The Center for Fair Futures is comprised of:
Youth-Led Advocacy,
Youth-Centered Model Implementation, and Youth-Informed Innovation

Youth-led Advocacy

Fair Futures is a youth-led advocacy movement and coalition of 100+ organizations and foundations advocating for all young people in New York City’s foster care system to have access to the long-term, comprehensive supports they need to achieve their potential.

The Fair Futures Youth Advisory Board was successful in securing and baselining $30.7 million, making NYC the first in the nation to support young people in foster care from 6th grade through age 26 with public funding.

The NYC Administration also expanded funding for young people in the juvenile justice sector in FY23 to have access to the model.

Youth-led Advocacy

Fair Futures is a youth-led advocacy movement and coalition of 100+ organizations and foundations advocating for all young people in New York City’s foster care system to have access to the long-term, comprehensive supports they need to achieve their potential.

The Fair Futures Youth Advisory Board was successful in securing and baselining $30.7 million, making NYC the first in the nation to support young people in foster care from 6th grade through age 26 with public funding.

The NYC Administration expanded funding for young people in the juvenile justice sector in FY23 to have access to the model.

Youth-Centered Model Implementation

Fair Futures is a codified, comprehensive model completely centered around the needs, goals, and aspirations of young people.  It includes a robust middle school program that prepares students for success in high school and a coaching program that provides 1:1 coaching and tutoring to help young people achieve their academic, career development, and independent living/life goals from 9th grade through age 26.

The Fair Futures model has been implemented and scaled across all 26 NYC foster care agencies and serves over 3,500 young people ages 11-26. The model was developed and codified through a 1.5-year collaboration that included the expertise of NYC’s leadership in child welfare, education, workforce and youth development.  It is based on evidence-based programs nationally and best practice programs at NYC foster care agencies that have achieved strong outcomes for young people at scale over the last nine years.

The Center’s Implementation Team provides implementation and professional development supports to over 600 staff across 30 organizations implementing the Fair Futures model.

These supports include:

  • Manuals, materials, tools, and resources tailored to each population/ geography

  • Trainings and workshops

  • 1:1 and small group technical assistance

  • 1:1 coaching

  • System-wide learning communities

  • Access to an online platform to track young people’s progress

  • OneDegree - an online resource directory containing nearly all of NYC’s academic and career development opportunities for young people

The Center recently launched a Youth-Informed Innovation arm that will collaboratively develop, pilot, evaluate, and scale new initiatives and programs that address systemic gaps/needs that young people are asking for.

All initiatives will be youth-informed and aimed at improving the well-being and success of young people through new academic, career, housing, life skills, and/or mental health supports, pathways, or opportunities.  All initiatives will be public-private partnerships, developed and scaled in close collaboration with public agencies, private providers, non-profit partners, and young people.

Current innovations in the early planning/research phase include:

Soul Care

Foster youth experience complex trauma prior to entering care, while in care and when transitioning out of care. These young people have a deep need for mental health and well-being supports, yet many cannot access the type of culturally responsive therapies they desire.  The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these disparities.

Soul Care is a youth-informed, public-private partnership between ACS, the Center, and the Mayor's Office of Mental Health to improve youth-choice around therapy and better access to alternative mental health and wellness supports that these young people are asking for. Soul Care is currently in the research phase.

Opportunity Year (aka “Gap Year”)

Many young people who graduate high school in NYC are often not academically, emotionally, and/or mentally prepared for college or vocational training. This program will be a structured, year-long commitment that will include peer cohorts, deep career and post-secondary exploration, engagement in a range of cultural activities and trips, and connections to academic or workforce experiences in line with that young person's interests.  

The goal of the program is to help young people gain experiences and build their skills, self-esteem, and peer network of support so they can either enroll in college, vocational training, or the workforce with a greater chance at success.  Fair Futures Coaches will support young people throughout the program and help them transition into and persist in whatever post-secondary or workforce setting they choose.

Opportunity Year (aka “Gap Year”) will also be a youth-informed, public-private partnership in collaboration with ACS, currently in the research phase.

LQBTQIA+ Support Communities

More than 1/3 young people in NYC foster care are LGBTQAI+.  These young people are more likely to report negative experiences than their non-LGBTQAI+ peers while in foster care.  LGBTQAI+ young people need a safe and celebratory space within the foster care community to be heard, to feel welcomed, and to shine.

The Center will partner with ACS and key partners to support both young people and the Fair Futures staff who identify.

While the model currently serves NYC foster youth, hundreds of young people have achieved strong outcomes through coaching! 

The Benefits of Fair Futures

Proven Approach

The Fair Futures model is based on evidence-based national programs and existing NYC-based programs that have achieved strong results at scale over the last several years.

Youth-Centered

Coaching allows young people to achieve THEIR goals!

Make it Yours

Tailored to your geography and target population, organizations are encouraged to build a program identity beyond Fair Futures and create their own name, brand, and success stories