April 25, 2003
More Than 300 Adolescents From New York City’s Foster Care System Participated In The ACS Youth Conference
ACS Commissioner William C. Bell, Chubb Rock and DJ Deja Vue of Power 105.1 AM Met With Young People To Offer Support
New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner William C. Bell addressed more than 300 adolescents who are in foster care in New York City yesterday at the ACS Youth Conference held at Hostos College in the Bronx. The annual conference is an opportunity for young people who are in foster care to get together with their peers and ACS to discuss the issues that are important to them. Commissioner Bell was joined at the conference by rap legend Chubb Rock and DJ Deja Vue from Power 105.1 AM.
Today, approximately 26,000 children are in foster care in New York City and 48 percent are adolescents over the age of 12. As a result, under the leadership of Commissioner Bell, ACS is concentrating more strategically than ever before on the needs of adolescents who are in foster care.
“ACS’s goal is to nurture and support every child who is in foster care in this city. With a growing adolescent population within foster care, the ACS Office of Youth Development is truly a cornerstone to the work we do at ACS to help young people thrive and transition into healthy, productive and self–sufficient adulthood,” said Commissioner Bell.
“It is our goal that when every young person leaves foster care in New York City, they are either working or in school, have a place to live and have a connection to a caring adult in the community. These connections to adults are crucial and New Yorkers can get involved by calling 311 to find out more about how to mentor an adolescent in foster care through the ACS Mentoring Program.”
In addition to the Mentoring Program, the Office of Youth Development strives to provide support for children between the ages of 14 and 21 in a variety of ways including:
- The Peer Leadership Council (PLC)
PLC is a supportive peer network of teens in foster care, which stresses developing self confidence and leadership skills as well as building skills beyond academics. ACS representatives work with participants to improve youth participation in ACS-sponsored events and allow youth a forum in which to discuss how they receive ACS services. The PLC is the group responsible for developing the theme of this year’s Youth Conference, “Breaking Through Limitations: Move Mountains, Aim High.”
- The College Support Program
This program provides teens with college counseling, SAT preparation courses, college
visits and admissions advice. An independent living college counselor also provides
ongoing help with education issues, finances and career planning.
- Employment Initiatives
Each year, roughly 1,000 young adults leave the foster care system. For many of them, a first job can put them on track for a productive adult life. This unit assists youth in foster care for their first work experience by serving as a clearinghouse for resources and referrals for employment readiness, vocational training and job placement.
- Basic Life Skills Training
Covering topics such as money management, how to find housing, health and community resources this training further prepares youth for their exit from foster care.
Many of the above mentioned ACS Office of Youth Development Programs are supported by funds raised through New Yorkers For Children, the non profit organization that raises money to support ACS programs. For instance, as part of the College Support Program, New Yorkers For Children provides college-enrolled foster youth with back-to-school packages to prepare them for their academic year including a laptop computer, software, school supplies a pre-paid phone card, a thesaurus and a dictionary. For more information about making a donation to New Yorkers For Children call 311 or log onto www.newyorkersforchildren.org
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, childcare and Head Start.