Our Mission & History

NYFC was established in 1996 to fill in the gaps within New York City’s child welfare system that government funding alone cannot support.

NYFC partners closely with New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), and all 26 of the city’s foster care agencies to protect, ensure, and promote the safety and well-being of NYC’s children and families, with a focus on youth in foster care.

Our Founder

NYFC was founded by Nicholas Scoppetta, the former Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Having gone through the New York City foster care system himself, Nick devoted much of his life to ensuring that youth in foster care have the opportunity to lead lives of value, dignity, and joy. NYFC’s continued partnership with ACS provides a unique opportunity to significantly impact New York City’s child welfare system.

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Putting Education First

We work to enroll older foster youth in college, support them through graduation, and help them gain the skills needed to enter the workforce by providing:

  • Direct academic scholarship programs
  • Innovative pilot programs
  • Youth development events
  • Wraparound supports, including one-on-one academic coaching and mental health support
  • Technology for schoolwork
  • Emergency funding coupled with financial coaching

Providing A Safety Net

NYFC is a safety net for our city’s most vulnerable and resilient young people. For this reason, our focus is on youth who are aging out of the system and are at the greatest risk of depression, poverty, homelessness, and interactions with the criminal justice system.

Each and every youth that we serve has touched the New York City child welfare system in some way, nearly all of them under the guardianship of ACS. We’re here to support them as they move forward.

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Our Unique Approach

NYFC provides direct services and scholarship support to about 1,000 youth annually, in addition to overseeing about 32 unique projects, including 20+ grants from foundations and corporations to support education programs and pilot initiatives on behalf of ACS.

The overarching goal of NYFC’s direct services and grant management strategy is to increase the educational attainment, life skills, and career readiness of youth in care and to support the New York City child welfare system by launching informative pilot programs that help inform the work of ACS.

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NYFC Through The Years

January
1996 April
1996 1999 2003 2006 2007 2012 March
2016 October
2016 June
2018 August
2018 June
2019 August
2019 2020

January 1996

The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) was created, and Nicholas Scoppetta was appointed as the first Commissioner.

April 1996

Nicholas Scoppetta, a former foster care youth himself, established New Yorkers For Children to help fill in the gaps of government resources.

1999

NYFC launches the Back to School Package Program (BTS), which focuses on providing vocational or college-enrolled youth in foster care and aged out youth with the tools they need to succeed, such as brand-new laptops and stipends for school supplies. To date, BTS has served nearly 15,000 youth from NYC’s foster care system.

2003

NYFC hosts its first Network to Success (NTS); our signature non-scholarship youth development event that seeks to expose high school and college aged youth from the wider NYC foster care community to a variety ofcareers, related educational prerequisites, and skills needed to successfully enter the workforce from an empowered position. The event consists of a panel of experts across various fields, a Q & A, and activity stations where youth learn skills such as resume writing, interviewing, personal branding, and more.

2006

The flagship NYFC Guardian Scholars program is created, which provides comprehensive supports for youth in foster care who are enrolled at HunterCollege, John Jay College, City College, and Kingsborough Community College.

2007

NYFC establishes the peer-led Youth Advisory Board (YAB). The group is made of current and former foster youth, ages 15-26, who meet monthly to support each other as they navigate the transition from care into independent adulthood, enter college, and pursue meaningful careers.

2012

The Charles Evans Emergency Fund was designed for young adults that have aged out of foster care who are facing a financial emergency while enrolled in college or an accredited vocational program which would otherwise interrupt their education. Youth apply to this fund for a multitude of reasons, including tuition assistance, unforeseen unemployment, overdue rent or emergency housing assistance, hefty unforeseen medical bills, and other urgent situations.

March 2016

Our beloved founder, Nicholas Scoppetta, passes away at the age of 84 after faithfully serving New York City for over 50 years.

October 2016

NYFC receives $1.2 million from The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to establish The Nicholas Scoppetta Scholarship (Nick’s Scholars),as an expansion of Guardian Scholars. Named after our beloved founder, Nick’s Scholars allowed NYFC to triple the amount of youth served through the Guardian Scholarship Program and deepen the supports provided. Nick’sScholars is designed tosupport foster youth pursuing their Bachelor’s and Associate’s Degrees from enrollment through graduation. For up to 5 years, scholars receive one-on-one college advisement and coaching from NYFC’s Youth Academic Advisor, monthly stipends to cover living expenses, tuition assistance, various networking and community-building events, referrals to personalized services such as academic tutoring, housing resources, specialized career counseling, private mental health services, and more.

June 2018

NYFC launched an intensive, multi-year pilot program in New York City known as LifeSet, designed by Youth Villages, a leading national non-profit organization based in Memphis, Tennessee. The overarching goal of the program is to improve outcomes across the board for youth transitioning out of foster care by giving them the resources and tools they need to reach their full potential. LifeSet currently operates in 10 states, including Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The LifeSet model provides a comprehensive array of services and tightly regulated supports to transition-age youth in foster care, which include daily living and basic life skills, employment and education coaching, financial literacy, social supports that help establish strong adult relationships, and more. This program is designed to be highly customizable, allowing the specialists to tailor the services offered to meet the exact needs of the youth. The program will serve approximately 300 youth, ages 17 to 22, over three years. Four local NYC foster care agencies – SCO Family of Services, Children’s Aid, Good Shepherd Services,and NY Foundling- were competitively selected to recruit, enroll, and serve the program’s participants.

August 2018

Due to the popularity of The Charles Evans Emergency Program, NYFC launched The In-Care Emergency Fund specifically for youth who are still in foster care and in the custody of ACS. Similarly to Charles Evans, youth apply to this fund for a multitude of reasons, including tuition assistance, unforeseen unemployment, overdue rent or emergency housing assistance, hefty unforeseen medical bills, and other urgent situations.

June 2019

The Financial Empowerment Fund is a merit-based scholarship was established in partnership with First Republic Bank to help ease the financial burden of pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree. Five scholars were awarded up to $5,000 each, and were assigned a First Republic Bank volunteer to serve as their Financial Coach. Once per semester, the students and coaches met to discuss such topics as navigating student loan debt, establishing credit, the basics of budgeting, money management, filing taxes, and more.

August 2019

In response to youth feedback asking for more formalized leadership development, NYFC launched the Peer Mentoring Program as an expansion of our YAB. NYFC partnered with the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) to provide training to older and aged out upperclassmen in college to become Certified Peer Educators who are equipped to act as mentors to younger high-school aged youth or underclassmen in college, or mentees. In this program, the Peer Mentors are matched with mentees, and support them in the transition out of the child welfare system, navigate college, and establish successful independent adulthoods. To date, over 100 youth have received the Peer Education Certification training.

2020

In March 2020, COVID-19 struck New York City and NYFC sprang into action. Partnering with ACS, together we have raised nearly $1.5 million dollars to support vulnerable children, youth, and families involved in NYC’s child welfare system; including nearly $500,000 worth of direct emergency cash grants to almost 1,000 older and aged out youth in NYC foster care through NYFC’s Emergency Grants Program.

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