Nicholas Scoppetta, Founder & President Will Remain as President Emeritus
On June 6, 2013, New Yorkers For Children (NYFC) appointed Eric Brettschneider President of the Board of Directors. Nicholas Scoppetta, the organization’s founder, has held this position since NYFC’s inception in 1996. Brettschneider has been a member of NYFC’s Board of Directors for 15 years, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Program, Audit and Strategic Planning Committees. Scoppetta, who retired as President, will remain involved with the organization as President Emeritus.
“We have focused on educational programs that help youth leaving foster care become self-sufficient. That includes all forms of education, academic, vocational and important life-skills. Education is the key to opportunity for these young people. I step down with some reluctance and more than a touch of sadness. NYFC has its roots in my personal history and has been an important part of my life for the past 17 years. However, those feelings are tempered by the fact that my successor is Eric Brettschneider, a talented, experienced child welfare professional who I am confident will build on and enhance the success we have enjoyed,” said Nicholas Scoppetta.
As one of New York City’s most dedicated and effective public servants, Scoppetta has worked under every New York City Mayor since John V. Lindsay, spending nearly five decades in City and Federal government. Currently Chairman of the city’s Conflict of Interest Board, Scoppetta served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Deputy Mayor and Commissioner of Investigation, and Associate Counsel to the Knapp Commission. In 1996, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani tapped him to be the City’s first Commissioner of the newly formed ACS. Under Scoppetta’s leadership, ACS engaged in a comprehensive reform of the City’s child welfare system that won praise from national experts.
In 2002 Scoppetta became Fire Commissioner and rebuilt the Department, which had been devastated by the September 11th terrorist attacks. Upon his retirement from the FDNY in 2010, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “Nearly every mayor over the last 50 years has turned to Nick Scoppetta for help – usually to get the City through a crisis. Few ever have served our City so long or so well.”
It was during his tenure as ACS Commissioner that Scoppetta founded New Yorkers For Children – a deeply personal endeavor. As a young child, Scoppetta and his siblings were removed from their home and placed into foster care. Since NYFC’s founding, Scoppetta has been committed to connecting with youth in care on a personal level and to guiding NYFC in making a larger impact on the child welfare system by bridging the gap and providing services the government cannot offer. Over the past 17 years, NYFC has distributed over $50 million in funds to youth in care through direct programs, as well as through partnerships with ACS and other youth servicing organizations.
“The honor of serving New Yorkers For Children is magnified by the fact that Nick Scoppetta, a heroic leader, has been its President since NYFC’s founding. We will continue the tradition Nick established – empowering the child welfare community,” said Brettschneider.
Brettschneider is one of the foremost experts in child welfare. Currently the Chief of Staff and Assistant Commissioner at the New York State Office of Children & Family Services and President of the Viola W. Bernard Foundation, Brettschneider brings over 45 years of experience in both the private and public sectors to the position of President of the Board of Directors at NYFC. He is also a member of the faculty at NYU. Brettschneider entered child welfare and human services in 1967 as a family court intake worker and child care worker, before spending 10 years as Director of The Queens Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (now Safe Space).
In 1980, he joined the New York State Department of Social Services, where he worked on the implementation of the Child Welfare Reform Act. While Deputy Commissioner for The New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA), Brettschneider was instrumental in implementing major advances for Children’s Services. He continued his work on behalf of New York City children and their families for almost 20 years as Executive Director of the Agenda for Children Tomorrow. As NYFC President, Brettschneider is committed to furthering the initial goals that led Scoppetta to found NYFC, and continuing his legacy of improving the conditions and futures of youth in foster care in New York City.