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As someone who cares deeply about the plight of teens in the foster care system, the news that funding is being cut for recruitment for quality foster (and foster-to-adopt) homes for teenagers in foster care shocked and horrified me. One of the organizations that’s going to feel the biggest impact is called “You Gotta Believe,” and they do incredible work. Check them out here.

Rebecca of Fosterhood has compiled a good list of people to contact to advocate against funding cuts, and to support “You Gotta Believe” in particular, but I thought I’d clarify the contact list and add my personal comments.

via http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/05/08/1979891/congress-reintroduces-bill-to-end-lgbt-discrimination-in-adoption-and-foster-care/

It is essential to address all officials by their titles or “Honorable [Name].” Here’s the letter I’m sending:

To the Honorable [insert official here],

I am deeply concerned that it appears as though the Administration for Childrens Services (ACS) plans to discontinue all funding for specialized recruitment services for teens, which means that You Gotta Believe will not be funded by the city to do their critical work after 3/31.

This ends a contract for over 13 years, during which time they have licensed hundreds of homes and placed hundreds of our older youth in permanent loving families so they can grow into appreciated, loved and successful adults.  They are the only agency solely focused on working with older youth and providing them with lifetime families, not temporary foster homes that last only until the youth “age out.”

Teens desperately need these services and it is in the best interest of the city to continue to support its youth, no matter their origin or family status.

On a personal note, I, if I had been in the system (and almost was, though kin stepped in before that became necessary), would have been very hard to place. I was angry, gay,and learning disabled, and because I had a variety of people in my life who gave me tough love and supported me, I’m a healthy, loving adult who now works to make things better for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. You Gotta Believe helps kids like me, and they need the support of their city and elected officials.

Thank you for your attention to this extremely important matter.

Best,

[name]

And here are the people to contact–phone calls are even more effective than emails, so if you can, please call. You do not have to be a resident of NYC to contact any of these officials but it helps if you are.

ACS – Office of the Commissioner
Email (an online form): http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailacs.html
Email: Commissioner.Carrion@acs.nyc.gov
Phone: 212-341-0900

Office of the Public Advocate:
Telephone Hotline: (212) 669-7250
Email: GetHelp@pubadvocate.nyc.gov

Honorable Mayor Bill de Blasio
Phone: 311 or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC Webform: http://www.nyc.gov/html/static/pages/officeofthemayor/contact.shtml

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
email: mviverito@council.nyc.gov
District Office Phones:
Manhattan: 212-828-9800 Bronx: 347-297-4922 Legislative Office: 212-788-7210

It’s also important to email all other members of the NYC General Welfare Committee. The GW committee has direct oversight for ACS. Councilman Stephen Levin is the chair, please email him and his scheduler and press person so they all receive it. 

Councilman Stephen Levin, Chair of NYC Council General Welfare Committee
email: slevin@council.nyc.gov
Scheduler, Kevin Carroll, at kcarroll@council.nyc.gov
Spokesperson Matt Ojala, at mojala@council.nyc.gov
District Office Phone  718-875-5200
Legislative Office Phone  212-788-7348

Other Members of the NYC Council Committee include Councilmembers Palma, Cabrera, Wills, Richards, Gibson, Johnson, Menchaca and Torres. Their contact information is below.

Councilwoman Annabel Palma
email: apalma@council.nyc.gov

Mariela Salazar, Chief of Staff,
email: msalazar@council.nyc.gov,
phone: (718) 792-1140 x. 307

Councilman Fernando Cabrera
email: fcabrera@council.nyc.gov
District Office Phone: 347-590-2874
Legislative Office Phone:  212-788-7074

Councilman Ruben Wills
email: rwills@council.nyc.gov
District Office Phone: 718-206-2068
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6850

Councilman Donovan Richards
email: drichards@council.nyc.gov

Chief of Staff: Puarcha Edwards
email: pedwards@council.nyc.gov

Deputy Chief of Staff: Jerrell Burney
email: jburney@council.nyc.gov
District Office Phone: (Rockaway) 718-471-7014 (Laurelton) 718-527-4356
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7216

Councilmember Vanessa Gibson
email: VGibson@council.nyc.gov
District Office Phone: 718-588-7500
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6856

Councilmember Corey Johnson
email: District3@council.nyc.gov
District Office Phone: (212) 564-7757
Legislative Office Phone: (212) 788-6979

Councilmember Carlos Manchea
email: info38@council.nyc.gov

Lee Wellington, Chief of Staff
email: lwellington@council.nyc.gov    
District Office Phone: 718-439-9012 |
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-7372

Councilmember Ritchie Torres
email: rtorres@council.nyc.gov

Chief Of Staff, Sindri McDonald
email: SMcDonald@council.nyc.gov

Deputy Chief of Staff, Juan Antigua
email: JAntigua@council.nyc.gov
District Office Phone: 718-842-8100
Legislative Office Phone: 212-788-6966

BORO PRESIDENTS

Manhattan BP Gail Brewer:
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer
Email: gbrewer@manhattanbp.nyc.gov
Phone: 212-669-8300  

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz                              email: katz@queensbp.org
phone: 718-286-3000   

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
email: askeric@brooklynbp.nyc.gov
phone: (718) 802-3700

Senior Advisor Ingrid P Lewis-Martin
email: iplewis-martin@brooklynbp.nyc.gov
phone: (718) 802-3700

Bronx BP:  Ruben Diaz Jr.
email (general): webmail@bronxbp.nyc.gov
Phone: Constituent Services: (718) 590-3554
Executive Office: (718) 590-3557

Staten Island BP: James S. Oddo
email/web contact: http://www.statenislandusa.com/contact.html
phone: 718-816-2000