Nancy and Desiree DD

Each day, The Foundling works to ensure that those we serve have the resources to reach their fullest potential – and this is extremely evident in our programs for people with developmental disabilities.  These programs are rooted in the belief that people of all abilities – given proper support and encouragement – can become thriving members of their communities.

We are excited to highlight our Residential Services, Day Habilitation, and Employment Services programs in our latest promotional videos. Watch the videos below for an overview of each service, and hear from staff and participants about their experiences.

Residential Services:

Day Habilitation:

Employment Services:

NYF Huggie Rectangle

New York, NY (July 20, 2021) – The New York Foundling will be establishing a new Center for Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice, with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is a national agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides awards to nonprofit organizations nationwide through a highly competitive application process.

The Center opens in the fall with the goal to improve mental health outcomes for children who have experienced emotional and physical trauma. The Center will offer Trauma Systems Therapy (TST), a research-backed, proven therapy for children and families who have experienced trauma; will offer trainings and consultation for partner agencies across New York City’s child welfare system; and will test the effectiveness of TST and share those findings and best practices through the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative network. Children and families already receiving services with The Foundling will be able to take advantage of the new center and all that it has to offer—and through ongoing trainings to mental health providers, more and more social service agencies will be equipped to provide the TST model to their constituents.

“By equipping mental health providers from peer organizations with these time tested and proven approaches to mental health treatment and social services, more and more children and families in our community will be able to move past the trauma they’ve previously experienced and look forward to a stronger and more stable future,” said Bill Baccaglini, President and CEO of The Foundling.

“We are thrilled to launch The Center for Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice which will enable The Foundling to provide research-backed treatment, care, and support to children and their families across our community.” said Dr. Ruth Gerson, Senior Vice President for Mental Health Services at The Foundling. “We have been using Trauma Systems Therapy for years in our foster care program, and we have seen the way it can be transformative for youth and families. We’re eager to expand access to TST through our Center and to begin training other mental health practitioners to implement this model of treatment into their work.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health and wellbeing of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities, and the grants that they award support the highest-caliber programs designed to prevent and treat mental health challenges and substance abuse disorders.

About The New York Foundling

At The New York Foundling, we trust in the potential of people, and we deliberately invest in proven practices. From bold beginnings in 1869, our New York based nonprofit has supported a quarter million of our neighbors on their own paths to stability, strength, and independence. The New York Foundling’s internationally recognized set of social services are both proven and practical. We help children and families navigate through and beyond foster care. We help families struggling with conflict and poverty to grow stronger. We help people with developmental disabilities live their best lives.  And we help children and families access quality health and mental health services core to building lifelong resilience and wellbeing. For more information about The New York Foundling, please visit www.nyfoundling.org.

Welcome Camp Felix

In an op-ed for MedPage Today, The Foundling’s Joseph R. Saccoccio, MD,  Chief Medical Officer, and Ruth Gerson, MD, Senior Vice President for Mental Health Services, share how summer camp is extremely beneficial to children and teenagers – and after strict COVID-19 restrictions, the structure, social interactions, and new experiences of camp are more important for young people than ever.

Read more at MedPage Today

Bianca and her Family

The Foundling operates 44 Head Start and Early Head Start Centers across Puerto Rico, reaching nearly 1,500 students and families each year. From hurricanes and earthquakes to the pandemic, their spirit, determination, and drive remain strong. Learn about the impact the program has had on Bianca – one of our parents – and how she went from benefiting from Foundling services to volunteering on the parent council of Head Start.


“Parents are the teachers in the long run,” noted Betzaida Gonzalez, Child Development and Education Manager, “and now more than ever, we are walking hand in hand with students, parents, grandparents, and extended families. We’re giving them not only the school supplies and household essentials they’ve needed throughout the pandemic, but also serving as a foundation of support.”

For many families, including Bianca’s (featured in the photo above), the ongoing phone calls, text messages, emails, and support from Head Start teachers and staff this year has represented yet another instance of how The Foundling has continually provided her and her family with the ability to stand tall in times of uncertainty.

Bianca, now a mother of three, came to The Foundling’s Early Head Start Center in San Juan when she learned she was pregnant with her first son, Kermitt. She received pre-natal guidance and encouragement throughout her entire pregnancy, and when her son was born, received support and resources she needed as a new mom.

She later returned to The Foundling’s Head Start Center with questions and concerns about Kermitt and meeting all of his developmental milestones. Working in partnership with Head Start specialists, Bianca learned that Kermitt had mild attention deficit challenges. Kermitt began to receive the services and help he needed to succeed in school. Now 10 years old, Kermitt is on the Honor Roll in school, and Bianca’s two younger daughters are currently receiving support and services through Head Start as well – and throughout the pandemic, they’ve enjoyed participating in video lessons and home-based projects.

