Entering the workforce is hard for all of us: the interview process can be daunting, and learning new tasks and adapting to new environments is often stressful. For people with developmental disabilities, it can be even more challenging.

“People with disabilities want to work, because working is the way that people are involved in their communities. They have more meaningful relationships, they have a better sense of personal freedom, and they’re more independent,” says Mia Joshi, The Foundling’s Education and Employment Services Coordinator. But while the general employment rate is 70%, only 30% of adults with developmental disabilities are actively employed.

People with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the nation, yet they are underemployed because of barriers beyond their control. This community often lacks access to targeted and specialized job resources and training, making it difficult to learn the ‘soft’ skills that are often overlooked by traditional employment programs. It can also be difficult to find accommodating employers, placing them at a disadvantage in the job hunt. Additionally, nearly 25% of adults with developmental disabilities report not having anyone in their life to talk to about their goals, and this lack of mentorship and guidance can further impede long-term success.

In The Foundling’s Employment Services program, our dedicated staff address these challenges head-on.  Participants are matched with a Job Coach who trains them in workplace skills and abilities– this often includes broader instruction in communicating, following directions, and more. The Foundling partners with a number of organizations and employers to place participants in meaningful volunteer work to gain experience, and to ultimately match them with fulfilling and competitively-paid job opportunities. Once they start working, participants receive long-term support to ensure that they continue to be successful.

Sophia M.

Sophia volunteering at the New York Botanical Garden

Sophia, who is working on pre-vocational skills training with Employment Services, has made great strides in her path toward independence as a result of the program. The Foundling has set her up with volunteer opportunities, such as working at the New York Botanical Garden, that have given her the chance to grow.

“I learned to listen to instructions to do things the right way…They are helping us to learn and gain employment. I used to get more frustrated but now I can communicate with people better,” she says.

Now, Sophia is learning to type and is finessing her communication skills, all in preparation for paid employment – and is excited about her professional future ahead.


Lowell at his new job

Lowell, another one of our Employment Services participants, recently took his first step into the working world. Since 2018, he has worked hard with our team to learn skills and prepare for employment. This summer, those efforts paid off!

Through The Foundling’s partnership with the Consortium for Customized Employment, which works to create a network of organizations and employers to expand work options for people with developmental disabilities, Lowell was able to find a job that fit with his skillset and aspirations.  He is now a Shake Shack team member, and is enjoying the autonomy, responsibility, and purpose that being part of the workforce brings.

This National Disability Employment Awareness Month, learn more about our Employment Services program in the video below:

Since October 11, 1869, The New York Foundling has worked to provide opportunities to children, adults, and families.  Throughout our 152-year legacy, thousands upon thousands of people have passed through our doors, and for many, The Foundling was a pivotal and transformational part of their lives.

In honor of our 152nd anniversary, we are excited to launch our new page, which brings together resources for Foundling alumni, adoptees, and descendants who are looking to learn more about their family history.

‘Connect to Your Foundling Roots’ includes information on requesting historical records, stories from adoptees and their descendants, historical resources and archival photos, and information about The Foundling – past and present. Whether you were in foster care, were adopted, trained as a Foundling baby nurse, or have relatives that rode the Orphan Train, we are committed to providing information and support as you explore your connection to The Foundling’s history.

Click here to visit our new page!

Fireside Chat Still

On Thursday, September 30, we livestreamed a special Fireside Chat featuring current President and CEO, Bill Baccaglini, and Melanie Hartzog, his successor, in conversation.

It was a wonderful discussion about the vital work that is done at The Foundling each day, and an opportunity to meet our incoming leader. Hartzog discussed her background and experience in child welfare, and shared her vision for continuing The Foundling’s legacy of supporting children, adults, and families across our five service areas – particularly as our community continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In case you missed it, the full video is available below.  

Team Foundling is in the midst of training, fundraising, and preparing for the 2021 TCS NYC Marathon! On Sunday, November 7, our nine runners will hit the streets for a 26.2 mile course through all five boroughs of New York City.

Read about each team member below, and learn how you can support them and The Foundling:

Dan EatroffDan Eatroff

Dan began long-distance running three years ago, and finds it a meditative act. He is excited to run his first marathon, while supporting our community! He’s been training for the past few months, and aims to finish the marathon in less than 4 hours.

