Haven Kids Rock, the acclaimed musical arts program at Haven Academy, just released a new music video. The video, which features the song ‘Scars,’ stars co-founder Nefertiti Jones and numerous Haven Kids Rock participants.
When single moms faced a pandemic crisis that might send their children to state care, Christian families stepped up to help by hosting children in their homes. New York, however, only allows hosting via licensed foster care agencies.
The New York Foundling’s CEO, Bill Baccaglini, said the group still has available foster homes even in the pandemic, and none of the organization’s foster parents requested children’s removal because of COVID-19.
“We haven’t seen this few kids in foster care in New York City since the early ’70s,” said Baccaglini. But he added: “We’re very nervous about, at the other end of this, what happens to abuse and neglect reports. … What does the system look like a few months after the pandemic?”
Due to COVID-19, organizations have had to change the way their group homes are run and also help the residents cope with the new reality of the pandemic.
Denise Flores, the assistant vice president for the developmental disabilities’ division at The New York Foundling, said that during the beginning of the pandemic they had to ration out the protective equipment they had. They would only give masks, gloves and gowns to residences with sick individuals.
“I mean we don’t have any to waste, but we do have a system in place that everyone has now either face shields, gowns or masks,” said Flores.
During the pandemic, foster parents throughout the city are finding solace in their foster children. For the past two months, Arlene Thomas – who is a foster mother with The Foundling – experienced COVID-19 firsthand. First her foster child contracted the virus, then she did as well. “No matter how sick you are, you still have a child,” she said.
With COVID-related school shut downs, students are missing out on a third of their traditional school year – and children in the child welfare system may need additional tutoring to avoid falling behind. To illuminate this issue, Fox 5 NY spoke to our CEO and President, Bill Baccaglini, as well as a Foundling foster parent who is currently balancing online schooling for 5 kids.
Remote learning is taking a toll on students as they navigate a new way of staying connected to their teachers, friends, classmates, and lesson plans from home. Jessica Nauiokas, Head of School at Haven Academy, discusses how our Haven scholars are receiving guidance from staff on navigating these difficult times, including virtual mental health counseling, speech therapy sessions, and more.
During a Thursday webinar hosted by NYN Media, City & State’s sister publication, our CEO & President Bill Baccaglini joined nonprofit leaders from Safe Horizon and the Chinese-American Planning Council to discuss COVID-19 impact on nonprofit management. Panelists highlighted the need for continued advocacy across the sector, whether to support nonprofits at large or the communities they serve across various levels of government.
“The last thing we as a city can afford, at the end of the day, when the clouds clear and the dust settles, is for these neighborhood-based agencies … (to) not be able to make it,” said Bill Baccaglini, who runs the child welfare organization The New York Foundling. “We cannot afford that as a city.”
New York City Public Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said recently that “learning will continue” as schools remain closed due to COVID-19… However, some politicians and education advocates say the learning never started.
Our President and CEO, Bill Baccaglini, discussed his concerns with New York Amsterdam News. He fears that the children in foster care will miss out on one-third of a school year’s education.
“I have kids in foster care who are going to be high school juniors in foster care, unlike kids on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side whose parents are going to make sure that they have what they need before they go back to school in the fall. Who’s going to help my kids catch up?” he says.
Read more on New York Amsterdam News (pdf)
A school located in one of the poorest Congressional districts in the nation has made a smooth transition to virtual learning. Since shuttering its doors on March 13, Mott Haven Academy Charter School has managed to successfully provide quality remote learning education to its students amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
“I’ve been so impressed with the creativity for our students and the creativity of Haven’s teaching team,” said Mott Haven’s Head of School and Founder Jessica Nauiokas.
While closing schools is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our President and CEO Bill Baccaglini is concerned that remote learning will cause students – particularly those in the child welfare system – to fall behind.
“Even on the best day, this remote virtual learning is not what being in a classroom is,” our President and CEO Bill Baccaglini told Spectrum News. He advocates one-on-one summer tutoring to help students close the gap. “Make the investment now, because if you don’t make the investment now in these young people, these are the young people who are going to find themselves in adult systems that they just may never get out of,” says Baccaglini.