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 launched the Fair Futures model citywide at all 26 foster care agencies in December 2019. Since then, we hired over 400 staff and nearly 3,000 young people in foster care ages 11-21 have received support from Fair Futures coaches, tutors and specialists. Nearly 99% of young people actively engage with their coach by the end of the first year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In the second year, over 90% of young people who were actively coached had achieved at least one academic and/or career outcome goal.
We are now working to ensure these young people can maintain the vital lifeline of Fair Futures support and expand the model to all young people up to 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 the current $20 million and providing full funding of $35 million alongside the State to reach the ~3,000 additional youth ages 21-26 who left foster care without Fair Futures supports.
Together, we can make sure every young person in foster care in New York City has a fair shot at success, from middle school into adulthood.
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 the current $20 million and providing full funding of $35 million alongside the State to reach the ~3,000 additional youth ages 21-26 who left foster care without Fair Futures supports.
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.