With on-site counseling, job training, mentorship and medical referrals, 95% of participants in The Foundling’s long-standing supportive housing program successfully transition to independent homes within 2 years

New York, NY (May 31, 2024) – The New York Foundling today marked the completion of a major affordable and supportive housing complex in amenity-rich Harlem that will become a new model for helping youth who are aging out of foster care and exiting the shelter system.

Among the residents of the brand new, 17-story residential tower at 126 West 126th Street are 70 young people leaving foster care and the shelter system moving into 51 supportive housing apartments. The homes come with extensive on-site services to support their independence, from counseling and therapy to mentorship and job training. The program has a remarkable success rate: for each of the past four years, 95% of young people in The Foundling’s scatter-site supportive housing have successfully transitioned within two years to living independently, whether in market rate or traditional income-restricted homes they may qualify for.

“Our hands-on program provides safe, affordable housing and critical services, including job training and support, that help put young people on track for healthy and fulfilling lives as adults. This is how we break the cycle of homelessness for these young people,” said Melanie Hartzog, President and CEO of The New York Foundling, one of the city’s oldest and largest human services organizations. “Easily accessible and centrally located, this supportive housing project represents a new model that builds a bridge from foster care to independent living. I thank Governor Kathy Hochul and all of our incredible project partners for helping us bring this much needed project to the heart of Harlem.”

“The New York Foundling was created more than 150 years ago to serve infants and children who were at risk of falling through society’s cracks. Their enduring ethos is encapsulated in this $93 million supportive housing development, which sits at the heart of the new Urban Empowerment Center,” said RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. “We know that the young people moving into this tremendous building will have the support they need to grow confidently into adulthood. I am proud of the role the state has played in financing this mixed-use development, the ingenuity and vision of our partners, and the determination that Governor Kathy Hochul consistently displays in seeking solutions to our shared housing crisis.”

“ESD is proud to partner with The New York Foundling to open this amazing new supportive housing project in the heart of Harlem, that is a key feature of the broader Urban Empowerment Center on 126 Street. Quality housing and economic development go hand-in-hand and The New York Foundling’s unique approach combines housing access with programs that promote economic opportunity – unlocking the enormous personal potential of these young, resilient New Yorkers,” Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said.

“Supportive housing is essential for promoting the health and well-being of young adults transitioning out of foster care as they work toward independence. Governor Hochul and our partners at HCR recognize the positive impact stable housing combined with essential services can have on young people’s lives and we congratulate The New York Foundling on the successful completion of this much-needed project,” Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said.

“As a youth in foster care, you never know where you’ll end up or how you’ll end up. But now, with support from The New York Foundling and New York State, I have a safe space to lay my head – and in the heart of Harlem where you walk outside and are instantly inspired. I’m grateful for this wonderful opportunity. I plan to make the most of it,” said Venessa Riley, a resident of The New York Foundling’s Harlem supportive housing program.

The new housing is part of a large mixed-use development project known as the Urban Empowerment Center. On Harlem’s 125th Street, the Center will bring the new headquarters, museum and institute for the National Urban League, offices for One Hundred Black Men of New York, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the United Negro College Fund, and Virginia Union University; and retail, including a Target and a Trader Joe’s. The project’s development partners are BRP Companies, L+M Development Partners, Taconic Partners, and The Prusik Group. Financing for the project came from New York State, Goldman Sachs, Santander Bank and Redstone Equity Partners.

About 1,000 young adults, 18 to 26 years old, age out of foster care in New York City each year. Many are at risk of homelessness and face obstacles finding housing, securing employment, completing school, and building a support system to guide them forward. Supportive housing residents are provided with affordable and fully furnished apartments, and they are paired with The Foundling staff who guide them in achieving financial, academic, and vocational goals.

Over 500 applicants have been received for the 51 apartments in one development, underlying the immense need for these homes, which are funded by the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.

Harlem Supportive Housing Program Highlights:

  • Supportive housing units for 70 young people: 19 two-bedroom, 22 one-bedroom and 10 studio apartments.
  • Support services include coaching, mentoring, and referrals to evidence-based treatment and community-based organizations.
  • Building amenities include The Foundling offices, a fitness center, laundry room, resident lounge, outdoor terrace and bike storage.
  • Rents range from $666 for a studio up to $1,478 for a two-bedroom; cost of rent is dependent upon monthly income. Housing vouchers are welcomed.
  • Easy access to 125th Street business district, the A/B/C/D/2/3/4/5/6 subway lines, major bus routes and Metro-North.

“After many years of discussing, planning and finally constructing, we are now able to witness the transformative moment of awarding a young person the keys to their own apartment. Through the efforts of local elected officials, public and private partnerships and a great deal of luck, we can now celebrate these well-deserving individuals who have earned this opportunity after waiting in some instances years to enjoy their own safe, stable environment that they can call their own. This will afford them the sense of independence and security they have long awaited. Everyone is deserving of quality affordable housing, and I am proud of the efforts I helped to bring negotiating the level of affordability to keep this project accessible to middle- and low-income residents,” said New York State Assembly Member Inez E. Dickens. “I would like to thank The New York Foundling’s Melanie Hartzog, Division for Home and Community Renewal’s Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas, the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, Commissioner Barbara C. Quinn and the National Urban League for collaborating on this project of hope, right here on Harlem’s famed 125th Street.”

“This housing will change lives – that’s not an overstatement. Youth aging out of foster care are some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers and connecting them to a safe place to live with wraparound services is the first step to a stable future,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “Thank you to the New York Foundling and New York State for the partnership that made this possible, and I look forward to seeing how the building’s residents thrive.”

