Staten Island, Conrad N. Hilton Foundations, New York Community Trust, and More Launch Campaign to Make NYC First in Nation to Offer Long-Term Support for Foster Youth
Dozens of human services agencies and foundations in New York City are asking Mayor Bill de Blasio for a $50 million boost to the budget for foster care next year. The funding would go toward full-time life coaches and tutors for current and former foster youth from middle school through age 26, a model that nonprofit foster care agencies say has shown promise for teens in their care.
The hope is to expand the program citywide and help a particularly at-risk group within this population: youth in their late teens and early twenties who will age out or have aged out of the system without having found a permanent home.
“The transition to adulthood is challenging for any young person. For kids who grow up constantly switching from one foster home to the next without anyone to lean on, the journey to adulthood is even harder,” said Councilman Stephen Levin, chair of the Committee on General Welfare, in a release sent out this morning by the new coalition. “New York City is the closest thing these young people have to a guardian and we have a responsibility to offer them the support they deserve. Expanding the ‘coaching model’ not only gives foster youth the chance to succeed, but also curbs homelessness and strengthens our local communities.”
Young adult foster youth receive a patchwork of education, health and housing support right now. But no universal, sustained mentoring and guidance through that world exists for the 600 or 700 youth who age out of the system each year without being adopted or returned to their parents. Of the 646 youth who aged out in 2017, most of whom were 21 years old, only 32 percent had a verifiable source of income, and only 22 percent had a high school degree or equivalent, according to a recent city report...