The Children's Aid Society Considering Sale of its Philip Coltoff Center

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Contact:
Ellen Lubell, (w) 212-949-4938, (c) 917-854-6864, ellenl@childrensaidsociety.org
Emily Crossan, (w) 917-286-1548, (c) 201-344-5742, emilyc@childrensaidsociety.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW YORK, December 2, 2010 – The Children’s Aid Society announced this week that its Board of Trustees is considering selling the properties that comprise the Philip Coltoff Center in Greenwich Village: 219 and 209 Sullivan Street and its Early Childhood Annex at 177 Sullivan Street. This decision still must be ratified by The Children’s Aid Society’s Board of Trustees, which will meet on December 16 to consider this action. Contrary to some published reports, we have not listed the properties for sale and have not begun negotiations with other schools or entities regarding their sale.

“For over 150 years, The Children’s Aid Society has had a single mission: to serve New York City children living in poverty. Historically, Children’s Aid has opened centers, clinics and schools in communities where the need is high, often in new immigrant communities. While the Greenwich Village community shows a continued demand for quality and affordable early childhood and afterschool programs, the neighborhood has changed radically in the 119 years since this center opened, and it is clear that the community no longer needs us in the way that higher poverty New York neighborhoods do. We are committed to spending our precious public and private resources on helping to transform the lives of those children who need us most,” said Richard R. Buery, Jr., President and CEO of The Children’s Aid Society.

Mission as context
For a century and a half, Children’s Aid has created innovative programs and services that meet the changing needs of children and families suffering the effects of poverty. From creating the models for Visiting Nurse Services and modern foster care to our contemporary innovations – the Carrera teen pregnancy prevention program, Go! Healthy, our healthy eating and lifestyle programs and Talk and Play, a new approach to early childhood learning − Children’s Aid continually seeks to improve the lives of children and youth who have had fewer opportunities and resources.

“It is within the context of Children’s Aid’s enduring mission, and our ongoing, strategic review of how best we can achieve that mission, that Children’s Aid’s management and Board of Trustees are considering this sale,” added Buery. “The Children’s Aid Society depends on private financial resources, such as those that would be generated from a sale, to drive this innovation and sustain our work in high-need communities over time.”

In 1891, when Children’s Aid opened the Philip Coltoff Center (PCC) – first as an industrial school, and later as the Greenwich Village Center until it was again renamed in 2005 – the community was a destination for poor immigrants. From that time to today, the center has stood as a beacon of excellence for the children of lower Manhattan, offering best-in-class programs such as theater arts and early childhood programming.

Children’s Aid’s programs and services have evolved with the changing needs of families and of communities; over the years it has relocated services repeatedly in order to be where the need is greatest. The 45 locations Children’s Aid operates now are not the same locations it occupied 100 years ago or even 50 years ago. The 18th Street School, the 52nd Street School, the Sloane Center and Utopia Children’s House are all examples of centers and schools opened and closed as community needs changed.

More recently, Children’s Aid opened a health services hub, a teen center, foster care and preventive services offices as well as seven community schools in the Morrisania section of the South Bronx within the last 10 years as the agency saw a great need for its services there. "Even so, we are only serving a fraction of the children in the South Bronx who would benefit from our programs,” said Buery. “Median income in Greenwich Village is more than double that in Morrisania, and parents in the South Bronx have many fewer options for their children. It is our hope that the community will recognize the difficult nature of this decision and understand that we must focus our finite resources – both human and financial -- on those underserved communities of New York City where parents have the fewest quality options for their children. I wish we could serve everyone, but since we cannot we must make difficult and sometimes painful decisions about who we should serve.”

“We know that this decision – if finalized – will be met with great unhappiness among the families of the 1,000-plus children we serve at PCC and within the Greenwich Village community,” said Buery. “Children’s Aid has been a proud part of that community for over 100 years. We will move forward with great care and consideration for all involved and if the sale is approved, we are committed to working with families at the Center to provide a responsible transition, and we pledge to explore any options that would allow other organizations to continue to provide services to the Greenwich Village community in the future.”

The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to serve the children of New York City. Our mission is to provide comprehensive support for children in need, from birth to young adulthood, and for their families, to fill the gaps between what children have and what they need to thrive. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please call 212-949-4938, email ellenl@childrensaidsociety.org, or visit www.childrensaidsociety.org.

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