Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed a series of bills into law that address the needs and issues of children in foster care. The bills require the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to report information related to youth in the foster care system on an annual basis. Specifically, Intro. 104-A, sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James, requires ACS to submit information on youth aging out of foster care, including housing, education, and employment outcomes. Intro. 137-A—sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm—mandates ACS to report on its efforts in obtaining government-issued personal identification for foster care youth. Lastly, Intro. 187-A, sponsored by Council Member Laurie Cumbo, requires that ACS provide information regarding high school enrollment and graduation rates for youth in foster care.
We at Graham Windham are very supportive of the Mayor’s focus on the well being of youth in foster care and appreciate that the Public Advocate, Committee on General Welfare, and the Administration for Children’s Services are committed to ensuring youth have the preparation, opportunity and support to reach their fullest potential in life.
As a City, we have an obligation to ensure they have the foundation for success. It starts with family, caring and permanently committed adults in their lives. It also includes high quality education, career preparation, trauma-informed counseling, and ongoing coaching and support into adulthood.
We must be careful to ensure our policies do not make youth choose between family and these essential supports. Too often, youth choose to remain in care and ultimately age out, rather than safely return to family or be adopted, because they lose access to treatment and eligibility for housing when they leave care. Doing right by young people who’ve come into the City’s care not at their own choosing requires that we guarantee these supports no matter the family circumstance and provide opportunity where it is needed most. When we do this, we will see our capable youth thrive and make us proud. We thank the Administration, Public Advocate and City Council for focusing on the success of young people in care and are excited to partner to bring Commissioner Carrion’s vision to reality.