Foundling Nurses

At The Foundling, we appreciate and value the team of nurses who care for children and people with developmental disabilities each and every day – but during this year’s National Nurses Week, we’re recognizing this essential segment of our workforce over the turbulent events of the past 15 months.

Nurses have always been an integral part of The Foundling—from our early days, when we operated a pediatric hospital and nursing school – to now. And while our services have evolved, this legacy of care continues with our nurses today.

Hisa Konna

The reach and scope of what nurses at The Foundling do is far-reaching.  In our four medical clinics across New York City, nurses provide routine care for the young people in our foster care programs. In our residential program for adults with developmental disabilities, nurses make regular visits across the City and surrounding counties to direct and monitor the health and medication regiments of the adults living in our 104 residences. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the role and work of our nurses even more important – and they have gone to great lengths in helping our program participants move forward during this unprecedented health crisis.

For our healthcare professionals and frontline staff at The Foundling, the past 15 months have been a true test of dedication. COVID-19 presented many challenges to providing patients with high-quality and compassionate care, but our nurses’ strong Foundling values and commitment to our mission drove them to continue their vital work– even when this required them to take extreme precautions to balance their work and personal lives.

Kendra, a nurse practitioner in the Bronx, continued to treat children at Foundling medical clinics during the pandemic – all while carrying a baby of her own. “I found out I was pregnant a bit before the start of the pandemic,” she says. From exchanging shifts, providing car rides to work, and being available for emotional support, her team rallied around her, providing care and compassion to ensure that she and her growing family was safe.

At the same time, Jolene showed true strength and determination as a nurse supervisor in our group residences for people with developmental disabilities. In the early weeks and months of the COVID outbreak in New York City, PPE and other protective gear was difficult to obtain—yet Jolene worked on the frontlines each and every day, committed to keeping the people in our care safe. Jolene tirelessly supported the residents with their health needs, provided comfort to their loved ones, and showed strength when infections began to show up in the workplace. When the virus hit even closer to home, and Jolene and her son contracted the coronavirus, her caring staff continued to be in contact and helped her pull through the tough times. Now, as the city begins to reopen, Jolene sees light at the end of the tunnel – and is proud and grateful for the resilience of her nursing team and the relationships she’s built along the way.

As many across our community look to thank nurses this week, we celebrate our Foundling nurses—both past and present—for the commitment, compassion, and care they provide to those we serve.

Wine Bottle

Each year, City Winery creates an exclusive wine to benefit our shared community, with a percentage of proceeds donated directly back to The Foundling.  Just in time for summer, our wine is returning with two great ways to show your support: order We Are Intertwined, a 2019 “Rosé of Press,” in select New York City restaurants – or purchase online to enjoy at home!

Learn more here


Bronx Times reports the recent Bronx “No Hit Zone” campaign, spearheaded by Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and community leaders including Dr. Mel Schneiderman, Aenior Vice President of The Foundling’s Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection.  As part of the campaign, a variety of stores in the area known as the Hubwhere East 149thStreet, Willis Avenue and Third Avenue meethave agreed to be designated “No Hit Zones.

Read more at Bronx Times

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The Bronx District Attorney’s Office has announced a new “No Hit Zone” awareness campaign to help reduce child abuse in the borough.

As Dr. Mel Schneiderman, Senior Vice President of our Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection stated in the press release, “The New York Foundling is thrilled to participate in the No Hit Zone initiative and commends the Bronx DA’s office in their efforts to create an environment of safety for children and families. The New York Foundling has been dedicated to protecting and supporting New York’s children for over 150 years. Through our Fontana Center for Child Protection, we work tirelessly to reduce child maltreatment, and are involved with many local and national efforts to reduce the reliance on and use of corporal punishment. We are proud to partner with other agencies and offices across the city to work toward this mission.”

Read the full press release here

Supportive Housing

Nandini Ahuja, MSW, a licensed therapist in our School Based Mental Health program, discusses the long-term mental health impacts that the past year may have on young people in our community.

“Since March 2020, my colleagues and I have worked day and night in partnership with parents, teachers, principals, medical experts, caregivers, and other trusted leaders to make sure students stay afloat. And what I can say is this: every adolescent and young adult has felt the negative and harsh impact of this horrific pandemic, and regardless of how they have coped for the last 12 months, they will face further challenges in their return to normalcy, whatever that may look like,” she writes.

