Keeping the Promise: Jayden and Michael Webb

At The Children’s Aid Society’s Bronx Family Center, 4-year-old twins Jayden and Michael Webb have found a stable and engaging learning environment. As participants in the center’s Early Childhood program, they are laying the foundation for developmental growth and learning success.

Two years ago, the boys were removed from their mother’s care and entered the foster care system. At that time they were showing developmental delays in learning, communication and social-emotional skills. Their foster mother, Nerva Martinez, a single parent who is providing the boys a positive and loving home, was seeking a caring setting that would help speed their development.

Ms. Martinez learned about Children’s Aid last spring during the application process for Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, where her daughter Kailani is now in first grade. She visited the Bronx Family Center and was impressed by the spotless facility and the professionalism and follow-through of the staff. She enrolled the twins last summer.

In just a few months, Jayden and Michael have made leaps and bounds in all aspects of their young lives. They can now write the full alphabet, identify colors and even read The Cat in the Hat. Ms. Martinez reports that both boys are very open and comfortable with their teachers and other students in their class. And she says the twins have become quite independent, able to express their feelings and ask for help when they need it.

Ms. Martinez, who has been driving a New York City bus for nine years, is proud of her boys and pleased with their emerging personalities.

“They are both very lovable boys. Jayden is very funny and enjoys making everyone around him laugh,” she says. “Michael is very attentive and is happiest when he is able to help out.”

Ms. Martinez and the center’s staff will continue to help Jayden and Michael overcome their earlier setbacks and be fully prepared for kindergarten. Ms. Martinez looks forward to providing the twins the best education possible and helping them achieve all the goals they may set for themselves.

Meanwhile, she has also set a goal for herself. Having recently become the foster mother of the twin’s month-old sister, Ms. Martinez will soon initiate the process to legally adopt all three siblings, opening her home and heart to create a new family.

From the CEO

Dear Friends:

A new year always holds such promise—a fresh start, a renewed focus on what matters most. At The Children’s Aid Society, as always, we will put kids first in 2013, with a range of new services in the neighborhoods where we work.

For the first time, we have launched an Early Childhood program for young children and parents on Staten Island. The Richmond Early Learning Center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is already serving 130 children ages 2 to 5, providing learning and social support that will prepare them for school. Families qualify for services based on financial need. The center also provides a wealth of supports and services for families, including home visits, parent workshops and mental health services. We are proud to expand these proven programs and to support the education of our youngest children in the borough.

The Richmond center expands our footprint on Staten Island, where we have also recently opened our Staten Island Family Services Center, which houses Foster Care and Preventive Services programs, annually serving several hundred Staten Island children and their families.

In addition to providing traditional Foster Care services, we offer Treatment Family Foster Care—intensive clinical services to children and adolescents with significant emotional and behavioral difficulties—and mental health services. Along with ensuring that the children in our care receive the highest quality medical, education, recreation and social support services, foster care staff recruit and train foster parents, both kinship and non-kin. Birth families at risk of losing their children to foster care, and those seeking to reunify their families, can access group and individual counseling, substance abuse case management, housing advocacy and financial assistance at this vital center.

Last September, we officially opened our new Bronx Headquarters, which includes a state-of-the-art health care center that will provide more than 15,000 visits per year to 4,000 children. The new site integrates comprehensive medical, dental, mental health and social services for children and adolescents from Children’s Aid and other foster care programs. It also houses our Bronx Medical Foster Care program for children with chronic medical conditions and severe disabilities who cannot be cared for by their parents. These children are placed in nurturing foster homes while on the path home to their families or adoption.

By expanding our centers in two high-poverty neighborhoods, we will make a better life possible for many children in the new year. Whether it is by providing a working parent peace of mind through reliable new day care or by reuniting families that are separated by illness or violence, we will keep our promise to provide stability and opportunity to children across New York City.

We cannot do it without your help, and we thank you for making a difference for The Children’s Aid Society.


Richard Buery