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New Grants and Initiatives


RHF's Parent & Youth Advisory Board
RHF is pleased to have launched its inaugural Parent & Youth Advisory Board. The board is comprised of youth and caregivers with lived experience of the foster care system. The purpose of this board is to expand RHF’s understanding of the shortcomings of the system and to receive candid input from our board of experts on how we can improve our current strategies, priorities and grant-making. Already, the board has provided insights on mental health and preventive services, directly impacting RHF’s strategy development in these areas. We are happy to announce that the board members will also lead their own philanthropic investment as a group.

Parent Legal Representation in Westchester County
RHF recently awarded Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) a grant of $450,000 over three years to expand legal services offered to families affected by the child welfare system, including at the pre-petition/investigation stage. This grant allows LSHV to add a Family Defense Appellate component to support a replication of the Family Defense Model (funded by the NYS Office of Indigent Legal Services) deemed a best practice by the Children’s Bureau and the American Bar Association. This enhanced model seeks to decrease unnecessary removals, expedite reunification for children, reduce time spent in foster care and improve overall outcomes for children and families.


Innovative Residential Care Reforms in Partnership with Building Bridges Initiative
RHF and BBI recently announced long-term partnerships with Hillside, Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, and Gateway-Longview to develop best practices for prioritizing family engagement and support, and to build a fiscal model to provide in-home supports so  youth and families can stay together. The goal is to develop a demonstration project and funding model that ensure youth with complex needs and their families can be supported successfully at home, obviating the need for residential placement and putting an urgent focus on lasting reunification. 

Additionally, in response to mounting stress from Covid-19, RHF supported BBI to develop two sensory packages for residential staff to better support youth and families during this difficult time. Check out this new video on how RHF-partner Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference has implemented sensory modulation tools and how it has impacted programming.


Fair Futures 
After securing $12 million in year-two funding from New York City during an incredibly difficult budget year, the Fair Futures coalition and Youth Advisory Board are already ramping up their advocacy in an effort to baseline funding at $20 million. Covid-19 has only exacerbated the challenges for young people in foster care age 11-26, increasing the urgent need for tutors and coaches to provide emotional, educational, and career support during this time of isolation and virtual learning. Fortunately, close to 3000 young people are now being served across all 26 provider agencies, and this year’s goal is for all 8th graders in foster care to apply and be accepted into a best-fit, high-quality high school.

Family First Readiness Support
With the implementation date for Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) in New York State less than a year away, RHF continues to provide technical assistance, virtual learning sessions, practical tools and planning resources to local districts. Please visit FamilyFirstNY.org to download a sample data dashboard you can adapt for your county, watch a replay of the “Finding Family and Beyond: Supporting Kinship Families for Success” learning session, or access an array of other Family First Readiness tools. 
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