“I am so pleased that The Foundling’s program has found a home here in Harlem. Their Supportive Housing program provides an essential service to many young people in need of support, and we are thrilled that we will soon be able to welcome its residents – our new wonderful neighbors – into our Museum when it reopens. There, they will be able to engage with, and experience the great power of art within our community,” said Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

“Today, as we celebrate young people building futures in Harlem, we at UNCF are celebrating our 80th anniversary. As part of this amazing development project, UNCF will be returning to Harlem, where our story began in 1944, and where we will continue to bring together allies from all backgrounds to uplift our nation’s HBCUs and students,” said Diego Aviles, Vice President, Northeast Division of the United Negro College Fund.

“This transformative housing project in Harlem is a beacon of hope and a testament to the power of community and collaboration. At Virginia Union University, we are committed to empowering young people, and our involvement in this project aligns perfectly with our mission to nurture and produce leaders who are prepared to create positive changes in their communities. The comprehensive on-site services offered, such as job training and mentorship, are crucial for fostering independence and resilience among youth transitioning out of foster care. We are proud to be part of this initiative, which not only supports these young adults in their journey towards independence but also enriches the Harlem community as a whole,” Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President, and CEO of Virginia Union University said.

“We’re excited to celebrate this milestone alongside the New York Foundling and all development partners involved at a time where the delivery of affordable housing offerings is critically needed across the greater Harlem community and New York City as a whole,” said Andy Cohen, Managing Director at BRP Companies. “With an added focus on our youth population aging out of foster care, this development aims to provide residents with the resources needed to foster upward mobility and opportunity, and we’re proud to be part of what this project represents.”

“This partnership with the New York Foundling brings the type of high-quality housing and comprehensive supportive services that young people need to thrive upon exiting either the shelter system or foster care,” said Lisa Gomez, CEO of L+M Development Partners. “Projects like this are particularly exciting because they go beyond creating affordable homes – they help foster stronger communities where residents are set up for success. We are grateful for Governor Kathy Hochul’s leadership and to our partners for helping to bring this vision to life.”

In addition to the new Harlem development and with the support of New York State, The Foundling already operates three supportive housing programs in Brooklyn, including two scatter site programs in 20 buildings and serving 40 young people across 33 apartment units. Of 48 youths, 46 have successfully transitioned to independent living within two years.

In September 2022, as part of New York State’s Vital Brooklyn Initiative, The Foundling opened Vital Brookdale, its first model supportive housing development, in Brownsville. The complex’s 160 deeply affordable apartments include 36 homes for young adults aging out of foster care and New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, two groups that often experience steep obstacles to living on their own. Besides Vital Brookdale and 126 W. 126th Street, a third similarly modeled supportive housing project – where youth are housed together rather than in scattered buildings – operated by The Foundling and funded by New York State is being planned for the Bronx.

Learn more about The Foundling’s supportive housing program here.



The New York Foundling is proud to partner with NYC Health + Hospitals and the Administration for Children’s Services on the The Pathways to Prevention pilot program.

NYC Administration for Children’s Services and NYC Health + Hospitals Announce New Partnership Aimed at Increasing the Number of Bronx and Queens Families Receiving Family Support from Community-Based Organizations

As Part of a New Pilot Initiative, NYC Health + Hospitals Staff at Lincoln Hospital, Gotham Health Morrisania & Elmhurst Hospital Will be Trained on How to Best Identify and Connect Families In-Need to Family Support Services

May 28. 2024


New York, NY — The NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and NYC Health + Hospitals today announced a new pilot initiative aimed at connecting more families in need with family support services, while also reducing unnecessary reports made to the State’s child abuse hotline simply because a family needs help. The Pathways to Prevention initiative is just one of the ways in which New York City is working to make sure families have direct access to the resources and services they need. The pilot was designed with the help of the Public Policy Lab and jointly supported by Casey Family Programs and Youth and Families Forward Fund.

As part of the pilot, social workers, physicians and other staff at Lincoln Hospital (Pediatric clinic, OBGYN, CASA clinic), Gotham Health Morrisania (Pediatric outpatient) and Elmhurst Hospital (Pediatric clinic, OBGYN, Adolescent clinic) will be trained on how to best identify and connect patients to beneficial family support services. Staff will be able to facilitate such connections through the findhelp.org social services directory or by contacting one of the participating ACS prevention providers directly. The pilot will be rolled out with the following ACS community-based prevention partners: JCCA, Children’s Aid, Cardinal McCloskey, Good Shepherd Services, SCO Family of Services and The New York Foundling.

“This pilot program with NYC Health + Hospitals and the Administration for Children’s Services is another avenue to extend the supportive network for families,” said Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom. “It is one of many tools we are using as our frontline response across our health and human services system, because we know sustained proactive support is what gives every family and child the best chance to thrive.”

“New York City is leading the way in making sure families have streamlined access to the resources, services and support they need and this partnership with Health + Hospitals is central to that work,” said ACS Commissioner Jess Dannhauser. “In the first three months of this year, we received more than twice as many referrals to prevention and family support services from community sources than in the first three months of 2023. This means schools, shelters and families themselves are learning how to access supportive family services without any need for a child protective investigation. With this new partnership, we expect that number to grow. I want to thank Health + Hospitals for its commitment and collaboration.”

“The Pathways to Prevention program is a testament to NYC Health + Hospitals’ commitment to the holistic wellbeing of every family we serve,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “By partnering with ACS and community-based organizations to proactively connect families to crucial support services, we’re ensuring that our patients have access to the resources they need to thrive both inside and outside our hospital walls.”

“Families come to our hospitals and clinics because they want to be healthy, and access to family support programs is essential to that,” said Aaron Miller, MD, MPA, Assistant Vice President of Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment at NYC Health + Hospitals. “We are proud to have strong relationships with partners in government and community-based organizations so that we can truly meet families where they are and support them in their journey toward their healthiest life.”

“This pilot is the result of hundreds of hours of interviews and co-design workshops with families, hospital staff, and staff at ACS’ community-based prevention partners,” said the Public Policy Lab’s Design Strategy Director, John Buckley. “We are thankful for the leadership shown by our New York City agency partners who recognize the importance of multi-agency collaboration when supporting families and the front-line staff who serve them. This model of cross-agency collaboration combined with human-centered design has proven potential to transform how New Yorkers interact with and benefit from public services.”