“I became involved with The Foundling recently and was impressed with the array of services they offer to the foster care community,” he says. “I want to support The New York Foundling’s team because I can make a valuable difference and educate my network to expand the Foundling’s reach.”

Learn more and support Dan!

James Grasso

James Grasso 

James, who has been on our Junior Board since 2018, is excited to be a part of Team Foundling and to run the NYC Marathon!  “I started running in high school on my cross country team and realized I both loved running and wasn’t so bad either,” he says. “I continued running through college on both the cross country and track and field teams. I like how you can always compete against yourself and carefully track your progress.”

He is passionate about The Foundling’s mission, and has been looking at ways to support and raise money for our programs for quite some time.  “I was very lucky to grow up with all the resources I ever needed, but I realize that many New Yorkers are born into difficult situations – and need help in the form of money, education, support.”

Learn more and support James!

Michelle Hadley

Michelle Hadley

Michelle has been an avid runner since running Varsity Cross Country in high school. “Running is the best, totally free therapy. No matter what you’ve been through or what you’re going through right now, a run can help you clear your head and move past the tough stuff in a productive way. Plus, I love how much guilt-free eating I can do,” she says.

Michelle joined The Foundling’s Junior Board this year, and is excited to use this opportunity to fundraise for our programs. She last ran the NYC Marathon in 2019, and is looking forward to beating her time and raising more money this year. “The only thing that gets me to run a marathon is a good cause, she shares. “It’s the perfect combination of two things I love passionately – giving back and running my heart out!”

She encourages other people to give back and provide support: “I’ve been through a lot in my life, but when I think back on how I had two loving parents and always had enough resources, I realize how truly lucky I am. I don’t see how any of us can live a day on this earth knowing there are children who don’t have that and not caring enough to do something about it. Be the person that does something about it.”

Learn more and support Michelle!

Kendra Morgan

Learn more and support Kendra!

Dr. Roslyn Murov

Learn more and support Dr. Murov!

Mike Russo

Learn more and support Mike!

Max Shapiro

Max is traveling to NYC from Los Angeles to run in his first marathon!  “The motivation to run a marathon specifically came from my Dad,” he shares.  “The way he has describes his experience running the New York City marathon has made it a long-time goal of mine.” He learned about The Foundling from one of his college friends, and was impressed with the organization’s work. “As I began to consider the prospect of running a marathon, I knew The New York Foundling’s team was who I wanted to run for,” he says.

Max began running long distance in March 2020, as gyms were closing due to the pandemic. Despite hating running in the past, he now finds it a great physical and mental outlet. “Whether I’m running for 30 minutes or two hours, the time allows me to disconnect and reflect in a way nothing else does,” he says. “And nothing beats the moments during a run when you lose track of time, distance, and feel like you can run forever.”

Max is looking forward to everything related to the marathon: “The training, the fundraising, meeting other members of the Foundling team, and of course… The finish line!”

Learn more and support Max!

Emily TsangEmily Tsang

Emily, who serves on our Junior Board, has been training for the past six months to run the NYC Marathon. She enjoys running as a hobby – viewing it as a meditation-like activity. It has been her life goal to run a marathon, and she’s excited to  achieve this while supporting a great cause.

 “There are many people who find themselves in situations out of their control. Everybody has the right to have a place to turn to and find aid in those situations and to have access to opportunities regardless of socioeconomic status,” she says. “The New York Foundling provides a range of amazing resources to thousands of people in need, and this is a great way to be a part of that!” 

Learn more and support Emily!

Molly Clarke

Learn more and support Molly!


SFC Center Back to School Giveaway

Harlem World Magazine reported on our Back to School Giveaway in their September print issue. The event was hosted by our Strong Families and Communities Training Center on Friday, August 27, in front of our Home of Integrated Behavioral Health in East Harlem. Over 60 families received essentials to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Read the story below:

Harlem World Magazine - Sept 9

NYF Huggie Rectangle


Hartzog will succeed Bill Baccaglini to lead one of the oldest and largest child welfare organizations in the country

NEW YORK CITY (September 21, 2021) — The New York Foundling Board of Trustees today announced that Melanie Hartzog has been named the organization’s next President and CEO. Hartzog will succeed longtime leader, Bill Baccaglini, who is retiring. Hartzog, who currently serves as New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, will assume the role of President of The Foundling in January while Baccaglini will continue as CEO. After an appropriate period of transition, Baccaglini will step down and Hartzog will assume the title of President and CEO.