Read more at MedPage Today

Ruth Gerson, MD – Senior Vice President of Mental Health Services at The Foundling – was named one of City & State’s 2021 Nonprofit 40 Under 40 Rising Stars!

Read about her successes below:

After working in the children’s psychiatric emergency room at New York University Langone Health for many years, Ruth Gerson says she transitioned to The New York Foundling because she wanted to prevent the kinds of crises that were landing kids in the emergency room.

When she joined The New York Foundling, Gerson started out supervising the psychiatric services for children in foster care and has since helped oversee the organization’s clinic in East Harlem that provides resources for children not in foster care as well.

“It’s not just ‘Come into my office for 45 minutes a week and I will support your child.’ It’s let me support the whole system that’s surrounding you and all of the places that you go,” says Gerson, who describes the organization’s approach as holistic.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Gerson says The New York Foundling has expanded its grief services and provided more services available directly within the community.

“We went from being an organization that had done almost no telehealth, to providing almost all of our services via telehealth in an incredibly short amount of time,” Gerson says.

Outside of her work with The New York Foundling, Gerson has co-edited two books, “Beyond PTSD: Helping and Healing Teens Exposed to Trauma,” and “Helping Kids in Crisis: Managing Psychiatric Emergencies in Children and Adolescents.” Gerson also teaches at NYU School of Medicine, where she is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Read more on City & State

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The New York Foundling was awarded contracts by the NYC Administration for Children’s Services to operate services within its Family Assessment Program, beginning July 1, 2021. We are proud to partner with ACS in providing support to families in our community, and to add our voice to the press release below: 

ACS “Family Assessment Program” Provides Support to Families With Young People In Crisis, Including: Truancy, Substance Misuse, Behavioral Challenges & Others

NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) today announced the organizations selected for awards to operate the Family Assessment Program (FAP). FAP provides support and interventions to families with youth who are at risk of out-of-home placement and present with behavioral challenges, such as: truancy, antisocial or criminal activities, substance misuse and other behavioral and mental health challenges. Each year, FAP serves approximately 3,500 families.

ACS selected five organizations for fifteen contracts: Children’s Aid, The Children’s Village, Community Mediation Services, JBFCS and New York Foundling.

“We understand the many challenges parents face when raising teenagers, and we want to be sure they receive the support they need to address adolescent behaviors,” said ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell. “Through the many services and supports, the Family Assessment Program helps to strengthen and further improve the lives of New York City’s families. These efforts – especially during the pandemic – are part of our mission to help families stay safely together.”

“Keeping teenagers at home, with family or with adults who love them, in school and engaged in community is the right approach,” said President and Chief Executive Officer at The Children’s Village, Jeremy Christopher Kohomban, Ph.D. “We are thrilled to partner with ACS in this very important effort.”

“Today’s teens are facing myriad challenges brought upon by the pandemic and remote learning, compounded by the impact of racial injustice that youth and families of color, particularly Black male teens, routinely face.” said Executive Vice President at Children’s Aid, Georgia Boothe. “Through the Family Assessment Program, we can bring much-needed crisis intervention strategies and family therapy to support teens by addressing trauma, preventing truancy, reducing and preventing involvement in the justice system, as well as increasing family communication and functioning. We are proud to partner with ACS in this work to ensure we can help youth and families learn and grow.”

“The New York Foundling is proud to provide evidenced-based preventive services to communities across the city as part of the Family Assessment Program,” said Senior Vice President of Child Welfare and Behavioral Health at The New York Foundling, Shannon Ghramm-Smith. “These services will ultimately decrease the family to child welfare pipeline, and the juvenile justice to criminal legal system pipeline. We look forward to working with ACS as we partner together through and beyond the pandemic, and will continue to think critically on innovative approaches to service delivery and continuing efforts to broaden tele-health and tele-care into our work.”

