February 20, 2003
Young Adult From New York City’s Foster Care System And His Family Are Featured In Oscar Nominated Documentary
Daniel Jacob is 19 years old and came into the New York City foster care system when he was four. Daniel lives with his grandmother Erslena and younger brother Raymond in Richmond Hills, Queens. The family is featured in a film called, “Why Can’t We Be a Family Again?” which was nominated for a 2003 Academy Award in the Best Documentary Short Subject Category.
The documentary was produced and directed by Roger Weisberg and Murray Nossel, filmed in Brooklyn and tells the story of Daniel and Raymond’s hope to someday be reunited with their mother who is battling substance abuse. It is a cinema verite portrait of the bond that develops between two brothers who long to be brought back together with their mother. Shot over a three-year period, this emotional story reveals how the brothers, with the help and guidance of their grandmother, found a way to thrive and redefine what it means to be a family.
“Everyone at the Administration for Children’s Services is incredibly proud of Daniel who is a tremendous young man,” said ACS Commissioner William C. Bell. “The story of his family is one that underscores the complexity of the work that occurs in child welfare in New York City each day but most important, highlights the love between Daniel, Raymond and their wonderful grandmother.”
Daniel attended New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn and is currently a freshman at York College studying business administration. He is also on the York College basketball team and plays the positions of shooting guard and small forward.
He is involved in the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Office of Youth Development College Support Program, which offers youth who are in foster care advice and programs to navigate the challenges of college. Five years ago, Daniel started a youth group called “Danny Love” in an effort to help his younger brother and other younger children find productive things to do with their time during the summer months. Out of this group, Daniel began running a basketball league for kids between the ages of 12 and 16. Daniel states that he hopes he can be an inspiration to the kids on the team through setting his own positive example.
Daniel recently spoke at several ACS Office of Youth Development events including the College Support Mixer and the Independent Living Program kick-off. He was also selected to deliver remarks at Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast.
ACS 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.