In NYC, there are more than 3,000 young people in foster care ages 11-21.
Through Fair Futures, NYC became the first in the nation to secure and baseline public funding for a long-term, comprehensive model for youth in foster care.
Fair Futures' youth-led advocacy campaign was successful in securing $10 million in FY20, $12 million in FY21, and $20 million in FY22 for all 26 foster care agencies to implement the model. Fair Futures currently reaches nearly all young people in foster care, ages 11-20.
Before Fair Futures, ~50% of young people repeated the 9th grade, and by age 21 nearly 40% become disconnected. Of the ~600 young people who age out of foster care at age 21, ~80% did not have their high school degree. Within three years of aging out, and 1 in 5 will enter a homeless shelter.
However, these young people are incredibly resilient. Providing them with long-term, 1:1 coaching 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 Fair Futures at scale for the last 7+ years, over 90% of participants achieve a high school diploma or equivalency by age 21, and nearly all enroll in the workforce or a post-secondary setting by age 26. Very few become homeless or justice-involved as Coaches take all measures to ensure youth transition to stable housing and avoid system involvement.
Fair Futures FAQs
A grassroots movement was ignited...In 2016, the Interagency Foster Care Task Force was created by the NYC Council, who charged the Task Force with issuing recommendations to improve services and outcomes for youth in foster care. The Administration for Children’s Services led this Task Force and released a set of Recommendations in 2018.
This created a “moment in time” and a platform to advocate for public funding for the 1:1 supports that young people need and were asking for:
The Foster Care Excellence Fund funded a landscape assessment of best practice and evidence-based programs nationally and in NYC to identify/develop the model. These foundations include the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the Redlich Horwitz Foundation, the Tiger Foundation, the Ira W. DeCamp Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
In 2019, an advocacy campaign was launched:
Just three months after the advocacy campaign was launched, it was successful in securing $10 million in New York City funding for all 26 foster care agencies in NYC. In Year 2, $12 million was secured. In Year 3, this $12 million was baselined in the City budget and an additional $8 million was secured.
A group of eight foundations, called the Foster Care Excellence Fund foundations, created a robust public-private partnership with the Administration for Children's Services to ensure quality implementation of the model system-wide.
The Foster Care Excellence Fund foundations funded the infrastructure needed to scale the model, including:
In the first year of Fair Futures implementation, all 26 foster care agencies implemented the model.
Over 400 staff were hired and received 7.5+ days of training. These staff in turn provided nearly 3,000 young people in foster care with 1:1 coaching, tutoring, and an array of individualized academic, career development, and housing supports.
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, by the end of the first year, nearly 99% of young people engaged with their Fair Futures Coach and nearly all are working on academic/career goals.
In the second year of implementation, over 90% of young people who were actively coached had achieved at least one academic and/or career development goal, and an average of 3 academic/career goals were achieved by each young person.
Every goal translates to a positive outcome based on where that young person is on their journey. Goals can include reconnecting to school, grade promotion, high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment, college persistence, and engaging in a career experiences (internships, vocational training, employment).