“The New York Foundling has always strived to meet families where they are with the services that they want. This initiative does just that. For many of the young people, families, and communities we interact with every day, these approaches are far more effective than government intervention or supervision. We look forward to working with ACS and Health + Hospitals on this program to more seamlessly connect New Yorkers reaching out for support,” said Melanie Hartzog, President and CEO of The New York Foundling.

“Since 1946, Cardinal McCloskey has provided comprehensive community-based services to protect, empower, and promote independence for children and families and have worked tirelessly to keep families together.  As a result, we are honored and privileged to be working with ACS and NYC Health and Hospitals as they continue to play such a pivotal role in moving this vision forward,” said Beth Finnerty, President & CEO of Cardinal McCloskey Community Services.

“Community-based organizations play a critical role in ensuring that families across New York City are supported with resources vital to their health and well-being,” said Michelle Yanche, CEO of Good Shepherd Services. “The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and NYC Health + Hospitals pilot initiative represents the City’s commitment to empowering community-based organizations to meet the most fundamental needs of families across our city. Good Shepherd Services is proud to support this important initiative and looks forward to our continued partnership with ACS and NYC Health + Hospitals.”

“New York City continues to set the national standard of care for children and families. Through this partnership with Health + Hospitals, JCCA will expand its continuum of care to reach families where they are and when they need it most. Too many families in need of support don’t know how to get it. By investing in a proactive approach to community health that empowers healthcare and other social services to make referrals, the city has created a vital pathway for trusted providers to reach families and support their health and stability,” said JCCA’s CEO Ronald Richter.

Today’s announcement builds on the ongoing work that ACS is doing to better connect families to services upfront. For instance, last year, ACS announced it was collaborating with NYC Public Schools – the largest source of report citywide – to provide revised training and materials so that mandated reporters, like teachers and guidance counselors, better understand when a report is and is not necessary and how they can support a family without a call to the State’s child abuse hotline. ACS and NYC Public Schools have jointly trained over 8,600 school staff in more than 90 interactive sessions since early 2023. ACS has also been training staff from Department of Homeless Services shelters, private hospitals, and DYCD after-school providers.

Read more on NYC Health + Hospitals

Vital Brookdale Mural

Photo and Video: The New York Foundling Mural Celebrating Community, Doctors and Activists in New Mural Unveiled at Brownsville Supportive Housing Complex

See photos and video of the mural being installed here

Brownsville, NY (May 20, 2024) — The New York Foundling today unveiled Colors of My City, a mural at Vital Brookdale, the non-profit’s recently built supportive housing complex in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The nearly 1,000 square-foot mural was designed and painted by artist Layqa Nuna Yawar and has been installed across the street from Vital Brookdale on a brick wall of neighboring Brookdale Hospital.

Colors of My City celebrates Brownsville with portraits of physicians, activists and neighbors, alongside everyday landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and nearby 3 train. One of its subjects, Patricia, is a resident of Vital Brookdale, where 36 people with developmental disabilities and young people exiting foster care live and receive wrap-around services as part of a larger affordable housing project. Patricia is pictured crocheting a blanket, one of her passions, and a symbol of “home.”

Layqa developed the mural based on workshops with residents at Vital Brookdale and their neighbors. He is best known for large-scale community-based murals, intricate portrait paintings, and multimedia projects that center around the complex narratives of black, immigrant and indigenous populations.

“Our residents at Vital Brookdale deserved something beautiful, something that honored them and the whole neighborhood. I am so excited to see Layqa’s finished mural in a place where people can reflect on it on their walk to work, or sitting on a bench in our courtyard. Colors of My City will become a community landmark,” said Melanie Hartzog, President and CEO of The New York Foundling.

“I am so proud of this mural. I love its intimate, personal moments, like Patricia crocheting her beautiful blanket. We spent a lot of time talking to this community about who and what people wanted to see reflected in this wall. I hope that they look up at it every day and see themselves,” said artist Layqa Nuna Yawar.

Opened in 2022, Vital Brookdale serves two distinct groups that often experience obstacles to living independently: young people aging out of foster care and adults with developmental disabilities. Vital Brookdale builds upon The Foundling’s existing supportive housing and developmental disabilities residential programming to provide private apartments to participants that are ready to live on their own through supplemental services that ensure a successful transition into the next chapter of their lives. Learn more about Vital Brookdale and The New York Foundling’s work in the Brooklyn community here.

About the Artist:

Layqa Nuna Yawar (b. 1984, Cuenca Ecuador) is a public artist and multidisciplinary storyteller based in the ancestral lands of the Lenni-Lenape: current-day Newark, NJ. His work is best known for large-scale community-based murals, intricate portrait paintings, and multimedia projects that center the complex narratives of immigrant, black, indigenous, and subaltern populations. His artwork aims to disrupt established semiotic systems and reimagine them in service of shared liberation and a better future.

Layqa’s name is an invention that honors the Kichwa-Kañari legacy of his descent. His practice is driven by the act of reclaiming history as well as the inherent rupture and repair of the immigrant experience. His work exists at the intersection between migrant alienation and belonging, cross-cultural identity and decolonization, and between the private and the public realms.

His work has been recently commissioned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Munich Airport NJ, in partnership with Public Art Fund and can be permanently found at the new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. His collaborative work is also now on view at MoMA PS1 in New York City. Other Recent awards include an Artist Impact Award from the Newark Museum of Art, Monument Lab Research Residency, a Creative Catalyst Fund Fellowship by the City of Newark, an Art Changemaker Award from the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, and a Moving Walls Fellowship by Open Society Foundations among others. Layqa has held multiple teaching residencies, including projects with the United Nations World Food Programme, Casita Maria, and currently teaches at Rutgers University. His murals can be found in cities and communities around the world.

