Children's Services and Citi Honor Graduates of the Financial Literacy Program for Youth In Foster Care
Youth Financial Empowerment Program Helps Young Adults Prepare for Financial Independence as They Transition Out of Foster Care System
New York, NY - The New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and Citi held a ceremony today at the Citibank Branch at 120 Broadway to honor participants in Youth Financial Empowerment (YFE), a comprehensive program that teaches young people in foster care, ages 16 to 21, how to manage money and prepare for financial independence. YFE was launched in July of 2008 by ACS with strong support and involvement from Citi.
"Today we recognize the successful youth who have made significant gains in this program," said Commissioner John B. Mattingly. "Their commitment to this program is commendable, but most importantly their commitment to building a future for themselves is tremendous. We look forward to helping more youth take control of their financial lives."
YFE is tailored to meet the unique needs of youth in New York City's foster care system. It offers classes that teach basic money management skills, such as budgeting, completing basic financial transactions, and managing credit. YFE also includes internship and mentoring opportunities, academic enrichment courses and access to housing. YFE was jointly conceived by Children's Services and Eileen Auld, Citi Community Development State Director for New York, who worked closely with the agency on the program's development.
"We are very excited to recognize the achievements of the young people in the Youth Financial Empowerment program," said Gina Doynow, National Director of Citi Community Development. "We are committed to helping people gain the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their personal financial goals. That's why we're so pleased to partner with Children's Services to help more young New Yorkers in foster care prepare for their financial futures and move up the economic ladder."
Upon completing financial education classes through YFE, youth can open an Individual Development Account (IDA) at Citi where they can save up to $1,000, which is matched by both public and private funds, $2 for every $1 saved. The funds can be used to acquire an asset purchase in the following categories including education, housing or microenterprise - provided that the young person successfully completes training in these areas.
Since YFE began, hundreds of youth in New York City's foster care system have graduated from the program better prepared for adulthood. Program achievements include:
- 116 youth have completed the 12 hours of financial education training;
- 90 youth have opened IDAs;
- 10 youth have reached their savings goal of $1,000 and;
- 20 youth have been placed in employment and internships with F?E?G?S Health and Human Services System.
For example, one youth used her YFE Individual Development Account (IDA) and matching funds to subsidize her education. Another YFE youth will graduate with his degree from John Jay College in just a few days and plans to attend law school. He used his asset purchase to reinforce his independence by furnishing his first apartment. While another youth used YFE funding to purchase a computer in order further her goal of becoming an early education teacher.
YFE is a public-private partnership of Children's Services, The Mayor's Center for Economic Opportunity, New Yorkers For Children, United Way of New York City, Wells Fargo, Citibank, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The US Department of Health and Human Services, Mentoring USA, F-E-G-S Health and Human Services as well as Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Children's Services Provider Agency partners.
About The New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS)
The New York City Administration for Children's Services protects New York City's children from abuse and neglect. Along with our community partners, Children's Services provides neighborhood-based services to help ensure children grow up in safe, permanent homes with strong families. To learn more go to www.nyc.gov/acs.
Citi, a leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140 countries. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at www.Citigroup.com or www.Citi.com.
Laura Postiglione, ACS, 212-341-0999
Andrea Hurst, Citi, 212-559-4767