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Administration for Children’s Services Hosts “Back To School Breakfast” For College Students In Foster Care

New York, NY -- The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) hosted a Back to School Breakfast for over 140 college students in foster care. The event was highlighted by remarks from ACS Commissioner Ronald E. Richter and Christina Rodgriguez, a senior in Nursing at Stony Brook University who is in foster care.

 College Students Breakfast

Commissioner Ronald E. Richter (center) with college students in foster care.


The breakfast allowed students the chance to meet and network with each other, while also giving Commissioner Richter the opportunity to encourage the young people in their college pursuits. The event brought particular attention to the importance of education and the critical role it plays in allowing youth to transition successfully out of foster care. ACS, working in conjunction with our foster care agencies, works to lay the foundation for youth to realize collegiate dreams and future successes.

“The ability for all young people to pursue college and vocational opportunities is critical. Events such as these highlight how important we see our role at ACS in supporting, fostering and nurturing the aspirations of young people in foster care to realize educational achievements.  We also feel it’s important to demonstrate our appreciation for their accomplishments and offer encouragement to keep striving for to achieve future goals,” said ACS Commissioner Ronald E. Richter.

Christina Rodgriguez, a senior in Nursing at Stony Brook Univesity, spoke to her fellow students about the experiences and challenges she has faced in the journey to realizing her college aspirations.

There are a little over 12,500 children and young people currently in foster care, with approximately 4,800 teenagers (13-20 year olds) in care. In an effort to support college students in foster care, ACS makes exceptions to policy so that financial and other support continues to be provided to young people in foster care past the age of 21. For example, ACS can provide assistance for room and board, and students with no place to stay during the winter and summer breaks may return to their foster families, where they can receive monetary assistance until their 23rd birthday. All instances and situations are treated on a case-by-case basis.

ACS also works closely with foster care agencies to afford young people every opportunity to apply for educational financial assistance, such as Education Training Vouchers through Foster 2 Success, as well as filing for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and PELL grants.

Featured speaker Christina Rodriguez was the recipient of the 2011 New Yorkers For Children Spirit Award. Her academic achievement, commitment to community service, and motivation to succeed in school despite significant obstacles made her an outstanding and deserving recipient of this award.  At a young age, Christina and her siblings were placed in foster care. After several moves, she was placed with a foster family where she felt cared for and supported for the first time. She aspires to be a registered pediatric nurse.

“Christina and all the students represented here are a testament to the detemination and support of the foster families and our foster care agencies. Each has a unique story to tell and they all exemplify how we can provide the necessary support and confidence for kids to pursue further education and realize future successes,” said ACS Deputy Commissioner for Family Permanency Services, Benita Miller.

Contact: Chris Mckniff (212) 341-0886 or Christopher.mckniff@dfa.state.ny.us