research; organizing support services in a community school setting; and therapeutic and teaching models and strategies.

The idea for the conference grew out of Children’s Aid’s and NY Foundling’s own charter schools, which serve children actively involved in the child welfare system. The event is bringing together leading thinkers and frontline staff to share successes and strategies for creating trauma-sensitive environments for vulnerable children.

From the Associates Council: Bonjour Midnight in Paris!

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

The Associates Council is pleased to invite you to the 17th annual fall fundraiser, Midnight in Paris, an evening fête and fundraiser to help The Children’s Aid Society enable children in poverty to succeed and thrive. Details below:

17th Annual Fall Fundraiser Midnight in Paris
November 20, 2013, 7-9 p.m.
Preserve24
177 East Houston Street*
New York, NY
*Intersection of Houston & Allen Streets

Our fall fundraiser will support The Children’s Aid Society’s Go!Healthy initiative that follows children from early childhood through adolescence and beyond, educating them about wellness with nutrition and healthy cooking programs.

By joining us for Midnight in Paris, you are helping improve the lives of children and their families in New York City's neediest communities.

A sneak peek of what to expect at this year’s event includes an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and Bonheur. Check back here for more information about this year’s theme, distinguished guests, raffle prizes and the behind-the-scenes team that will make the event possible!

We hope to see you there. Buy tickets today!

-- Ali Rotondo, Fall Event Committee