Understanding the Foster Care System in NYC

What is the foster care system in NYC like? It provides an important service to a population in need, but like any system, it can be problematic. Before we look at the problems youth experience in the foster care system, let’s look at the process of entering the system.

This article will introduce you to the NYC foster care system. We’ll also explain how you can partner with City Living NY to help youth transitioning out of the NYC foster care system!

How do youth end up in the foster care system in NYC?

Children enter the NYC foster care system for a variety of reasons. Parents may be unable to provide proper care or a safe environment, or children may be experiencing abuse or neglect.

When a complaint is made about a child’s well-being, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) will investigate. They will visit the child’s home to determine whether the situation is safe. They may also interview other people in the child’s life, such as teachers and doctors. If ACS determines the complaint was valid, the parent(s) will appear in Family Court. Depending on the outcome of the hearing, the parent(s) may be required to pursue services to address the situation. Ultimately, if it is determined the child cannot safely remain at home, they will be placed in the NYC foster care system.

What is it like to be in the foster care system in NYC?

Youth in foster care often experience mixed emotions. Sometimes, they would prefer to be with their family of origin. In other cases, they have a sense of not belonging anywhere, because they’ve been moved around frequently from home to home. It is difficult to settle into a permanent living space when you’re in the foster care system. Thus, youth often feel like they have nowhere to really call home.

What problems do youth face when they age out of the foster care system in NYC?

In NYC a youth can remain in foster care until their 21st birthday, at which time they “age out” of the system. When a young person ages out of foster care, they often face a variety of challenges:

  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness notes that 31% to 46% of foster youth will experience homelessness by their early 20s
  • According to Children’s Rights.org, 47% of youth in foster care will face unemployment
  • The National Foster Youth Institute notes that only around 3% of foster youth will earn a college degree

Who can be a parent in the foster care system in NYC?

The NYC foster care system works with a diverse group of foster parents. In order to parent in the foster care system in NYC, you must meet several requirements:

  • Living in a safe home
  • Having an income
  • Being in good health
  • Being at least 21 years old

You do not have to be married to join the foster care community in NYC. There are several steps required to become a parent in the NYC foster care system, including:

  • A background check
  • Training
  • Medical clearance
  • Home study

To learn more about becoming a parent in the NYC foster care system, you can request information online. However, if you can’t become a foster parent, you can still do a lot to help youth in need.

Helping youth transition out of the foster care system in NYC

Young adults don’t have to face these problems alone. City Living NY is dedicated to helping youth transition from the NYC foster care system to adulthood. We’ve delivered thousands of home goods to young people setting up their own apartments for the first time. We also offer in-depth support through our Comprehensive Services Program. We’re committed to the holistic well-being of young adults aging out of the foster care system in NYC. Donate goods or funds today, or contact us to discover other ways to get involved.