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Press Release
February 13, 2008

New York’s Children’s Services Unveils New Supports for Teens in Crisis

Wachovia and Bright Horizons Create Bright Space for City’s Teens in Foster Care

Children’s Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly today unveiled a new Bright Space designed to support teen girls while they await placement in foster care. Bright Spaces are special rooms designed for youths experiencing crisis situations, providing them with a dedicated safe place in which to explore the world around them, filled with books, music and activities that are developmentally appropriate.

The Bright Space, which is New York City’s first for teens at ACS, was created through a partnership with the Wachovia Foundation and the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.

“Children who are awaiting placement in foster care need and deserve to have a place that gives them a respite from the difficult transition they are undergoing,” said Children’s Services Commissioner John Mattingly. “Creating this Bright Space at the Children’s Center will give these youths a place to relax in the brief time they remain at the Center, until they are assigned placement in foster care.”

The Bright Space at the ACS Children’s Center provides a place for teens to exercise their creativity, explore who they are, and pursue their hobbies, such as drawing, listening to music, creating unique hair designs in their own hair salon, or reading and writing. This Bright Space will serve teens, aged 12 to 18, who have been removed from their homes and are waiting placement in foster care.

 “We are inspired by this partnership with Wachovia and ACS to provide a special place for youth in need,” said Dave Gleason, President of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. “The teen years are a critical time to develop ambition and aspiration. Teens in crisis need a place where they can find the resources, the environment, and the inspiration they need to see a world full of opportunity and hope. Here in this Bright Space, we hope that creativity will grow and that talents will be discovered.”

A $100,000 grant from the Wachovia Foundation has funded twelve Bright Spaces across the country during 2007-2008. In addition to New York City, Wachovia employee volunteers are helping to build Bright Spaces in Charlotte, N.C.; Roanoke, Va.; Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; Ocala, Fla.; Lakewood, Trenton, and Paterson, N.J.; Birmingham, Ala.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Atlanta, Ga. Wachovia offers its employees access to high-quality child care and early education at or near the workplace, through Bright Horizons.

“At Wachovia, we are passionately committed to improving educational opportunities for young people, especially for those who may face challenges in their lives and may not otherwise get equal attention or resources,” said Jim Fitzgerald, Wachovia’s regional president for New York and Connecticut. “We believe that helping children succeed starts at the earliest ages. We are proud to be a part of creating this Bright Space, where children and teens can play, learn and grow.”

Bright Spaces Enable Youth in Crisis to Discover the Magic of a Safe Place

Studies have shown that children of all ages thrive when they have a safe place in which to explore the world around them. The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, the nonprofit organization of Bright Horizons Family Solutions, the leading provider of employer-sponsored child care, early education, and work/life solutions, established the Bright Spaces program to create appropriate learning areas for youth living in homeless shelters or experiencing other crisis situations.

About the Administration for 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. Information on Children’s Services is located at www.nyc.gov/acs.

About Bright Horizons Family Solutions and the Bright Horizons Foundation Children:
Bright Horizons Family Solutions operates more than 600 child care and early education centers across North America and Europe. Bright Spaces is a program of the nonprofit Bright Horizons Foundation for Children to create dedicated play and learning areas in homeless shelters. There are more than 160 Bright Spaces located in agencies in more than 30 states and around the country, serving more than 5,000 homeless children each month. More information is at www.brighthorizons.com/foundation.

About The Wachovia Foundation:
The Wachovia Foundation is a private foundation that provides grants to eligible 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations to support four primary focus areas: Education, Community Development, Health and Human Services and Arts and Culture. The mission of The Wachovia Foundation is to build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life and make a positive difference.

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

 

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