Bianca’s children are thriving today—and she is too. In fact, Bianca has become an assistant teacher in her community and remains involved with The Foundling as the Secretary of the Head Start Parent Council.


Want to learn more? Read recent updates on our Head Start and Early Head Start programs:

Sophia M.

The New York Botanical Garden is a long-time partner with The Foundling, providing inclusive opportunities to participants in our Employment Services program. As volunteers in the garden’s Edible Academy, Foundling participants learn best principles for organic gardening, general maintenance, propagation, and more – learning useful job skills to aid in their long-term career journey.

In celebration of Disability Pride Month, two Foundling participants – Sophia M. and Adeola O. – shared their reflections on their volunteer experience with New York Botanical Garden’s staff. “My experience was one of the best things I have done,” says Adeola.

Read more at New York Botanical Garden

Curet Family

MST Services’ latest blog post shares the evolution of their therapy and treatment model for young people and families in New York City, and highlights The New York Foundling’s role in implementing the new MST-Prevention model across four boroughs over the past year.

“I am so thankful to be able to collaborate with the therapists on my team and use the MST model in my caseworker role,” shared Laura Valencia, a Family Resources caseworker at The Foundling.

Read more at MST Services

News 12

News 12 recently highlighted Foundling foster parents Jason Knight and Liron Prioleau. When looking to start a family, the couple were drawn to becoming foster parents.  “It hit home because there are so many. We learned there are so many kids in foster care that just needed a safe space to be,” Prioleau recalls.

They initially “chose to work with The New York Foundling based on…their openness to LGBTQIA parents and their work with LGBTQIA youth,” said Knight. Their family now includes their two sons, who were adopted through The Foundling, and their biological sister, who they are currently fostering.

Watch the video report and read more on News 12.


Haven Academy 2021 Graduation

Haven graduates celebrate with the traditional toss of their caps

Last Thursday, students, families, teachers, and staff from Mott Haven Academy Charter School came together for an in-person graduation ceremony for its middle school graduates. Held on the outside grounds of the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx, students had the opportunity to celebrate together with their classmates and friends.

The ceremony featured an introduction from Head of School Jessica Nauiokas, remarks from Haven Middle Principal Sarah Touma, speeches from the class valedictorian and salutatorian, a Haven Kids Rock performance, and the distribution of awards and diplomas.

As Faith, one of the graduates, shared, “My time at Haven was overall a fun and amazing experience, and they did a good job teaching and educating us. I’m happy to be graduating, to move on…and start something new. I can pursue dreams that I really want to pursue.”

Watch the full graduation here:

Haley Wright

Haley Wright has always had a lot of love to share – and when she began volunteering with The Foundling eight years ago, she found that her heart expanded more and more. In honor of Foster Care Awareness Month, we’re highlighting her inspiring story.

While Haley had provided support to The Foundling and other social service organizations in the past, including foster care agencies, joining the Junior Board at The Foundling was a transformative experience. She delved into the work and served as Chair for three years. Through fundraising and event planning, Haley had the opportunity to meet participants across our programs and communities, and hear their stories firsthand. “There’s no distance, you get to love them up close,” she notes. And again and again, she was inspired by what she saw.

“The young people I saw at Camp Felix, the students performing in Haven Kids Rock, the way The Foundling helps children succeed and attain success – it made me want to give children in foster care a feeling of belonging and acceptance, and to show them that they have value in the world,” Haley says. Now, she is taking the next step in giving back: becoming a foster parent herself.

The decision to foster a child is not one to take lightly, but Haley is prepared. She’s been considering sharing her home for years, but is now ready to take action. “This January, I decided that this would be the year, and rented a 2-bedroom apartment so I could get started,” she shares. She recently participated in the orientation class, and hopes to be fully licensed by this fall.

“I’m excited to provide a stable space for children to feel safe and loved,” Haley says. “I want to make sure they can decorate their own space – pick out a comforter for the bed, put artwork on the walls. This will be their home, and a reflection of themselves. I want them to know they will be loved for who they are – they won’t have to conform to an ideal, they can be themselves and know that they will be safe.”

“I know that it won’t always be easy, there will be hard parts and so many sensitivities, but I’m ready for it,” says Haley. “It feels like an honor to be part of the process and part of their story. I have so much to learn, and am excited to partner with The Foundling on this next step in my journey.”

Malyk Leonard Fair Futures

Malyk Leonard – one of our Road to Success tutors – spoke at a Fair Futures rally at City Hall on May 19, discussing the need to baseline funds for this important program.

“I help students go to college. I help students find jobs when no one else is willing to help them. I help students advocate for themselves. This is the reason why we need Fair Futures,” he says.

Watch the full video of his speech below: