NYU Silver

NEW YORK, NY – October 17, 2019 – The New York Foundling, one of the city’s oldest and largest social services providers, today announced that $60,000 in scholarships will be awarded to a group of five Master of Social Work (MSW) students at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work during the 2019-2020 academic year to encourage talented young people to pursue careers in social work and child welfare. It is the second consecutive year that The Foundling has provided such scholarship support for child welfare-focused NYU Silver MSW students.

The rising costs associated with graduate education can be a deterrent to students pursuing careers in the social services. These scholarships are intended to reduce some of that financial pressure and empower students with the drive and the desire to work in child welfare to pursue their passion.

“Social work is a rewarding, fulfilling career path that allows individuals to make a tremendous difference in the lives of the children and families who most need a helping hand on their journeys to stability, strength, and independence,” said Bill Baccaglini, President and CEO of The New York Foundling. “This scholarship lessens the financial burden associated with higher education and incentivizes motivated, purpose-driven students to be a part of this transformational work and be a positive force in their communities.”

The recipients of the scholarships, who are known as The New York Foundling Fellows, have also been assigned internships at programs run by The Foundling, with one each at The Foundling’s Crisis Nursery, Home of Integrated Health, Mott Haven Academy Charter School, Supportive Housing Program for Youth Aging out of Foster Care, and TFCO Program.

“We are grateful to The Foundling for this critical scholarship funding, which will support five future child welfare practitioners and leaders in pursuit of their career goals.” said NYU Silver Dean and Paulette Goddard Professor of Social Work Neil B. Guterman. NYU Silver is known for its excellence in clinical training and Dr. Guterman is himself among the School’s cadre of faculty experts in the area of child welfare. ”I am confident that The Foundling’s investment  will reap benefits not only for the fellows, but to numerous vulnerable children and families whom they will serve in the decades to come.”


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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 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, please visit www.nyfoundling.org.


About NYU Silver School of Social Work

NYU Silver School of Social Work provides a robust and engaging environment for the education of professional social workers, offering undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degree programs. The School serves as a major postgraduate training center for practicing social workers and offers master’s students intensive learning opportunities in family and children’s services, mental health, integrated health, substance misuse and co-occurring disorders, palliative and end-of-life care, restorative justice, and other innovative and emerging areas of social work. MSW students also have the opportunity to pursue global learning with NYU Silver programming in New York, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, and other cities around the world. Founded in 1960 and renowned for a strong tradition of excellence in direct social work practice and dedication to social justice, NYU Silver has provided rigorous training to over 18,000 social work practitioners and leaders in every area of the field. The School’s faculty are on the leading edge of scholarly research and address society’s most intractable problems with a focus on proactive approaches and preventive interventions that transform lives. For more information, please visit socialwork.nyu.edu.

Crisis Nursery

Affordable childcare is at once one of the most tantalizing promises of contemporary American life, and the most broken. Our modern economy cannot function without a system for the nurturing of our youngest citizens—as of 2017 there were nearly 15 million children under 6 in this country with all available parents in the workforce. But for everyone except the very wealthy, childcare is ruinously expensive.

Read more, including a mention of our Crisis Nursery, at TIME.

“Of the more than 25,000 children in foster care in New York state, some 3,500 are waiting to be adopted. But legislation that passed the state Assembly and Senate in June could make it much harder for these children to find permanent homes.

Introduced by Bronx Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner, the Preserving Family Bonds Act would let birthparents whose rights have been terminated by the court apply to visit their children. They would be entitled to a hearing to argue that their continuing contact is in the child’s best interest…”

Read more, including insight from our President & CEO Bill Baccaglini, at The Wall Street Journal here.

Written by Foundling Intern and Guest Blogger, Lattisha M.


The Foundling is proud to now operate and run the city’s Staten Island Community Partnership Program (which became official earlier this year!). Each year, the program hosts an annual Fatherhood Family Fun Day and Resource Fair. Saturday marked the 9th year of the event and hundreds of families attended, including adoptive parents and foster parents.


Over 40 community partners and city agencies participated and included the following organizations: Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC; Families on the Move of NYC, Inc.; Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Plus; The New York Public Library; Primerica Financial Service; RUMC Head Start, Literacy Inc; Healthcare Education Project; ACS’s Family Assessment Program and their Safe Sleep Initiative; Public Health Solutions Nurse Family Partnership Program; and CABS Homecare.  Thank you to these partners, and everyone else who joined us!


Resources and giveaways were distributed to families and kids—with special items for all of the dads and male role models who attended—and everyone enjoyed games and activities. New York’s radio station, Hot 97, also helped to promote this community event and encouraged attendance across all of Staten Island!


Other attractions during this signature event included a bounce house, face painting, a fitness demonstration, a magic show, and a presentation of an FDNY smoke house (and a demonstration on what to do in case a fire breaks out in your home). The Staten Island Zoo was also in attendance with their outreach table and live animals.


The New York Foundling officially became the backbone organization for the Staten Island Community Partnership Program (SICPP) to work in partnership with the New York City Administration of Children’s Services, Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships to support and strengthen opportunities for children, families, and multi-generational Staten Island residents.