NY.GOV Mental Health Clinics

The New York Foundling is proud to partner with the New York State Office of Mental Health in this new initiative, and to have received funding to establish a school-based mental health clinic at the Leadership and Public Service High School in Manhattan.


Funding to Support Satellite Clinics at 137 Schools and Promote Student Access to Necessary Treatment and Support 

Awards are Part of Governor Hochul’s $1 Billion Plan to Expand New York State’s Continuum of Mental Health Care and Address Youth Mental Health Challenges


For Immediate Release: 11/30/2023

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that more than $5.1 million was awarded to support 137 school-based mental health clinic satellites throughout New York State, including 82 at high-needs schools. Administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health, the funding is part of the governor’s $1 billion landmark plan to transform New York’s mental health care system, which includes a total of $8.3 million to support and expand these clinics throughout the state.

“In the age of aggressive social media culture, it is clear young people are facing insidious, and increasingly complex challenges to their mental and emotional wellness,” Governor Hochul said. “By expanding mental health clinics in school-based settings, we can help engage young people of all ages in a familiar and stigma-free environment through conversations led by licensed experts.”

Office of Mental Health-licensed providers were awarded $25,000 per clinic to establish services at 137 schools throughout the state. An additional $20,000 per school was awarded to those providers establishing services at high-needs schools, where more than 50 percent of the students are classified as coming from economically disadvantaged households.

In total, $1.4 million in startup funding was provided for clinics at 55 schools, with an additional $3.7 million awarded to clinics at 82 schools located within high-needs districts. Once these s are established, there will be roughly 1,200 school-based clinics throughout New York State.

New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “By expanding these clinics into additional schools throughout the state, we can help youth and their families identify mental health issues and access care earlier on, which ultimately lead to better health outcomes for young people. I commend Governor Hochul for expanding these clinics in her landmark plan to build out New York’s continuum of mental health care and her continued focus on improving youth mental health throughout our state.”

The satellite clinics operate at each school’s main location and will be staffed by mental health practitioners regularly throughout the academic week. Through establishing a physical space within a school building, these clinics will be part of the school community alongside educators, allowing them to achieve optimal treatment outcomes.

Practitioners will help to identify childhood mental health needs earlier and engage families that might not have otherwise sought mental health assistance. A list of the new satellite clinics by region, district, and school can be found here.

Governor Hochul announced the awards during a visit to the Leadership and Public Service High School in Tribeca, where she met with students to discuss the mental health challenges they face along with their peers. New York Foundling will establish a satellite clinic at the school using a $45,000 award through the initiative.

The funding will enable New York Foundling to develop a physical location at the school, shift a part-time program supervisor to a full-time role, and provide additional training for staff. Once established, the clinic will work to reduce mental health stigma, engage students and their families to connect them with services and provide case management for those needing more intensive services.

New York Founding CEO Melanie Hartzog said, “Our kids’ mental health needs are only growing. Thanks to this new funding, the New York Foundling will be able to open an on-site mental health clinic the at Leadership and Public Service High School that will provide therapy, referrals, and complex care coordination. This is exactly the kind of model we need to be expanding across the city and state. We are so grateful to Governor Hochul and the Office of Mental Health for this support.”

Assemblymember Aileen M. Gunther said, “Mental Health care is vital to all our communities. As a registered nurse and Assemblymember I have seen firsthand the struggle to provide adequate care for youth mental health throughout New York State. I applaud Governor Kathy Hochul on the expansion of these school-based mental health clinic satellites throughout New York State. These clinics bring care directly to those in need and it is critical that our state supports New York’s communities, including by enhancing supports for children’s mental health. I have always fought for what was best for my constituents, and I look forward to working with Governor Hochul on further expanding our healthcare infrastructure so that all those in need of mental health support have the access they need.”

Governor Hochul has made youth mental health a focus of her administration and included it as an important component of her landmark $1 billion plan to strengthen New York State’s mental healthcare system. In the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget adopted in May, she secured $30 million to expand mental health services for school-aged children throughout the state, including $20 million for school-based mental health services and $10 million to implement wraparound services training.

Governor Hochul’s plan also provided a 25 percent increase in Medicaid rates for full-day school-based programs for young people with significant mental health challenges and for school-based mental health services provided by Article 31 licensed clinics serving children in pre-K, elementary and secondary schools. This additional funding will improve access to services and ensure close coordination between the clinics, schools, and families.

As part of her plan, Governor Hochul increased insurance reimbursement rates for school based mental health services, ensuring the care provided by school-based mental health clinic satellites will be covered by commercial insurance plans and at the same rates as Medicaid. This change was adopted as part of the FY 2024 State Budget in May and will take effect starting in January, ensuring clinics can provide a high-quality care at their school satellites.

Last Spring, Governor Hochul hosted a Listening Tour on Youth Mental Health, which culminated in the first-ever Summit on Youth Mental Health, gathering state and national experts alongside service providers and stakeholders to examine the unprecedented challenges many young people are facing today. The tour and summit resulted in recommendations to invest in community-based resources for mental wellness promotion and to increase free or low-cost mental health resources.

Watch and learn more at NY.GOV

Every day, our neighbors – with the support of The Foundling – are building their own bright futures. We believe in the power and potential of all people, and our services provide innovative and fruitful opportunities to those we serve: children in foster care, families in our therapeutic programs, adults with developmental disabilities living in our residences, and others in our community.

For over 150 years, we’ve provided opportunities for independence, stability, and success to our community in New York and Puerto Rico. And that’s not stopping – read Building Futures, our 2022 Impact Report, to learn the exciting ways we’ve grown and evolved over the past year. Thank you for building futures with us!

Browse our Impact Report here, or learn about our larger reach on our Impact web page.

Vital Brookdale Ribbon Cutting

The New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal released a press release on the opening of the Vital Brookdale apartment complex. This new building – located in Brownsville, Brooklyn – was created as part of the Vital Brookdale initiative in partnership with The Foundling.

