Children’s Village offers a wide range of services to support children and their families in a variety of settings. Children’s Village utilizes Community-Based programs, Residential programs, After-Care Support services, engages youth and families in advocacy work, and merged with Inwood House to continue providing education and support for pregnant and parenting teens.
Community-based programs include Foster Care and Adoption, Family Support services, School-integration programs, Teen Outreach, and the Drew Hamilton Community Center. Children’s Village provides training an support to foster parents and families and works to find secure and loving home for youth who are unable to return to their original homes, with a program specifically for teens in their care. Children’s Village was awarded with the Council on Accreditation’s 2017 Innovative Practice award for their Family Finding Department. Family Support services includes Project IMPACT and a Prevention Program that works with families who have a child removed from the home or at risk to be.
The majority of the Residential Programs are provided through Children’s Village’s Dobbs Ferry Campus just outside of New York City, a short-term therapeutic campus with a wide range of services including education, counseling, medical care, recreation, vocational prep, and much more. Dobbs Ferry is available for youth in a variety of circumstance whether they be in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, or a youth immigrating from another country. Community homes within the city are also available for pregnant and parenting teens in the foster care system through the Inwood House division. These homes also provide counseling, education, and support where young mothers can learn skills for independent living.
New York youth who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness have access to two temporary shelters, Maya’s Place through Inwood House in the Bronx and The Sanctuary in Westchester County and are offered counseling and support services. Shared apartments are available for homeless youth while they are working to save up for their own place. Victory House is the center-based shared apartment through Inwood House in the Bronx, and Life’s Bridges has both center-based apartments as well as units throughout the community. In 2017, Children’s Village opened a new building in Harlem that features 60 affordable apartments with 12 of them dedicated for youth aging out of foster care or at risk of homelessness, and these 12 studio apartments have reduced payment options for the youth. Community resources and several of Children’s Village programs will be available on the building’s lower levels.
Aftercare Support services are available to both families and teens through the Children Village. Families have access two Multisystemic Therapy services, the Bridges to Health program, and the STEP program, all of which provide home and community-based services and supports with a focus on supporting families during a teens transition back into the home. Teens have access to the WAY Home program, which provides 2 years of support to youth leaving the foster care system and offers counseling, life skill training, dropout prevention, and youth development. A range of mentoring programs are also offered to teens involved in multiple systems including juvenile justice and foster care to reduce recidivism and promote independent living skills.
The Children’s Village engages in a range of advocacy efforts to support the children and families in their community that includes a Parent Council and Youth Advocacy groups. The Parent Council advocates for programs and services for families and attend parent workshops to support other parents who are struggling, the Parent Council also maintains connections to many of Children’s Village’s Programs. The Youth Advocacy groups include Strictly Business a group of youth in residential care, Youth Advisory Board for youth in the adoption and foster care programs, and Bravehearts a youth-led advocacy group of former and current foster youth to discuss ways to improve the foster care and juvenile justice systems.
Diane Thompson is CEO of Florence Crittenton Services (FCS), located in Charlotte, NC, serving all counties in North Carolina and three bordering South Carolina counties. She earned her Masters Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has worked at FCS for 35 years, committed to the goal of empowering and equipping women and their families.