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Foster Care Strategic Blueprint FY 2019- FY 2023

ACS has been a pioneer in the implementation of preventive services to safely avoid foster care entry. While ACS has also made significant gains in addressing the needs of children in foster care over the last several years, important opportunities remain to make a positive difference in the lives of children and families. The next phase of this work is outlined in the five-year ACS Foster Care Strategic Blueprint for FY 2019-FY2023. The five-year plan builds upon the progress made under the 2016-2018 blueprint, and is informed by the recommendations of the Interagency Foster Care Task Force, the findings from a major review of the cases of 2,200 children (the Rapid Permanency Reviews), the findings from the ACS Youth Experience Survey of youth ages 13+, an examination of older youth permanency, an intensive analysis of foster care performance data and input from a range of stakeholders including youth, parents, providers, advocates and others.

Read the Foster Care Strategic Blueprint FY 2019 - FY 2023

Foster Care Interagency Task Force

In March 2018, the Foster Care Interagency Task Force released its report including 16 recommendations designed to improve outcomes for children and families in the foster care system. These recommendations were incorporated into the ACS Five Year Foster Care Strategic Blueprint issued in May 2018. Since the Task Force Report was released in March, we have completed some recommendations and many more are well underway.

To name just a few examples: (1) ACS is launching pilots with four foster care providers to advance the Kinship and Family Time recommendations from the Task Force in order to improve safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for children in foster care; (2) ACS and DYCD have completed a data match that identifies which youth in foster care are and are not in DYCD afterschool programs, and this information is being used to help increase utilization; and (3) DOHMH launched a High Fidelity Wraparound (HFW) pilot in September 2018 for NYC children with serious mental health needs.

Read the complete Interagency Task Force Mid-Year Update.

Foster Care Strategic Blueprint FY 2016 - FY 2018

ACS developed and issued the ACS Foster Care Strategic Blueprint FY 2016-FY 2018 in January 2016. The Blueprint identified key priorities and strategies for improving case practice and results across the foster care continuum—from family reunification to kinship placement to adoption to supporting older youth in care. This focus, combined with the unprecedented investments made by the de Blasio administration to strengthen child welfare, has yielded promising results.

Read the Foster Care Strategic Blueprint FY 2016 - FY 2018

Read the June 2016 Foster Care Strategic Blueprint Implementation Update

RELEASED FEB. 2017: Read the 2016 Year-End Foster Care Strategic Blueprint Report

RELEASED DECEMBER 2017: Read the FY 2017 Foster Care Strategic Blueprint Status Report

Key Progress FY 2016- FY2018:

  • Fewer children in foster care: In FY 2017, there were fewer than 9,000 children in foster care.
  • Increases in Adoption and Kinship Guardianship: From FY 2015 to FY 2016, ACS increased the number of children achieving permanency through kinship guardianship (KinGAP) by 25% and adoption by 5%, even as the overall numbers of children in foster care continued to decline. The numbers of children exiting foster care to KinGAP has steadily increased from 119 in FY 2013 to 275 in FY 2015 to 378 in FY 2017.
  • Fewer children returning to foster care: The proportion of children re-entering foster care following reunification or KinGAP declined from 9.1 percent in FY 2015 to 7.8 percent in FY2016 and 6.3 percent in FY 2017.
  • More children placed with kin:Research shows that children placed with kin have increased placement stability and higher rates of behavioral and emotional well-being than children placed with non-kin caregivers. Children placed with kin are also more likely than those in non-kin foster care to reach permanency overall through reunification, adoption or guardianship.[1] The proportion of children placed with kin when they first enter care has increased from 27% in FY 2016 to 30% in FY 2017 to 32% in the first four months of FY 2018.
  • More foster homes recruited: In the first eight months of FY 2018, there were 21% more new foster homes certified, compared to the same time period last year.
  • Increased resources to improve education and employment outcomes for youth. ACS launched the Fostering College Success dorm project initiative in partnership with CUNY and the New York Foundling; as of FY 2017, 355 foster youth were in college, including almost 100 in the dorm program. In partnership with the College of Staten Island, ACS launched the First Star program, which provides academic and social-emotional support to help ninth grade foster youth stay on track for high school graduation and prepare for higher education. ACS established a new Office of Employment and Workforce Development Initiatives dedicated to improving employment outcomes for youth in the foster care and justice systems, and which has launched multiple new programs in partnership with DYCD and the, Columbia University Workplace Center, as well as a new Driver’s Education program and mentored internship program in partnership with the Pinkerton Foundation.
  • Historically Low Caseloads: Foster care caseworker caseloads average 10-12 children per worker.
  • Scaling of Evidence-Based Services: Foster care agencies are using a nationally recognized screening tool to assess trauma, and proven interventions are being delivered to help children, parents, and families cope with trauma.
  • Cutting Edge Training: The ACS Workforce Institute has trained more than 5,000 ACS and provider agency staff.
  • Data Driven Decision Making: In consultation with national child welfare experts, ACS is utilizing data analytics and structured business process improvement approaches to streamline and improve services to children and families.

  • [1] Sakai et al. Health Outcomes & Family Services in Kinship Analysis of a National Sample of Children in the Child Welfare System (2011).