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FCSI Student

The year ahead is filled with promise and hope—and a path forward as our community makes its way through and beyond the pandemic. As 2021 unfolds, we are pleased to share a new and innovative program that will support survivors of human trafficking, and we have a brand-new training center housed within The Foundling that will broaden our reach to youth, peer, and family advocates who work at community-based organizations across New York City.

For more than 150 years, The Foundling has been steadfast in its approach and commitment to providing programs and services focused on well-being, safety, stability, and helping people build supportive and healthy relationships. Our work has intersected with children and youth who been involved in human-trafficking, or found themselves susceptible to becoming involved in one. This is why we committed ourselves to partnering with victims and survivors: through therapeutic support and mentoring, our services allow survivors to increase their self-esteem and overcome the obstacles and hardship they previously experienced. The program has been named The Phoenix Project and staff at The Foundling will use several evidence-based therapy models to help survivors attain independence.

In addition to providing therapy and mentorship to survivors of human trafficking, The Foundling has created a training center, The Strong Families and Communities Training Center (The SFC Training Center), that provides specialized workshops and assistance to social service professionals and peer advocates working with youth and families across New York City. Since the start of the year, weekly trainings have been attended by 30-40 people.

Trainings are currently held in a virtual setting*—with more sessions scheduled each month. Topics covered include: strengthening communication skills, learning how to establish healthy and safe boundaries, helping youth and families obtain and secure services, navigating technology, and recognizing when there’s a crisis. The SFC Training Center looks to partner with community-based organizations and social service agencies in the months ahead—with hopes to train even more professionals who have built careers centered around service-delivery and supporting those who are experiencing hardship.

“With both of these new initiatives, we are intervening at the micro and mezzo levels. From expanding direct therapeutic services to an underrepresented population to enhancing family protective factors and providing skills for parents and youth to thrive, we’re helping everyone move forward,” said Shannon Ghramm-Smith, Senior Vice President of The Foundling’s Child Welfare and Behavioral Health Division.

* Trainings are currently being offered virtually and plans are in place to provide in-person trainings later in 2021 across all five boroughs of New York City.