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.
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.
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.