Innovative Programs

NYFC serves a dual purpose as both direct service providers and as trailblazers in our field, supporting innovative new programs that inform our work and expand our impact for generations to come.

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If you are a youth or agency worker looking to learn more about NYFC programming and how to apply, please click here

Innovative Programs

NYFC collaborates with an array of key stakeholders in the child welfare community including community partners, educational institutions, ACS, and over 100 citywide provider agencies to pilot innovative programs designed to help children, young adults, and their families involved in the NYC Child Welfare System. These initiatives include:

  • Compassionate juvenile justice
  • Educational and career-focused activities and mentoring

  • Curricula to better support LGBTQ+ youth
  • Pilot programs to discover new ways to tackle the most pressing issues faced by the children and families that we serve

NYFC assumes two roles for Innovative Programs:

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As Program Managers, we design, administer, and oversee all aspects of a program.

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As Grant Managers, we partner with ACS to oversee the backend operations of their projects.

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In June 2018, NYFC launched an intensive, multi-year pilot program in New York City known as LifeSet, designed by Youth Villages, a leading national non-profit organization based in Memphis, Tennessee.

The overarching goal of the program is to improve outcomes across the board for youth transitioning out of foster care by providing a comprehensive array of services and tightly regulated supports to transition-age youth in foster care, which include daily living and basic life skills, employment and education coaching, financial literacy, social supports that help establish strong adult relationships, and more.

This program is designed to be highly customizable, allowing the specialists to tailor the services offered to meet the exact needs of the youth. The program will serve approximately 300 youth, ages 17 to 22, over three years. Four local NYC foster care agencies – Children’s Aid, SCO Family Services, Good Shepherd Services, and The NY Foundling – were competitively selected to recruit, enroll, and serve the program’s participants.

Summer Internship

Programs for Older Youth In The Faster Care And Juvenile Justice Systems

With funding from The Robinhood Foundation, NYFC and ACS partnered to provide over 200 paid virtual summer internships for older youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems along with Summer Enrichment Programs for youth in detention.

These programs were designed in response to the COVID-19 emergency to provide a source of income for these young people to help meet needs during this very challenging time, as well as to provide critical work experience.

In addition to career development and training support, each youth received approximately $1,500 for the 6-week internship. Eight of the youth were placed directly with NYFC and their internship encompassed a Peer Educator Certification along with a research project focused on the benefits of meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and nutrition; and how these interventions can serve as alternative approaches to healing trauma. Throughout the six-week program, the eight participants - led by an NYFC scholarship alumnus - also received career and college planning coaching, and professional development networking events and workshops.

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Improving Services

To Parents With Intellectual Or Developmental Disabilities

With funding from The Mother Cabrini Foundation, NYFC and ACS partnered to provide vital support services to parents with intellectual or developmental disabilities involved with the NYC child welfare system.

In this pilot, NYFC and ACS’ Developmental Disabilities Unit partner with Sinergia to provide service coordination for these parents, including those with court involvement who are working towards reunification.

Sinergia offers group classes, one-on-one sessions, and coaching to help with individual parenting goals identified for each parent, such as nutrition and meal planning, and establishment of a household routine. The supports and resources provided include a parent assessment, parenting classes, individual counseling, home visit coaching, help with individual parenting goals, and 1:1 home and community support.

Mitigating Trauma

Through Drama: Developing Positive Pathways For Lives Through Expressive Arts

NYFC, ACS, and Foster Care Unplugged have collaborated to design a pilot program focused upon trauma mitigation and mental health support through therapeutic expressive arts group work for trafficked and at-risk girls and young women within NYC’s child welfare system.

Made possible by support from The New York Community Trust, these survivor-led therapeutic drama and writing exercises serve as mediums for youth to safely express and process their life stories, allowing them to identify strengths and strive towards supportive and positive alternate pathways.

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Beyond Foster Care

With support from the Sirus fund, NYFC and ACS partnered with Action Research to complete the analysis and implementation planning needed to integrate additional prevention supports for low-income families with children in foster care, or at very high risk of foster care.

Increasing available prevention services will strengthen families, reduce the overall use of foster care, and prevent re-entries into care.

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LGBTQ Foster Care

Population Count And Youth Climate Survey

With support from The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Redlich Horwitz, NYFC and ACS commissioned a study to better understand the needs and experiences of young people in foster care who identify as LGBTQAI+ and gender diverse.

The study, titled “Experiences and Well-Being of Sexual and Gender Diverse Youth in Foster Care in New York City,” is based on feedback from the multitude of young people interviewed combined with analysis of administrative data and serves to provide new guidance for the child welfare field and inform strategies to improve outcomes of LGBTQAI+ youth in care. Columbia University designed the study, analyzed the data, and produced the report, and Westat conducted the survey.

To explore the survey, click here.

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