As Melanie Hartzog, our President and CEO, stated in the press release: “We are grateful to the administration for their partnership in helping create Vital Brookdale, offering opportunity and promise for the people and communities that The New York Foundling serves. At The Foundling, we continue to look for impactful ways to uplift youth aging out of foster care and people with developmental disabilities. We see Vital Brookdale as one example of many more to come that demonstrates the mutual good that stems from providing opportunities for our neighbors to reach their full potential. It’s been a true joy to watch our residents’ confidence grow as a result of having the resources necessary to succeed on their paths to independence.”

Read the full press release here


NYF Huggie Rectangle

The New York Foundling is proud to be involved with ACS’s ‘College Choice’ program, which expands the vital academic, emotional, housing, and financial supports that our Fostering College Success Initiative provides for college students in foster care.



ACS Will Continue to Support Youth in Care by Paying up to $15,000 Each Year in Tuition, Plus Room and Board Not Covered by a Student’s Financial Aid Package

Providing a $60 Daily Stipend, Coaching, Tutoring, and Career Counseling

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner Jess Dannhauser today announced “College Choice,” a program that will provide college students in foster care with greater support systems, including financial support, so they can attend the college of their dreams without having to worry about the hefty price tag. As part of the program, ACS will help pay remaining costs of college tuition— up to $15,000 each year — in addition to any room and board not covered by a student’s financial aid package. College students in foster care will also receive a $60 daily stipend per year, which can be used towards food, clothing, transportation, and more.

All youth in foster care will additionally be able to keep the coaching they already receive through “Fair Futures,” which has provided thousands of youth in foster care, ages 11 to 21, with dedicated coaches and tutors since 2019. The Adams administration recently expanded Fair Futures for youth ages 21-26. Further, the New York Foundling — a non-profit social service organization that supports young people in foster care— will provide students with tutoring, career counseling, and other related services.

“College Choice will provide college students in foster care with the support they need to complete their college education successfully and attend the school of their choice, regardless of cost,” said Mayor Adams. “This new program provides our young people in foster care help in covering up to $15,000 in tuition costs each year not covered by financial aid, as well as room and board, and even provides a daily stipend for food or clothes. Growing up has never been more challenging, so we are holding up the torch to support our young people. No students’ chances for success should depend on factors outside of their control. Now, our youth in foster care can attend a community college, a CUNY, a SUNY, an Ivy League, an HBCU, or any other school they dream of without worrying about how they pay for their education.”

“This program is truly remarkable. College Choice will provide the opportunity for young people in the foster care system to pursue their goals and dreams, with reliable, realistic, and sustained support,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams Isom. “The program accounts for day-to-day expenses and real-world costs, all of which give young people the sincere chance to advance educational attainment and likely their lifetime earning ability. Thank you to ACS for its leadership and to all of our philanthropic and nonprofit partners for making this program possible.”

“New York City is making sure more doors of opportunity are open for young people in foster care, and the College Choice program is just one more way that we are doing that,” said ACS Commissioner Dannhauser. “This new program will mean that young people in foster care can attend the college of their dreams without having to worry about the financial nightmare. No matter the school — east coast, west coast, public, private, two years, or four years — ACS will support our young scholars in foster care. We are thrilled to launch the ‘College Choice’ program and I am confident it will help put more and more young people on the path to success.”

“A college degree is a major step toward upward mobility and economic freedom, but it is often out of reach for students because they can’t pay for costs not covered by financial aid. I’m proud of New York City for providing a financial pathway for young people in foster care to pay for tuition, room and board costs, and other essentials, like food and transportation,” said The City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “These young people shouldn’t have to go hungry or build debt to attend college. More than half of the students benefiting from College Choice this academic year are attending a CUNY college and we are grateful to Mayor Adams for helping these young people get the support they need to achieve their educational dreams.”

“With the Dorm Project, I was able to pursue my dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees without having to worry about my financial situation. I was really able to just focus on my goals and my studies. The College Choice program is now a resource available to all youth in care if they choose to pursue higher education,” said Sanjida Afruz, student participant in College Choice at City College. “The College Choice program essentially says that young people in foster care can and should dream big. With time and evident passion from people, like Mayor Adams and Commissioner Dannhauser, we are seeing changes that we have advocated for, and it makes me happier than ever.”

“For over 150 years, The Foundling has been dedicated to serving our community. Our Fostering College Success Initiative is an example of how we have responded to meet the needs of the children and families that we serve,” said Melanie Hartzog, president and CEO, The New York Foundling. “We are grateful to the Adams administration and the Administration for Children’s Services for launching the College Choice program and expanding the vital supports provided by the Fostering College Success Initiative. Continuing this partnership means equipping College Choice participants with the necessary framework to reach their full potential.”

College Choice builds off the Adams administration’s investments in upstream solutions and deep commitment to improving educational outcomes for youth in foster care, and helping ensure they lead healthy, productive, and self-sufficient adult lives. All full-time college students in foster care will be eligible for the benefits as long as they have applied for financial aid, maintain a 2.0 grade point average, and participate in any academic support programs for which they’re eligible. Benefits will be available for a maximum of three years for an associate degree or five years for a bachelor’s degree.

College Choice will offer all full-time college students in foster care the following benefits covered by ACS:

  • Tuition and mandatory fees (up to $15,000 per year), that are not covered by a student’s financial aid award.
  • The cost of room and board.
  • A stipend of $60 per day to cover food and other expenses while attending school. This benefit is also available for up to six months after graduation from college.
  • Students attending a college or university in New York City can choose to live in housing sponsored by that college or university, or in one of the following six housing options:
    • The Towers at City College of New York
    • The Summit at Queens College
    • Hunter College Residence Hall (Only for students attending Hunter College)
    • International House of New York
    • 92Y Residence
    • Outpost-Club Student Housing in New York City
  • Students attending in-person classes at a college or university outside of New York City can live in housing sponsored by that college or university, or in safe and appropriate off-campus private housing.
  • Students enrolled only in online classes at a college or university can live in housing sponsored by that college or university, or in any of the six housing options for New York City students.
  • Students who want to stay in college/university housing during the summer are required to be engaged in meaningful summer activities (such as participating in an internship or taking classes).
  • Students can receive tutoring, career counseling, and related support provided online and in-person by New York Foundling staff.
  • Students can maintain their Fair Futures coach while in college.

