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Press Release
February 11, 2008

Children’s Services Launches Website for Youth in Foster Care

Youth Will Contribute to and Learn From “Hub of Information”

Children’s Services, New Yorkers For Children and Youth Communications announced the launching of a new Website dedicated to the needs of youth who are transitioning out of foster care on Feb. 11, 2008. The site, www.youthcomm.org/pyayouth, is the first of its kind and will serve as a significant resource for these young men and women, helping them to make a successful transition to adult life. Young people will have the unique opportunity to contribute their own stories to the site, allowing youth to communicate with and learn from each other.

“This new Website will be a dynamic venue for youth who are making the transition from foster care to adulthood as they face serious challenges in navigating a very complicated world on their own,” said Children’s Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly. “The goal is to provide these youth with a ‘one stop’ site, which will contain a wealth of information to help them better understand what they need to do and where they need to go to make a successful transition. These are resilient hard-working young people who aspire to careers, education and financial security. This site is designed to help them reach their goals.”

New Yorkers For Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the needs of youth in foster care, initiated the creation of the site with a preliminary grant of $45,000 and has committed to continue to fund editorial work, training, and maintenance of the site as it grows in scope and reach. Youth Communication, a not-for-profit community organization giving voice to young people in New York City, particularly those in foster care, will maintain the site and provide editorial content.

“On behalf of New Yorkers For Children, we are proud to have funded this Web site, which has the potential to make a positive impact on the lives young people in foster care in New York City,” said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, Founder and President of the Board of New Yorkers For Children. “The Website, the first of its kind, will serve as an indispensable resource for youth who are aging out of foster care, as well as for the staff who serve them, by providing information on education, health clinics, employment, housing and other supportive services in the New York metropolitan area.”
“Youth Communication is very excited to have worked with Children’s Services and New Yorkers For Children to help teens make a successful transition to adult life,” said Keith Hefner, Executive Director of Youth Communication. “I'm especially pleased that many of the teens in our foster care writing program have contributed stories to the Website. Their stories give the site unmatched credibility and provide models for other teens who are struggling with the same issues--like graduating from high school, getting an apartment, and connecting to caring adults.”

Each year, nearly 1,200 youth in New York City “age out” of the foster care system, where they are eligible to remain until age 21. Just 20 percent of them are leaving to be reunified with their families or to be adopted.   

The new Website will also offer resources to the staff who assist these young people, and help the youth to identify other adult mentors. Among the features on the Website are:

  • Comprehensive legal information, which includes specifics on family court, the rights of youth in care, the juvenile justice system, and relations with police;
  • Special educational resources, including information about Educational Training Vouchers and resources to help teens and staff get the maximum benefit from special education;
  • Information on the Youth Financial Empowerment program, including how to access this program, which helps youth in foster care manage their money and promotes financial literacy.

In addition, the Website will link to Children’s Services Preparing Youth for Adulthood (PYA) Web page on the ACS site, www.nyc.gov/acs. This PYA initiative seeks to coordinate and strengthen the efforts of Children’s Services and its provider agencies to create positive outcomes for all NYC youth and those transitioning from foster care.

About New York City’s Children’s Services:
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, Children’s Services oversees the City’s programs of child protection, foster care, adoption, preventive services, child care and Head Start.

About New Yorkers For Children:
Founded in 1996 as an independent non-profit agency that could supplement the foster care system, New Yorkers For Children (NYFC) recognizes that children in foster care face a myriad of challenges and that so much is needed that cannot be provided with government funding. Due to its unique access to these children, NYFC’s private funds reach children in foster care in many ways including college scholarships, tutoring programs, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

About Youth Communication:

Youth Communication, founded in 1980, trains teens in writing and publishes their true stories in two magazines—one by urban high school students and one by teens who live in foster care. (Youth Communication also runs writing workshops for parents who are involved in the foster care system and publishes a magazine with their stories.) Total circulation of the magazines is 100,000. Youth Communication also has a Website that gets about 100,000 unique visitors a year.

Contact:
ACS Press Office: (212) 341-0999

 

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