FAP plays a key role in fulfilling ACS’ ongoing commitment to improving outcomes for adolescents by connecting youth and families to appropriate interventions in times of crisis. ACS implemented FAP in 2002 to divert adolescents at risk of out-of-home placement through Family Court via the Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) process. FAP and the providers of these services work to resolve crises, stabilize families, and connect youth to the support they need. They also offer caregivers the skills and tools they need to provide the guidance and structure that promote adolescent success. FAP has significantly reduced the number of youth entering foster care via the PINS process. In 2019, FAP prevented a PINS foster care placement for 98% of the families served. Approximately, 3,500 families accessed the FAP program and only 70 youth entered foster care through the PINS process.

Families who engage with FAP have youth that are generally between the ages of 11 and 18 years old, with the majority between the ages of 14 and 17. Some youth may have previous involvement with the juvenile justice system; and many may face several challenges, including truancy, illegal substance use, curfew noncompliance, negative behavior among peers, mental health concerns and absence without permission. In many instances, parents may need support in order to strengthen their ability to manage adolescents who are presenting with challenging behaviors, including their capacity to provide appropriate supervision and discipline.

The recently announced awards for FAP programs offer a continuum of service interventions targeted for families. The models procured in the current FAP Request for Proposals include:

  • Family Stabilization (FS) programs that provide services tailored to the needs of families and children through case management, resource navigation, service referrals, parenting skills, and support with concrete needs, as well as regular in-home assessments of child safety and well-being. Within a 90-day period, staff support family members as they collectively develop a plan.
  • Functional Family Therapy (FFT) provides therapy in the home with family therapy intervention for the treatment of violent, criminal, behavioral, school, and conduct problems with youth and their families. Both intra-familiar and extra-familial factors are addressed. Therapy takes place over an intensive four-month period including 30 one-hour therapeutic sessions.
  • Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) includes clinical features, such as enhanced use of motivational interviewing and skills-building with caregivers to increase impulse control and decrease dysregulation; high sense of urgency regarding child safety through weekly and long-term goal-setting and enhanced safety assessment protocols. Therapists visit the home multiple times per week and are available by phone 24 hours a day.
  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) is a brief family intervention for children and youth with serious behavior problems and/or drug use. The intervention works well for families with behavior management challenges and problematic relationships. The intervention identifies patterns of family interaction and improves them to restore effective parental leadership and involvement with the youth. The treatment takes place in a combination of in-home, in-school and in-clinic sessions over the course of two to five months.

In addition to the recently procured models, the FAP program also continues to provide the Mentoring and Advocacy Program (MAAP) and Respite care. MAAP is an individualized strength and advocacy-based program that provides wraparound supports for youth between the ages of 12 and 18. Each youth is matched with a mentor whose focus is to provide guidance in developing better self-esteem, creating healthy relationships and making positive life choices. Respite Care is a non-mandated program where a family agrees to engage in services while the youth is temporarily placed in a foster home for 21 days.

ACS is committed to delivering services in a socially just and culturally competent manner. As part of the award process, the organizations selected to deliver FAP services are required to implement strategies to address equity. For instance, strategies may include: establishing a racial equity committee within the organization, conducting ongoing assessments of equity, developing strategies to address equity in hiring practices and more. Organizations are also required to adhere to ACS’ policies regarding the equitable and sensitive treatment of Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their families. Additionally, services through FAP are provided through staff who are responsive to the culture and character of the population served and are fluent in the languages spoken by participating youth and family members. Staff are also trained in balancing the task of delivering information to families while being responsive to their cultural beliefs and immediate circumstances.

For more information or to learn about the FAP services go to Family Assessment Program.

Our passionate and diverse Junior Board is united by their shared commitment to support The Foundling’s work, and is dedicated to volunteering their time with the children, adults, and families we serve across New York City and surrounding counties.  As we celebrate National Volunteer Week this year, we spoke with Greg Novick and Anna Liu from our Junior Board. These members helped devise a unique way to give back virtually when in-person opportunities were put on hold because of the pandemic. Below you’ll read about their experiences and the long-lasting impact they’ve made for some of the teenagers in The Foundling’s programs.

“This has been a challenging year on many levels,” said long-time Junior Board member Greg Novick. Involved since 2018, Greg is now in a leadership role within The Foundling’s Junior Board. “The circumstances surrounding 2020 and beyond have forced us to change the way we work together. Thankfully, the Junior Board has discovered effective ways to navigate these circumstances and continue to push towards our mission of helping those in need. Shifting to all virtual meetings has enabled us to consistently discuss ideas and stay in touch.”