New York City leads the nation in providing support to youth in foster care and youth transitioning from foster care. Fair Futures has been in place since 2019, but the Adams administration recently provided additional resources to ACS so that Fair Futures could be expanded to include youth in foster care from ages 21 to 26.

Previously, students in foster care were eligible to participate in The Fostering College Success Initiative, also known as “The Dorm Project,” which provided year-round housing and academic supports to youth in foster care attending CUNY schools. ACS also offered the Fostering College Success Stipend, which provided college students in foster care with a $31 daily stipend.

College Choice expands upon these offerings by providing similar benefits to all students in foster care, regardless of which college they choose to attend. New York City is the first jurisdiction in the nation to implement an initiative for youth in foster care of this breadth and scale. Earlier this year, the Adams administration also announced a new vocational training and apprenticeship program, VCRED, for youth, ages 16-24, who are in foster care, as well as youth who recently left foster care or the juvenile justice system.

Approximately 230 young people in New York City foster care will benefit this upcoming school year from College Choice.

“As a former educator, I know how life changing a college education is in a person’s life, but for too many New Yorkers, the rising costs of college make it unattainable,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney. “Our city’s foster youth especially bear the brunt of rising college costs. I applaud Mayor Adams for making college more accessible for our city’s foster youth by enacting ‘College Choice,’ a program that will change the outcomes of so many young people’s lives.”

“I’m so proud that our city is investing in children in foster care who deserve support on their higher education journey. I look forward to seeing these students succeed with the help of assistance to pay tuition and living expenses,” said New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera.

“I commend the creation of the College Choice program to help disadvantaged youth in foster care have an opportunity at higher education, building upon the Fostering College Initiative,” said New York State Senator James Sanders. “A college degree is absolutely essential in today’s world in order to find a good job and access to opportunities for financial and personal growth. The extra money for tuition, housing, food, clothing and transportation that are provided by these programs because they are not covered by financial aid is a lifeline for these youth.”

“New York City’s College Choice program will ensure that youth raised in care have the opportunity to obtain a college degree, regardless of what school they plan to attend,” said New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “This year, more than 200 New York City youth in foster care will attend college under this program and I wish them well in their studies.”

“All students deserve the support they need to attend the school of their dreams, regardless of their familial background,” said New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “Ensuring that students in foster care have more financial support — as well as the expanded academic and career support for students in foster care recently enacted by Mayor Adams — is crucial to their success in not just attending their chosen college, but in realizing their fullest potential as young New Yorkers. Investing in our students is investing in the future of our city and our state, and I am looking forward to continuing to work alongside Mayor Adams to support young New Yorkers to be the best that they can be.”

“I fully support the College Choice Program because despite the personal challenges of these students who are connected through the foster care system, their living conditions will not hinder them from pursuing higher education opportunities to better themselves,” said New York State Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman. “These students have aspirations in life, and it is our duty to continue to educate and provide them with the proper resources to succeed. The youth are our future and to see the Administration for Children’s Services’ (ACS) commitment to provide this opportunity for students is a magnificent moment, not only for the students, but also for the city of New York. Thank you, Mayor Adams, for providing the resources to ACS to expand this program. Let us continue to trend forward with this initiative and prepare our youth for the future.”

“Our young people exiting foster care must have no financial barriers on the road to academic success. College expenses outside of tuition can be as much as $16,000 per year,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “This includes the costs of books, housing, food, transit, and more. This program will close the gap between a school’s financial aid package and the full costs of college, allowing many more foster children to attend. The coaching and counseling will also be crucial to academic success for these young people, who might otherwise have no access to an advisor. When foster care children have the wraparound support they need, they can become some of New York City’s best and brightest, ready to succeed in school and in life.”

“As a leader who has had my leadership roots planted from my early days in public higher education, I cannot underscore the importance of having education be accessible to all,” said New York State Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia. “All throughout my life, I have seen firsthand the effects that poverty and lack of parenthood has on many people and their chances at college readiness and career placement. By funding the college choice program, the mayor is ensuring that the many overlooked and unseen New Yorkers have an opportunity to thrive.”

“I support the ACS’s launch of ‘College Choice’, a program focused on providing students in foster care financial support for college-related expenses not already covered by traditional financial aid packages,” said New York State Assemblymember Chantel Jackson. “Students in foster care often face obstacles not experienced by their classmates and their home status should not impede their pursuit of education.”

“I fully support this program,” said New York State Assemblymember Nikki Lucas. “Unfortunately, there is a disproportionate number of students in foster care in my district, which makes the “College Choice” program even more important for students in the 60th Assembly District. The program gives students an opportunity to go to college with a little less stress in their lives. This program might be the difference we need to have more students continue their education on the college level. Now we have to provide the outreach to get the information to the students who are eligible.”

“Investing in New York City’s foster care youth will expand opportunities that allow them to thrive,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “By helping defray the many costs of higher education, the city is facilitating their long-term success and laying the foundation for a brighter future. As a strong supporter of Fair Futures and other programs that support young people in foster care, I am excited about the potential of ‘College Choice’ and look forward to seeing its impact.”

“Every child deserves the opportunity to a higher education, said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “College Choice offers a transformative path for some of New York City’s most vulnerable students, not only providing the opportunity to afford higher education, while covering costs outside of a student’s financial aid package but by providing vital tutoring and career services that can be a major hurdle before and following graduation. I applaud Mayor Adams, Commissioner Dannhauser, and New York Foundling for providing students with a comprehensive approach to aid students on a pathway to success.”