Dozens of human services agencies and foundations, including The New York Foundling are asking Mayor Bill de Blasio for a $50 million boost to the budget for foster care next year. The funding would go toward full-time life coaches and tutors for current and former foster youth from middle school through age 26, a model that nonprofit foster care agencies say has shown promise for teens in their care.READ MORE

This article is part of a yearlong series examining higher education for youth in foster care, made possible in part by The New York Foundling. READ MORE

NBC New York’s Melissa Russo reports on The Foundling’s Child Abuse Prevention Program and its funding troubles.


The New York Foundling’s one-of-a-kind Child Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP) has been forced to scale back the number of in-school Child Safety Workshops for the remainder of the school year due to a lack of funding — a move the organization regretfully informed principals of on January 9.


“As a private, nonprofit agency, The Foundling can simply no longer sustain covering the $530,000 annual cost of the program without support from the Department of Education. As a result, we must significantly reduce the number of workshops scheduled for this semester,” the letter from Foundling leadership to elementary school principals explained.


The Foundling turned to the NYC Department of Education asking for much-needed help funding this highly impactful, life-saving program, but has yet to know whether they’ll back the program that ensures thousands of children’s safety.


NBC New York’s Melissa Russo has been following the story, and spoke with Bill Baccaglini, CEO and President of The Foundling, about the cuts — and the potential consequences. Due to the cancellations, he told Russo, more than 4,000 children across New York City schools will be missing out on age-appropriate education that would enable them to put an end to physical and sexual abuse.


That translates to roughly 60 children who could continue to be abused due to lack of education, Baccaglini and program director Marion White estimate in their letter to schools.


The program, which uses life-sized puppets in its workshops, has been at the forefront of child abuse prevention education since it began in 1986. Its Child Safety Workshops educate approximately 20,000 3rd and 4th grade students per year on inappropriate touch and how to speak with adults about suspected abuse. Last year alone, these in-school presentations resulted in 165 calls to New York State’s child abuse hotline.


While the future of CAPP is still uncertain, The Foundling is hopeful that negotiations with the city’s Department of Education will result in support for this unique program that protects children and puts their safety first.


Learn more below:

A Q&A on The Foundling’s website tells how Trystan worked his way through adversity as a teen to earn a master’s degree from New York University, where he then interned with the same organization that helped him as a foster care youth. READ MORE

Trystan, an interventionist with The Foundling’s STEPS (Strengthening, Teaching, and Educating People Through Support) foster care prevention program, has a longtime connection to The New York Foundling. As a teen, he spent time with The Foundling while he was in foster care.


Inspired to study social work, he beat the odds of many teens in care when he went on to college, eventually earning his master’s degree from New York University. During his last year of college, he interned with The Foundling’s Therapeutic Foster Care unit. Shortly after graduation, he found his way back to working with The Foundling. Today, he’s using a highly effective evidence-based family therapy model to help families in Staten Island tackle complicated familial challenges to avoid foster care placement.


Trystan answers a few questions about his personal journey and how it has influenced his work today.


Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in social work?


It definitely wasn’t my first choice when I started college. In high school it was kind of drilled into my head that college wasn’t for me.


During my junior year of college, I thought about what I would want to wake up every day and enjoy doing. I always enjoyed helping people.


What really sold me is when I had an internship with the Upward Bound (college prep program) working with the teen population. It was just being able to relate to some of the same issues and problems as them. I had a unique mindset compared to people who don’t know what it’s like to be in the foster care system.


Q: Statistics show that foster youth in America face additional challenges when it comes to graduating high school and pursuing a college degree. What was the toughest part of being a youth in foster care and navigating education for you, and what do you wish more educators understood about this population?


Education, for me at least, was the easy part. You do a paper and follow the directions and get a good grade. Life doesn’t follow that type of model. I think the hardest part for me was making the time for those studies. School systems plan for the youth’s future, but fail to acknowledge that the youth is focused on surviving the now. In retrospect, what sounds better? Going to a class to acquire a job 3 to 4 years down the line, or skipping that class to pick up a shift to put food on the table for yourself or any siblings you may have? It’s hard to plan for a successful future when the present is falling apart. I think educators need to understand that youth aren’t worried about 3 to 5 years down the line. They are focused on today and tomorrow to even be alive in 3 to 5 years.


This causes a multi-dimensional problem, but the educators that stuck with me were the ones that let me feel like I was in control of my life. They let me tell them what I wanted to do and found resources based off that. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter of the choice was a good or bad one. They supported my passions and took a step back for me to learn and make my own mistakes.


Q: How do you feel your personal experiences being a youth in care have influenced the way you work with families in your career today?


Since I’m not working directly working with teens in care (currently), it doesn’t always come up. But I do talk with parents who might be expressing and sharing certain emotions with the family, and without saying why, I can pick up on that emotion easier than others.


Q: What is most rewarding part of the work you do with The Foundling?


It’s definitely most rewarding when I work with a family and I’ve been addressing a very difficult case, and I leave the session feeling like a change was made. There’s less yelling, less negativity. Even when you see you’re actually making a difference to the family — maybe in the smallest of aspects — and you slowly see progress through the program, and it gets better and better. It’s rewarding when there are difficulties and (I think), “How do I address that using different techniques with different families?”


