The Office of Public Policy team’s overarching role at Children’s Aid is to take the lead in developing, coordinating, aligning, and implementing the policy and legislative agenda and advocacy strategy for the organization. Equally important, the team focuses its efforts on raising the profile of the organization and ensuring that Children’s Aid is viewed as a key thought leader on social service and anti-poverty issues related to children and families locally and nationally. 

Internally, the team is integral in coordinating policy priorities among the various programmatic divisions to ensure that the priorities align with Keeping the Promise, the organization’s strategic plan, while also strengthening the ability of Children’s Aid staff, parents, and youth to advocate externally. Externally, the team cultivates and builds external strategic partnerships and relationships with elected and appointed officials at the city, state, and federal levels, and manages the organization’s participation in key campaigns and coalitions with the goal of strengthening the ability of Children’s Aid to affect policy. 

Key Accomplishments in FY 16:

  • As a member of the Campaign for Children, we helped restore summer programs for 26,000 NYC middle school students, including close to 500 slots across six Children’s Aid sites.
  • Through the New York State Community Schools Network and the New York City Coalition for Community School Excellence, we secured an additional year of funding for 12 NYC Community Schools Grant Initiative schools (original funding expired June 30, 2016) at $2.5 million.
  • We expanded the Community Building Summer Internship Program to include 20 elected officials’ offices (up from 15 offices in the previous year).
  • The Fostering Youth Success Alliance (FYSA) was able to secure $3 million in state funding for the Foster College Success Campaign for FY 17 (an increase of $1.5 million from the previous year).
  • Through the NYS Boys & Girls Club of America, we were able to secure $700,000 statewide for the nutrition initiative for FY17.
  • Through the Campaign for Summer Jobs, we were able to secure $31 million in state funding (a $1 million increase from the previous year), $38.5 million in city funding, and $16 million in city funding for year round youth jobs for FY 17 for a total of 60,000 slots this summer.

Fostering Youth Success Alliance

In 2013, Children’s Aid launched the statewide Fostering Youth Success Alliance (FYSA). FYSA aims to improve the socioeconomic, physical and mental health, housing, and educational outcomes for youth in care and aging out of care in New York State (NYS) by collaboratively advocating for and educating stakeholders about effective public policies. FYSA is made up of a statewide Steering Committee of 20 organizations and currently counts more than 90 organizations as members, including child welfare organizations, research and advocacy groups, youth currently in care, youth who have aged out of care, and judicial figures.

FYSA’s first advocacy campaign, the Foster College Success Campaign, was created in response to the extreme gaps in financial resources and supports foster care youth face while making the transition from high school to college. Since its inception, FYSA has been able to:

  • educate and inform key stakeholders across government agencies, organizations, and communities about the barriers to and through college;
  • advocate for the adoption of policies that increase foster care youth college enrollment and success; and
  • support the implementation of those best-practice policies throughout statewide. FYSA was successful in advocating for the state to establish the statewide Foster Youth College Success Initiative (FYCSI), aimed at supporting foster youth in getting to college and graduating from college. FYCSI became a part of the state education law in 2015, and since its establishment the state has invested $4.5 million to support foster youth attending college in the state. To learn more about FYSA, please visit our website: www.fysany.org.

The Children’s Aid Society is a member of Campaign for Children, Council of Family & Child Caring Agencies, Boys & Girls Club of America, Human Services Council, New York State Boys & Girls Club, Coalition for Community Schools, Child Welfare League of America, and the Campaign for Summer Jobs.