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MediaReports & Publications

The Future for Teens in Foster Care:
The Impact of Foster Care on Teens and a New Philosophy for Preparing Teens for Participating Citizenship

Caring For Our Children:
Improving the Foster Care System for Teen Mothers and Their Children

Rights and Advocacy Guidelines
A Guidebook for Adolescents In and Aging Out of Foster Care


The Future for Teens in Foster Care

Over the past 12 years, we have talked to hundreds of teenagers in foster care about their lives. We have found that you can ask one set of questions and be overwhelmed and saddened by the forces that surround youth: poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, violence and incarceration. You can ask another set of questions and be outraged by the injustices they have suffered in foster care and the violations and humiliations they endure each day. Or you can ask a different set of questions and be inspired by their hopes and dreams, their varied interests, their commitments and passions and their desire to participate fully in society.

In this report, as in our work at the Youth Advocacy Center, we focus on the third set of questions. Teens in foster care must have the opportunity to become participating citizens; we define participation as pursuing one’s interests and contributing in the public sphere through employment and civic engagement. Too frequently, the foster care system does not provide this opportunity.

There are enormous gaps among child welfare policy, its practice and teens’ actual experiences. This report is informed by our own experiences as lawyers and program developers working in the foster care system. More importantly, it is informed by the perspective of youth in foster care and those who have left the foster care system.

For a .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) file containing the full report, click here.

To order a hard copy of our report for $12, please email yac@youthadvocacycenter.org or call us at 212-675-6181

Caring For Our Children

Published in 1995, this report by Betsy Krebs, Esq., and Nedda de Castro, CSW, documents the shortcomings in the foster care system to effectively deal with teenage mothers.

Each year, hundreds of teenage girls living in foster care have babies and must cope with the child welfare bureaucracy that often seems to be set against their efforts to build a strong family. These teens and their babies face obstacles which other parents and children do not. Many of these problems were widely recognized by youth and child welfare professionals for years, but had never been documented.

In 1994, Youth Advocacy Center began research to identify and document the issues surrounding the placement of pregnant and parenting teenagers in the New York City foster care system. The focus of Caring for Our Children is the perspective of the teens who go through the system. YAC surveyed over 60 pregnant and parenting teens in foster care, held group meetings and interviews with these teens and conducted interviews with social workers and city officials working in the system. In the summer of 1995, YAC convened a task force of teen mothers in foster care to prioritize the problems we identified and develop recommendations for change.

For a .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) file containing the full report, click here.

Rights and Advocacy Guidelines

Have questions about your rights in foster care? Youth Advocacy Center developed Rights and Advocacy Guidelines (© 1996) to address common questions about New York City teens’ rights in foster care and as they age out of the system-everything from adoption to clothing allowances to college assistance to immigration questions. Written by Betsy Krebs and Evette Soto-Maldonado, Esq., YAC originally published the Guidelines in 1996, and the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Division updated them in 2002. The Guidelines are based on New York State and City laws and regulations of New York City's Administration for Children's Services. It also has useful information about social services and legal service organizations that help teens.

For a .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) file containing the full report, click here.