Preventive Services Available to Adolescents At Risk of Entering New York City’s Foster Care System

Client: Citizens Committee for Children of New York
Faculty: SJ Avery and Susan Swift
Team: Zoe Colon, Deborah Dwoskin, Jennifer Gastrich, John Gentile, Sabrina How
Year: 2005
Citizens Committee for Children (CCC) is a 60-year old child advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure that every New York City child is healthy, housed, educated, and safe. CCC requested that the Capstone team study preventive services available to adolescents at risk of entering the foster care system in NYC. CCC identified adolescents as a key focal population within the child welfare system, given their complex needs and grim outcomes once they have entered the foster care system. The Capstone team researched current preventive services, child welfare policies and funding, NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services initiatives, and model programs. Based on the information gathered, the Capstone team designed a questionnaire for NYC preventive service providers aimed at gathering information regarding the availability of preventive services for adolescents in NYC, gaps incurrent services, potential barriers to care, and suggestions for improved service provision. The Capstone team piloted the questionnaire instrument with five preventive service providers, representing each of the five boroughs and a variety of program sizes with the goal of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the instrument. The Capstone team will provide survey improvement recommendations based on the initial interviews and feedback. The pilot interviews also provided initial data from preventive service providers, allowing the Capstone team to conduct a preliminary analysis. The research of services, policies, funding, and model programs offers insight into the structure and quality of preventive services currently available to at-risk adolescents and their families as well as areas for service improvements. CCC will use the questionnaire to collect data from approximately forty preventive service providers within NYC. The aggregate data will be utilized to lobby for adolescent and family needs, funding, and policy initiatives.