Family and Community Support Services
As in all of our programs, the mission of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is to ensure children have safe, loving families and the opportunity in preparation to succeed in school and life. Family strengthening – helping families function in healthy ways to keep their children safe and thriving – is at the core of what we do at Graham Windham. We do this work with families at critical junctures in their lives, when they are struggling deeply to parent their children – from infants to adolescents – safely amidst a host of challenges.
To address these challenges, Graham Windham operates family strengthening programs in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx and a Youth Scholars program in Brooklyn for youth who are at risk of failure in school and incarceration. For children and youth who are or have been in foster care, who need intensive support, we offer a wide array of highly targeted interventions under the auspices of our Bridges to Health program. At our Manhattan Mental Health Center, families struggling with mental health issues receive services that promote positive behaviors and healing. At our Beacon sites in Harlem and the Bronx, we operate school-based programs for thousands of children and adults, centered around promoting successful adulthoods. Our services there include academic supports and guidance, youth development activities, mentoring relationships and summer jobs.
All in all, we have created a continuum of supports and interventions that help ensure children have strong families to grow up in and have the preparation and opportunity to succeed in school and life.
Our child welfare focused “Prevention Programs” are located in three of New York City’s highest risk communities, central Brooklyn, the Bronx (Hunts Point and Tremont), and Harlem. These programs help families care safely for the children while addressing underlying conditions that can lead to child abuse or neglect, such as parental depression, family stress, substance use or domestic violence. Using Solution-Based Casework, we actively work with parents to help them develop a more active, consistent and productive role in their child’s educational and social development; we encourage families to build connections to positive supports in their community who will help them sustain their progress. For referrals to our preventive services program, please click here.
Our Beacon After-School Programs
Graham Windham’s Beacon After-School programs are located in two of New York City’s neediest public schools, the Mahalia Jackson School in central Harlem, and Middle School 424 in Hunts Point, Bronx. Our programs provide a safe and academically enriching and challenging environment for over 1000 elementary and middle-school children. Children and youth receiving tutoring in English/language arts, science and math; other activities include art, drama, youth councils, a reading club, journalism, computer classes, fitness, sports, and competitive teams. This past year our robotics team placed 1st in a citywide challenge and our dance team advanced to finals in a citywide contest. We also assist kids with admission to competitive middle school, high school, and college programs. In the summer we run full-day summer camps and provide summer jobs for our youth.
Bridges to Health (B2H)
Graham Windham’s Bridges to Health program is part of a state-wide network of programs that primarily serve children in foster care who are diagnosed with serious emotional disturbances, including mood disorders, anxiety, ADHD, phobias, and oppositional defiance. The program also serves children with development delays and chronic health problems. Parents of children in foster care from all over New York City can choose to enroll their child with Graham Windham’s B2H program,, and can select from a menu of 13 home-based services including: crisis avoidance and management training, educational support and advocacy, skill building, respite, and employment services, among others. Our program sends a trained staff member into the child’s home or school to deliver the services. Unlike many other services, B2H stays with the child through her childhood, providing support even after the child returns home or is adopted. As a result, our kids who have experienced terrible hardship early in life are more likely to be stable in a loving home and to do better in school. Graham Windham is the second largest provider in the state. For B2H referrals, please click here.
Graham SLAM (Support, Lead, Achieve, and Model) is an innovative strategy we developed to provide young people in the foster care system, as well as those at risk for entering foster care, with long-term, consistent, and comprehensive support from high school, through college or vocational school, and all the way to a living-wage career. We have committed to sticking with young people until age 25, even after they are no longer in the child welfare system. Graham SLAM provides a continuum of intensive, structured supports, centered around a coaching model. Program components include:
- Ongoing Individual Support and Planning. Youth coaches work one-on-one with each young person to develop and follow a plan for reaching their educational and career goals. We use nationally recognized, evidence-supported models to engage and motivate young people, including Motivational Interviewing and Solution-Based Casework, a unifying framework we introduced to New York City and use agencywide.
- College Readiness and Support. We help students successfully complete high school, select the right college and program, apply for admissions and financial aid, and stay on track toward college graduation.
- Employment Readiness and Support. We provide job readiness training and career-focused peer support through a model called Career Club, and help students apply to and succeed in vocational programs, internships, and jobs.
- Family Support. We engage each young person’s family in the process of developing a plan for the young person and supporting the steps along the way.
- Peer Support. We provide for peer support through a weekly support group centered around a model called Network. We also provide leadership training, peer support, and community service opportunities through our Bengals positive peer group.
Graham Windham Mental Health
Graham Windham Mental Health provides quality mental health services to children and youth, and their caregivers. Our services address a range of mental-health related issues including behaviors that interfere with school success (inattention, hyperactivity, aggression, etc.) as well as child and adolescent depression, anxiety and ADHD. In addition to addressing and resolving behavior, a primary goal of our licensed clinical staff is to help our children, youth and families address and heal the trauma associated with child and youth maltreatment including physical and sexual abuse. We have a community mental health center in Harlem, and have also opened a satellite mental health clinic at our Bronx office. For referrals to our mental health services program, please click here.
The Safe Mothers, Safe Children Program
In 2008, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and the New York University Langone Medical Center established the ACS-NYU Children’s Trauma Institute, which seeks to use trauma-related knowledge to improve child welfare practice, and to help the child welfare system meet its goals on both the individual client and system levels. Since 2011, Graham Windham has been a proud partner in the Safe Mothers, Safe Children project. The project’s goal is to reduce the risk of child maltreatment among families receiving child welfare preventive services through identifying and treating mothers with trauma related disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. For more information about this partnership, please contact Ingrid Gonzalez at 718-294-1715 Ext. 0.