Over 4,000 middle- and high-school-aged youth are entrusted to the care of New York City through the foster care system, and approximately 600-700 age out of the system each year without a consistent adult to rely on.
Fair Futures is a coalition of child welfare agencies, non-profits, foundations, advocates and young adults working to ensure we fulfill our promise to New York City’s foster youth. We successfully advocated for a $10 million investment in the FY 2020 budget, which allowed all 26 foster care agencies citywide to begin implementing the Fair Futures model. In order to serve all NYC foster youth from 6th grade through age 26, we are now advocating for the City to baseline its initial $10 million funding and provide full funding of $50 million alongside the State.
On May 5, 2020, more than 1,100 young people in NYC foster care sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council, educating them about the importance of coaches during the coronavirus crisis and urging them to sustain funding for Fair Futures.
Providing foster youth access to long-term coaching and robust academic, career development, and independent living supports is a proven strategy for increasing graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment, preventing system involvement, and helping youth get on a pathway to becoming successful adults. At two NY foster care agencies that have already implemented similar comprehensive programs, over 90% of participants achieve a high school diploma or equivalency by age 26, significantly higher than that of the population who cannot access these supports.
By investing in Fair Futures in 2019, New York made a commitment to become the first city in the nation to offer long-term, comprehensive support for foster youth from middle school through age 26. But, in order to truly transform the lives of thousands of young people for generations to come, the City must now see its investment through by baselining its initial $10 million funding and providing full funding of $50 million alongside the State.
If we fail to make these changes now, we are not only jeopardizing the future of these kids, but also our potential to make New York the fairest and most inclusive city in America.