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In this Issue: A Focus on Policy Advocacy 
+ Family First Transition Fund in the NYS budget!
+ Fostering Youth College Success Initiative receives $6 million
+ Fair Futures holds huge rally

April 2019

Family First Transition Fund
New York is now the first state in the nation to launch a Family First Transition Fund! The first initiative of the CHAMPS NY coalition, the Fund is designed to assist local districts to prepare for full implementation of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act. It is modeled on effective reform efforts seeded by RHF in Onondaga, Westchester and Dutchess counties that have reduced an overreliance on congregate care and prioritized family-based care, particularly certified kinship care. With $3 million in public funding and $600,000 in private funds and in-kind support, this public-private partnership will provide technical assistance and implementation funding to counties so they can review data and current placement practices, and design system improvements to become more family-centered. Counties could choose to allocate funds in support of many strategies, including but not limited to: hire staff such as kinship specialists or parent advocates; provide additional services and supports to kinship and foster families; or train staff in best practices on family search and engagement. CHAMPS NY envisions that the savings resulting from fewer costly congregate-care placements would be reinvested in community-based programs supporting foster and kinship families and to help prevent more children from entering foster care. We hope this will be a 3-year Fund with similar state allocations in follow-on years. To view CHAMPS NY's official press release, click here
Also included in the FY20 State Budget is $6 million for the Foster Youth College Success Initiative (FYCSI)! We congratulate FYSA on this achievement, and are grateful for their commitment to ensuring foster youth in NY have the financial and on-campus programs necessary to be successful in college.  This funding will support about 600 students across 70+ CUNY, SUNY and other colleges in NY.  With approximately $10,000 allocated per student, the funds can be used to cover supplemental financial aid to close the gap that may exist for students; money to cover books, fees, transportation, housing; and other expenses that students may require while in college.  
Fair Futures
With a coalition of 85+ organizations, the Fair Futures campaign is working to provide every young person in NYC aged 14-26 in and aging out of foster care with a long-term coach and academic supports to ensure they can meet their potential. The evidence is strong: while only 22% of youth without these services achieve a high school degree, nearly 90% of foster youth who receive coaching and/or tutoring graduate from high school. But in NYC, only 12% of our foster youth receive these services. To achieve full scale of these successful programs, private foundations have pledged $2 million in financial support and look to partner with the City to fulfill our joint promise to prepare foster youth for a successful adulthood. The return on these investments is clear: more young people educated, employed, housed, and thriving.

On March 25th, Fair Futures held a high-energy rally at City Hall with over 300 supporters. Speakers included Councilmembers Stephen Levin, Robert Cornegy and Barry Grodenchick, child welfare leaders and staff, and most importantly, young people in foster care who have benefited from having a coach. If successful, New York would be the first city in the nation to provide coaching and academic supports to foster youth aged 14 to 26!

See the Fair Futures latest press and follow them on twitter @FairFuturesNY
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