“I would also like to thank Mayor Eric Adams and his administration for expanding opportunities for some of our most vulnerable students. Too many of our foster care students have to choose between working and pursuing a college education due to a lack of financial support and resources,” said New York City Councilmember Oswald Feliz. “The College Choice Program will provide college students in foster care with financial help so that they can pursue higher education. This program helps ensure that the children in foster care remain focused on pursuing their college education and will help ensure that no child is left behind, regardless of their income.

“Our kids only get one chance at a good education and covering expenses for students in foster care will go a long way to optimize their opportunities to thrive and succeed in college,” said New York City Councilmember Lynn Schulman.  “Thank you to Mayor Adams and ACS for making this positive difference in the lives of our city’s foster youth.

“As a former foster mom, I know first-hand the types of challenges that students in foster care experience,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “College Choice represents an exceptional opportunity for this marginalized student population to receive a quality college education, and I applaud this announcement. We can’t allow foster students to be forgotten anymore!”

“It is vital to the city’s growth that we continue to invest in our young people,” said New York City Councilmember Althea Stevens. “I’m excited about the investment in our young people around that city that will ensure they have equitable access and opportunity to higher education. Thank you to the New York City Administration for Children Services, for working to continue to provide beneficial support, for the future of youth in foster care and youth transitioning from foster care.”

“As leaders and community advocates, our responsibility is to guide our youth transitioning out of foster care to have the support to pursue their dreams,” said New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez. “The “College Choice” program opens doors for equity in higher education, which is long overdue. The average student already faces challenges while pursuing a college education, and the financial burden for those in foster care is already hefty. The supplemental financial support will help bridge the gap and allow students to focus on academics rather than balancing a job with their studies or worrying about how much is on in their meal plan.”

“For many New Yorkers, the path to achieving a higher learning degree is blocked due to the high costs of tuition and living costs in our city,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “College Choice is a positive step toward supporting young New Yorkers beyond high school and helping students most in need of support to thrive and succeed.”

“The ‘College Choice’ program can be the make-or-break factor in whether or not a person in our foster care system continues on to the degree they dreamed of – breaking down barriers to academic access and attainment,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “This program also goes the extra mile beyond critical financial support, ensuring participants feel supported through coaching, tutoring, and additional counseling, which are often overlooked as important factors in someone’s academic success. Thank you to our city’s leaders for making this investment and supporting our young adults in the foster care system.”

“The ability to achieve the ‘American Dream’ can be greatly aided by a college education, so no one should be denied such an education due to an inability to pay for it,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “People in foster care have already been through so much in their lives, so it is important they are not shut out of the opportunity to attend college and to fulfill their greatest possible potential. The College Choice program is an outstanding way to bring college within reach of our foster care youth, so I strongly commend Mayor Adams and the Administration of Children’s Services, led by Commissioner Jess Dannhauser, for launching this innovative initiative.”

“City College, like all CUNY schools, has an astounding track record in promoting social mobility, especially among vulnerable populations,” said CCNY President Vincent Boudreau. “The College Choice Program represents a unique opportunity for effective partnerships with ACS. A partnership that is precisely aligned with our deepest held values and core competencies, and we are truly excited at the chance to play a role in this exciting program.”

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New York, NY (September 22, 2022) – The New York Foundling announces the appointment of six new members to their Board of Trustees. Joining the board are Steve Banks (Paul, Weiss), Jon Cohen (BioReference Laboratories, Inc.), Stephanie Davis (SVB Securities), Tina King (BNY Mellon), Kathleen Padian (TenSquare), and Karen K. Morales Pérez (Herrero, Morales & Reyes Law Offices, PSC).

“We are thrilled to welcome these six incredible new members to The New York Foundling’s Board of Trustees,” said Melanie Hartzog, CEO and President of the New York Foundling. “This group brings a wide array of professional expertise and personal experience, and we feel very fortunate as an organization to have their support. We look forward to working hand in hand with Kathleen, Steve, Karen, Jon, Stephanie, Tina, and the entirety of our Board of Trustees to continue helping our neighbors in New York and Puerto Rico reach their full potential.”

The new board members hail from major law firms, city government, healthcare, education, tech, finance, and more, and bring a combined several decades’ of innovative thinking and compassionate leadership. 

“As the Chair of The New York Foundling’s Board of Trustees, I have a deep appreciation for the importance of an effective board to the success of the organization,” said Robert King. “It is my honor to welcome these accomplished folks into our organization, and I am thrilled to partner with them as we find new avenues to take The Foundling’s mission forward and continue uplifting our communities.”


About the New Board Members:

Steven Banks

Steven Banks is special counsel in Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s Pro Bono practice, where he manages and oversees the firm’s pro bono strategy and leverages firm partnerships with legal services organizations and clients to increase societal impact.

Previously, Steve served in city government – from 2014 through 2022, he served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS), the largest social services agency in the United States, where he established and led reforms for many robust and high-impact DSS programs. During a portion of this time, beginning in 2016, Steve was also appointed to lead the Department of Homeless Services, as head of a joint management structure under the DSS. During his tenure, the DSS decreased evictions, reduced the number of families experiencing homelessness and residing in shelters, and dramatically enhanced and expanded assistance for low-income families and individuals.

Prior to this, Steve spent over three decades at New York City’s Legal Aid Society, the country’s oldest and largest not-for-profit legal aid organization. From 2004 to 2014, Steve was the attorney-in-chief at LAS, where he managed the legal practice and operations of the criminal, juvenile rights, and civil programs run by the organization.

