Lawmakers Aim To Address Problems of Aging Out of Foster Care During a Pandemic

July 8th, 2020

Aging out of the foster care system can be a challenge under normal circumstances, but during a pandemic, it can be even harder. Now with COVID-19, hundreds of young adults who are aging out of the system and still struggling to find a job or a place to live, are now also at risk of losing their support system. Also, those who might have been able to bring their case to court were unable to since courts were closed during the height of the pandemic. Courts have only started to reopen over the last month.

Full article here.

New York City Foster Care Cancels Some Reform Efforts Due To Pandemic Funding Hit

July 3rd, 2020

This week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council approved a budget of just over $88 billion for the coming fiscal year, nearly four months into a coronavirus pandemic that created a $9 billion revenue shortage. The city’s foster care and juvenile justice agency, the Administration for Children’s Services, will see its smallest budget of de Blasio’s (D) two terms in office, with roughly $2.7 billion for the 2021 fiscal year, about 15% less than two years ago.   
 

Full article here.

Support Young People in Foster Care Beyond 21

Chronicle of Social Change

June 19, 2020

Op-ed by New York City Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner David A. Hansell shares below what New York City has been doing to support youth through extended foster care.

“No city or state across the U.S. should allow a young person to leave foster care, at any age, unless they have a stable and supportive living arrangement. And, the federal government should step in to provide states and localities with their share of funding for these youth in care over age 21, particularly during the pandemic. As we continue to face a world full of uncertainty, and added challenges, let’s make sure our most vulnerable young people — those who have been in foster care — have the support they need for as long as they need it. And especially during this crisis, we encourage other jurisdictions to follow our model and implement policies assuring that no youth leaves foster care without a place to call home.”

Op-ed here.

New York organizations urge Congress to act swiftly to address impacts on children and families caused by the Covid-19 pandemic

New York organizations are among more than 570 national, state and local organizations that are urging Congress for emergency child welfare support to address the COVID-19 crisis. Read letter here.

Assemblyman Andrew D. Hevesi, 28th A.D.
Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth
Bridge Builders Community Partnership
Children’s Defense Fund – New York
Citizens’ Committee for Children of NY
Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies
Empire Justice Center
Family Enrichment Network
JCCA
Kinship Care Support Initiative
Leadership Training Institute
NY Council on Adoptable Children
NYS AAP – Chapter 2
NYS AAP Chapter 3
NYS Kinship Navigator
Prince of Peace Church
Pro Action of Steuben and Yates, Inc
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
South Asian Fund For Education, Scholarship and Training
The Children’s Agenda
The Neighborhood Center, Inc.
We All Rise
Westchester Children’s Association

Prevention Services Can Help NYC Avoid a Feared Foster-Care Surge


June 10, 2020

City Limits

Headlines in New York and nationally echo a theme: “Child advocates fear uptick in child abuse cases,” “Coronavirus lockdown shields abused kids from watchful eyes,” “Prepare for surge of child abuse cases after quarantine.”  Calls to the child abuse hotline are significantly lower, likely due to mandated reporters like teachers not “laying eyes” on children as often.  If the expected post-COVID spike in child abuse and neglect reports does happen, it is quite likely that some of these children will be placed in foster care.

Full article here.

Foster Care Extension Proposed

Post-Journal – June 10, 2020
Legislation introduced recently in the state Assembly would establish a six-month moratorium on aging out of foster care. Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-Poughkeepsie, introduced A.10510 to add a new paragraph in the state’s Unconsolidated Law to require the state to continue providing the same care to youth and caregivers that would be provided had the youth not turned 18 years of age during the moratorium.

Full article here.

‘I just miss him:’ Coronavirus pandemic prolongs NYC mom’s fight to regain custody of toddler in foster care

June 1, 2020

New York Daily News

After more than a year apart, a New York City mom was finally on the verge of regaining custody of her 20-month-old son who’d been removed by children’s services as an infant and placed in a foster home.

Then coronavirus hit, shuttering the family courts, delaying a long-awaited visit, and stalling Maria’s case, her lawyers say. Maria’s son remains in foster care, while she watches the precious days tick by.

“I look around and I see all his little things, and it hurts with him not being here,” the distraught mom told the Daily News through tears.

Full article here.

Coronavirus pandemic increasing need for foster parents

May 26th, 2020

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The coronavirus pandemic has created an uncertain environment for foster care parents and children. Due to the risk of COVID-19, fewer foster parents are willing to take kids in fear for they have the virus. 

“I just would strongly encourage anyone who has ever had the thought of fostering, now is the time to take some action. It can really make a difference in the lives of kids,” said Albany County Legislator Jeff Perlee.

Read the story here.

NY Advocates and Service Providers Urge State Leaders to Address Child and Family Well-being

Advocates and service providers working with families impacted by the child welfare system write to Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Poole and urge the following action steps:

  • Enact a temporary moratorium on “aging out” of foster care
  • Provide COVID-19 Emergency Response Pay for foster parents, frontline staff and reunified families
  • Provide technology and support to ensure children and families remain connected:
  • Restore funding support for local kinship caregiver programs:
  • Ensure young people with current and previous foster care experience can access the benefits to which they are entitled
  • Address delays in permanency by making hearings essential business for Family Court
  • Ensuring kin and non-related foster families can be expeditiously approved as resource families:
  • Ensure all families can access necessary supports to maintain stability in the home

Read full letter here.

Youth in Care Need More Help Now (New York)

New York Daily News

Bronx: I am a 22-year-old honor roll college junior. I was on track to being one of the success stories of young people who leave foster care. Now, I’m not so sure.

I entered foster care for a year when I was two and re-entered at 13. At 17, my grandmother became my legal guardian. After I aged out at 21, I struggled with homelessness and a lack of support because my mother and grandmother passed away.

I work for a non-profit that focuses on the adoption of older teens in care who are about to age out of the system. I worry about them daily. I had a community. I was nominated to be the next president of my sorority. I’ve surrounded myself with support networks and adults I can depend upon during times of crisis.

Link here

Child Welfare Limbo: Covid-19 Puts Family Reunifications On ‘Indefinite’ Hold

March 30, 2020

The Center for New York City Affairs at the New School

In response to the spreading coronavirus, the City’s Family Courts have closed their buildings and dramatically reduced their caseloads. Judges are now holding hearings by phone and video, only on “essential/emergency” matters, according to a statement from the New York State Office of Court Administration, which did not respond to request for further comment for this story.

Link here.

COVID-19 Creates Deep Uncertainty in NYC’s Child-Welfare System

March 30, 2020

CityLimits

“New York City’s family courts went virtual last week but they are operating in triage mode with currently only one virtual court and a very limited number of judges. All but a tiny fraction of hearings have been officially adjourned for at least three months, but advocates for children and parents say that with an ever-growing backlog of cases, they’re concerned that the wait might be far longer, and that delays might keep families from reunifying not just for months but for years.”

Read here