In addition to working with The Foundling as an interventionist, Trystan is a published poet. He aspires to be an advocate for teens in the foster care system, and he volunteers his time with the Foster Youth Heroes program at City University of New York.


Related posts:

On December 21, The Chronicle of Social Change published a joint op/ed by New York Foundling President & CEO Bill Baccaglini and SVP of Evidence-Based Programs Sylvia Rowlands about the imperative for child welfare service providers to implement proven evidence-based treatments and interventions to improve the lives of the children and families they serve. To read the piece in full, please see Doing What Works: Measure Success of Child Welfare Programs With Hard Data below.


Child welfare professionals strive every day to keep children safe, to keep families healthy and together and break multi-generational cycles of maltreatment. More than 3 million new cases of child abuse and neglect are reported every year in the United States and more than 400,000 children are in foster care at any given time. The financial cost to our society is enormous.


We now have a moral imperative to recognize decades of hard data, from multiple studies covering hundreds of thousands of children and families, showing compelling evidence that a different approach can improve outcomes. Evidence-based treatments and interventions have been documented, studied, subjected to clinical trials and reported on for decades. This research demonstrates clearly, with hard data, that evidence-based practices in child welfare interventions are more effective than traditional treatment methods. Child welfare service providers can now save more lives than ever before with the rigorous and diligent application of these strategies.


But change – even when it represents assured improvements – is often met with resistance. When Joseph Lister began promoting the idea of sterile surgery and the use of antiseptics 150 years ago, many in the medical profession stubbornly refused to acknowledge the effectiveness of this new concept. They acted offended at the suggestion that the surgical techniques and approach to patient care they’d used throughout their careers could be improved upon.


Well established clearinghouses have developed a clear definition for what constitutes “evidence-based.” We need to respect and follow that definition. Programs must be validated through multiple well-designed, rigorous scientific evaluations and produce data that show systematic and sustained improvement. Importantly, the results, procedures and protocols must be transparent and the program and its outcomes must be replicable.


As a result, shifting to an evidence-based model requires planning, training, staff support, oversight and, in some cases, a significant cultural change within the organization. So perhaps the resistance should come as no surprise, even if it is unsupported by years of research and data.


Some child welfare professionals believe that these practices will not translate to their unique populations, or that social work practices cannot be broken down into metrics, measured, and replicated with rigid adherence. We hear a continual refrain of: “My kids are different,” “my community is different,” “my situation is different,” “families are not all the same” and “we are not robots.” We hear this without ever seeing data explaining why evidence-based practices would be any less applicable to their families than they have been with over 300,000 others.


Still others, regrettably, are bound by inertia. They have always done things a certain way. They have anecdotes describing the many lives saved and families strengthened over their careers. Some hear recommendations for change as criticism of their past practices. The idea that they could achieve better outcomes if they worked differently is uncomfortable.


We have had the opportunity to review results from a study of 3,825 families who received services in the form of an evidence-based practice known as Family Functional Therapy/Integrated Clinical Case Management (FFTICCM). Compared to usual care, these families completed treatment faster and required fewer contacts with case workers, therapists and other staff. These families were 72 percent more likely to meet all of their established treatment goals and, in high risk families, 72 percent less likely to have a case closed with an out-of-home placement.


Despite the fact that the families referred to these programs had higher rates of prior abuse allegations, domestic violence and substance use, the results were impressive, with 49 percent fewer families experiencing negative outcomes (transfers, out-of-home placements, higher service needed) and 50 percent fewer families still in service after a year. Perhaps most impressive, these families were 82 percent less likely to have repeat maltreatment allegations three years post-treatment.


It is heartening to see the federal government, in the recently enacted Family First Prevention Services Act legislation, underscore the importance of evidence-based practices by requiring their use. Ultimately, though, the effectiveness of any legislation or governmental requirements will depend on how evidence-based practices are defined – whether they require programs to be truly evidence-based or allow looser definitions that encompass a wide array of other programs.


That particular debate – over what constitutes “evidence-based” – has picked up steam in recent years and has been troubling. Some organizations might seek to alter proven evidence-based programs. Others wish to consider evidence-based practices as a guide and adapt them to account for community, cultural or other population differences. But whatever programs are adopted, to be truly evidence-based, they must include a rigorous clinical evaluation process, time frames and complete and transparent reporting of results – so they can be reviewed by government agencies and peer organizations. Those are the kinds of requirements to which we all need to adhere.


Years of studies clearly show the effectiveness of these practices in achieving goals through a range of complex and multifaceted situations. Simply put, they can help us save children and keep families together.


Public funders and foundations alike increasingly want to see evidence of successful outcomes in programs they support. While this is not the central reason to adopt them – our mission is the central reason – for those of us who are always cognizant of the gap between funding and the services we provide, it is a tangential, but important added benefit of these programs.


Evidence-based programs are one of the most important developments in the practice of child welfare in decades. They will help all of us more predictably achieve our primary objective: the safety and well-being of children and the preservation of their families.