“For more than 150 years, The New York Foundling has provided strong, steady, and stable support for hundreds of thousands of our neighbors across New York City and beyond. Bill’s leadership of The Foundling since 2003 has driven tremendous innovation, expansion and an unyielding commitment to advancing the greater good of the entire sector,” said Robert E. King, Chairman of the Board of The New York Foundling. “The Board of Trustees is very excited to have Melanie join The Foundling — with her remarkable depth of knowledge and experience, we have no doubt that she is the perfect person to lead us to greater levels of success, positively impacting all those who we serve.”

Hartzog has spent her career uplifting the city’s most vulnerable. In her current role as Deputy Mayor, she is responsible for guiding the city’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and oversees the social services agencies that deliver care and assistance to New York’s vulnerable populations, including seniors, the homeless, children, and victims of domestic violence.

“Advocating to improve the lives of children and families in underserved and underrepresented communities in New York City has been the focus of my work for many years. I’ve dedicated my entire career to ensuring that every person, no matter their circumstance or zip code, has the resources and tools to thrive. This is at the center of The Foundling’s mission, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to add to the rich history and deep impact of this changemaking organization,” said Melanie Hartzog. “I want to thank Bill for his tremendous leadership and Bob and the entire Board of Trustees for their confidence and faith in me.”

The New York Foundling remains at the forefront of issues affecting at-risk New Yorkers and provides programs in child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and developmental disabilities, reaching 30,000 people in New York and Puerto Rico every year. Hartzog will take the reins of the organization from Baccaglini, who has been a prominent advocate for innovative initiatives that have had transformative impacts on the lives of countless children and families. “It has been a great pleasure to have been at The Foundling for nearly 20 years, and I know that in Melanie’s incredibly capable hands The Foundling will continue to drive change and improve the lives of those we have the privilege to serve. Melanie comes to The Foundling with the stature, vision, and experience that will enable this great institution to continue to be responsive, innovative, and forward-thinking,” said Bill Baccaglini, President and CEO of The New York Foundling. “I am honored and excited for Melanie to join our team and can’t wait to see the great things that I’m sure our future holds.”

Hartzog previously served as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, where she oversaw the largest municipal budget in the United States, responsible for funding all city programs and services for New Yorkers. Before joining the Office of Management and Budget, Hartzog served as Executive Director of the New York Chapter of the Children’s Defense Fund, where she oversaw program and policy development, financial management, and fundraising. Previously, she served as Family Services Coordinator for the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services and Deputy Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services.

“I know Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog will lead the New York Foundling to ever greater heights in serving the wellbeing of children in our city, because that is exactly what she has done for the families of New York City throughout her entire illustrious career in public service,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “In our city’s most challenging moments, Melanie stood up for the most vulnerable in our communities and delivered real, transformative change for working families. That is why I appointed her Deputy Mayor, and why every New Yorker should rest assured that following her tenure in City Hall this year, one of the nation’s largest and oldest child welfare organizations will be led by one of our most dedicated champions for children and families.”

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.

Ruth Gerson Pix11

Following the release of internal data indicating that Instagram use can have a negative impact on adolescent users, Dr. Ruth Gerson, MD, The Foundling’s Senior Vice President for Mental Health Services, appeared on Pix 11 News to share her expert insight on the issue. In the news clip, she discusses how social media apps like Instagram promote unrealistic body image standards, undermine confidence, and can even trigger suicide – particularly in teenage girls. “Instagram and other image-based social media apps… trigger a mental state that’s been called ‘compare and despair,'” she says.

Watch the full video below:

Read more on Pix11

Ruth Gerson

Dr. Ruth Gerson, MD, The Foundling’s Senior Vice President for Mental Health Services, recently appeared on Pix 11 News to provide back to school tips for parents concerned about the upcoming school year – and addresses fears about COVID-19, mental health, and more.

Watch the full video below: 

Read more at Pix 11