January 27, 2003
Administration For Children’s Services Celebrates National Mentoring Month
January 2003 is National Mentoring Month, and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) joins cities and states across the country in a call for caring adults to become mentors and make a difference in a young person’s life.
“A key goal of this administration is to help adolescents in foster care in New York City to develop meaningful connections with adults in their communities,” said ACS Commissioner William C. Bell. “Although many children in foster care still have connections to their parents or may have foster parents, teachers, grandparents, coaches or members of their faith community who they can turn to for support, all children can have their lives enriched through new connections with positive, caring adults. Mentors can serve as friends, role models and all-around supportive figures for these young people.”
Statistics show that at-risk children with mentors demonstrate improved academic performance and are less likely to be involved in drugs, alcohol and violence. To help promote mentoring, President George W. Bush issued a proclamation designating January 2003 National Mentoring Month. In New York City, ACS links mentors with adolescents in foster care through the ACS Mentoring Program. Launched in 1999, the program is designed to support young people as they prepare for life beyond foster care. The ACS Mentoring Program pairs youth between the ages of 14-21 with responsible adults aged 21 or older from throughout the five boroughs. To learn how to participate in the ACS Mentoring Program, log on to www.nyc.gov/acs, or call 212-497-8552.
In addition to its mentoring program, ACS also raises awareness through events such as the “Day of the Child” celebration. Held for the first time in New York City in November 2002, the event paired children in foster care in New York City with caring adults for a day of fun on the USS Intrepid and encouraged New Yorkers to learn about making a longer-term commitment to foster children through mentoring.
ACS also established a new partnership with the national organization Mentoring USA through its Foster Care Initiative. Under this partnership, children in the care of ACS’s Brooklyn division of Direct Foster Care Services (DFCS) meet weekly with adult mentors who help them work toward reaching individual goals. To learn more about participating in the ACS/Mentoring USA program, interested adults can call 212-253-1194, extension 450.
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services protects and ensures the safety and well being of New York City’s children and strengthens families. Formed in 1996, the agency oversees the City’s programs of child protection, foster care, preventive services, adoption, child support enforcement, child care and Head Start.