Jon R. Cohen

Jon R. Cohen, M.D., is the Executive Chairman and CEO of BioReference Laboratories, one of the nation’s largest commercial laboratories.  Dr. Cohen has more than 30 years of healthcare experience, he is a seasoned strategic leader with a track record of growing existing business and developing new ventures. Dr. Cohen was recently awarded Crain’s New York Business 2020 Notable in Health Care.

Dr. Cohen is well recognized in the diagnostics industry having served for nearly a decade as one of the five executive officers for Quest Diagnostics. Previously, he served as Chief Policy Advisor for Governor David Paterson and for six years as Chief Medical Officer for Northwell Health. In 2010, he was named as one the nation’s top 50 most powerful physician executives by Modern Healthcare.

His 2012 TEDMED, “Why Don’t Patients Act Like Consumers?” was recently ranked the #1 TEDMED talk that every healthcare executive needs to watch. Dr. Cohen is a vascular surgeon, having completed his residency in surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and vascular surgery fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed professional articles.

Stephanie Davis

Stephanie Davis is a Senior Research Analyst at SVB Securities covering Healthcare Technology and Distribution. She has over a decade of experience covering the Healthcare IT and IT Services sectors and leads the firm’s digital health research efforts. Her coverage universe includes the electronic health record names, and the payer-facing, provider-facing, and pharma-facing health tech and digital health companies.

Prior to joining SVB, Ms. Davis led coverage of the Healthcare IT sector at Citibank and J.P. Morgan. Earlier in her career, she worked as an Equity Research Analyst at J.P. Morgan on the #1 ranked Payments, Processors, and IT Services team.

In 2019, Davis was recognized as a Runner-Up for Health Care Technology and Distribution on Institutional Investor’s All America Research Team and was included in Business Insider’s “Rising Stars of Equity Research” in 2017. Ms. Davis earned a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Columbia University and is a CFA charterholder.

Tina King

Tina King is the Chief Financial Officer for Investment and Wealth Management at BNY Mellon.  Tina serves as a finance business partner for the $2tr Investment and Wealth Management business.  At BNY, Tina has been named on the Board of Newton Investment Management, CFO of the National Association Bank and on the Managing Director Selection Panel.

Prior to BNY Mellon, Tina spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs in strategy, finance and operations leadership roles across investment and wealth management.  She held positions as COO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) Americas Client Business, CAO of Global Third Party Distribution and COO of GSAM Global Insurance.

Karen K. Morales Pérez

Karen K. Morales Pérez is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón Campus, where she completed, Magna Laude, a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences. The analytical foundation of science led her to complete her Juris Doctor at the University of Puerto Rico in May 2009. Ms. Morales Pérez is a partner and president of the law firm Herrero, Morales & Reyes Law Offices, PSC in Puerto Rico, which is dedicated to civil and notarial practice, leading municipal and government agencies litigation, insurance, damages, labor, family and others in that branch. During her 12 years of experience as a lawyer she has appeared before different administrative agencies, as well as before the Courts of Puerto Rico. She also has extensive experience in appellate and review processes before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. Ms. Morales Pérez is the mother of a girl, Kamila Nahir and a boy, Héctor Daniel, the latter being a participant in the Early Head Start Program in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico.

Kathleen Padian

Kathleen Padian is a partner at TenSquare, LLC, a national consulting firm specializing in support for Public School Districts, State Departments of Education and Charter Management Organizations. Kathleen specializes in the development of school facilities and developing policies related to charter school authorizing. Her experience in the public education sector spans from the classroom to the central office, as well as leadership roles at philanthropic organizations and nonprofit support entities. Prior to joining TenSquare she served as Deputy Superintendent for the Orleans Parish School Board where she created their first accountability framework for schools. In that role she also managed more than $400 million in school construction and renovation projects. 

Kathleen founded the New Orleans School Facility Project in partnership with several national philanthropies. She previously served as Vice President of Building Hope (DC), National Director of Development for New Leaders (NY), as Strategic Investments Director for Fight for Children (DC) and was responsible for the multi-site expansion of St. Coletta of Greater Washington, a regional organization serving children and adults with developmental disabilities. Her educational background includes degrees from the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University, as well as advanced study in special education and educational leadership at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. She serves on the Board of the Irish Channel Neighborhood Association in her current hometown of New Orleans, LA where she lives with her teenage daughter. 


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 hundreds of thousands 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.


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The news coming out of the Supreme Court regarding gun rights is difficult to process. At The Foundling, most of us have spent significant time and resources trying to combat our city’s growing gun violence crisis, whether it be here at work, or at home in our own communities. Many of us have been directly affected by New York’s gun violence epidemic, making this all the
more personal and painful; the communities we hail from, and the communities we serve, are often the most impacted by violent crime, and gun violence is no exception.

We can all agree that what this city needs is less access to firearms, not more. And we can all agree that, as we continue to experience increased instances of unprovoked and often hate-driven violence, the knowledge that there might be more guns on our streets is unsettling.

We stand with Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams in opposition to this ruling, and will continue to fight to combat gun violence and violence in any capacity in our city’s streets. At The Foundling, we know how much we can accomplish through anti-violence initiatives at the community level, and how much good can come from getting people the support and resources they need to be able to thrive. We will continue to serve our communities and find creative solutions to the many public crises we currently face, in an effort to make New York City safer for everyone.

2021 Impact Report Email Header for Web

2021 has been a year of transformation. From the pandemic’s continued impact on our community, to major leadership shifts in city, state, and federal government, it’s been a year of change for all of us. Thanks to your support, The Foundling has not only navigated this new landscape, providing life-transforming services to over 30,000 children, adults, and families in New York and Puerto Rico, but has also expanded our reach, impact, and vision for the future ahead.

Our latest Impact Report, Transformation, chronicles this work over the past year – and showcases the successes you have helped us achieve. Explore the report, which includes powerful stories from our participants, leadership and donor spotlights, and details on how our programs are continuing to provide support and stability for our neighbors in need.

Browse our Impact Report here, or learn about our larger reach on our Impact web page.

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