For Anna Liu, who joined The Foundling’s Junior Board this year, her experience has only been virtual,  but she quickly felt The Foundling’s warmth, inclusivity, collaborative spirit, and dedication to responding to the needs of our community. “Everyone is so proactive and willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved.  The Foundling has been a leader in finding special and creative virtual opportunities for each of us to give back,” she said.

One of these inventive opportunities is The Foundling’s “Career Corner” – an ongoing schedule of virtual career-focused events created to engage young people in our Mentored Internship Program.  Greg and Anna both participated in this initiative and found it extremely rewarding.

Greg Novick

Greg spoke to five teenagers about his career journey, which has led him to work for Major League Baseball! “I shared the importance of networking, making an effort to meet new people and offering your help to others in a professional setting. You never know when an exciting opportunity can present itself and people remember when you pay it forward. I was impressed with the thoughtful questions asked by the participants and was happy to share my own experiences and any welcomed advice. I serve on the Junior Board because I want to leave an impact on the lives of young people and help steer them on a path to success. Contributing my time was really rewarding.”

Anna Liu

“I want to support and empower young people in The Foundling’s programs to follow their passions,” said Anna. “And, it’s okay to sometimes feel discouraged by the intimidating world of internships, jobs, and networking – but it’s important to continue being your best advocate and persevere. I discussed the significance of building a strong personal brand through professional engagements and platforms like LinkedIn with the students in the Mentored Internship Program. I can relate to entering the workforce as a young person. It wasn’t that long ago that I was in their position, wishing I participated in more events like these for encouragement. It felt exciting to answer questions about my career and offer advice as they embark on their professional journey.”

On local television channel BronxNet’s Bronx Social Justice and Anti-Violence Forums, our CEO and President Bill Baccaglini sat down with host Daren Jaime to discuss The Foundling’s juvenile justice and mental health programs.  Watch the interview below:

Read more on BronxNet

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New York, NY (April 19, 2021) – The New York Foundling is proud to announce the opening of a first-of-its-kind training and resource center in partnership with New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The Strong Families and Communities Training Center (SFC Training Center), which officially opened its doors in October of 2020, provides workshops for front-line social service workers across three core areas: training and technical assistance, implementation support for evidence-based practices, as well as coalition building and community engagement. These areas equip, support, and train both service providers and community members with best practice techniques and date-driven approaches to positively impact the communities they serve across The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.

The Center is grounded in the Communities that Care organizing model, an evidence-based framework that elevates community voice to see strengths in a community and have community picked services. In the difficult time of COVID, a key goal of the SFC Training Center is to train CBO family-serving staff in evidence-based parenting models to better serve parents, communities and families who are experiencing a great deal of stress.

“We are proud to be able to share our evidence-based best practices with social service workers and community organizers across other New York City-based agencies and organizations,” said Elizabeth Tremblay, Assistant Vice President at The Foundling and Director of The Foundling’s Strong Families and Communities Training Center.

“Opening The Strong Families and Communities Training Center in partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is a critical step toward ensuring that The New York Foundling’s incredible work reaches every corner of the city. Importantly, we are thrilled to be building on The Foundling’s 150-year-long legacy of helping communities thrive and reach their full potential,” added Shannon Ghramm-Smith, Senior Vice President of Child Welfare and Behavioral Health at The New York Foundling.

The SFC Training Center’s unique approach includes open trainings that are based on community feedback and listening sessions to discuss training needs and topics to better serve families. Featuring expert peers with years in the field, the SFC Training Center adapts their programming to ensure the information is applicable and helpful for the peer workforce.

“The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is proud to partner with The New York Foundling on this important effort,” said Dr. Myla Harrison, Acting Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “Strengthening the capacity of front-line staff to deliver high quality services to parents/caregivers and families in our communities will help promote children’s mental health and well-being.”

The SFC Training Center, which aims to train and upskill workers outside of The Foundling’s own staff, marks a new chapter for the organization’s robust set of social services helping children, families and people with developmental disabilities. By equipping practitioners from other agencies and organizations with their time tested and proven approaches to social services, The Foundling continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to broadening its impact on communities across the city outside of just its own services. To date, The SFC Center has trained over 200 care workers across various agencies and organizations in New York City.


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 individuals 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