The Fair Futures coaching program for youth in foster care is expanding to serve young people involved in New York City’s justice system, thanks to new financial awards from the city’s Administration for Children’s Services.
The awards — being granted to Children’s Village and Bard College — are aimed at offering workforce development programming to justice-involved youth. Part of this work will involve Fair Futures coaches working with middle and high school students in detention to provide connections to tutoring, and comprehensive social-emotional, academic, career development, employment, housing, and independent living supports.
“I firmly believe that a bend in the road is not the end of the road, and it shouldn’t limit a young person’s opportunities,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a press release. “By expanding the Fair Futures program to include justice-involved youth, we are making true progress to becoming a better city.”
Fair Futures launched in 2019 and since then has been providing trained, salaried coaches to work with foster youth from middle school through age 26, providing guidance on education, housing, and career prep, and emotional and social support. In announcing the new expansion, the Administration for Children’s Services touted the program’s success working with this population.
Early results provided by Fair Futures show that in its second year, 90% of participants reached at least one of their academic or career development goals, and a greater percentage of youth in foster care were admitted to higher-performing high schools.
With a $10 million initial investment, New York City was the first to make a public investment of this kind in long-term mentoring services for foster youth. Despite the economic turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic, the city increased funding to the growing program. The program has been implemented throughout all foster care agencies in New York City, and has served more than 3,000 youth, according to the organization’s website. In addition to expanding into the justice system, Fair Futures is also running a pilot program to bring its coaching model to youth in Buffalo and Erie County.
*The Hilton Foundation and the Redlich Horwitz Foundation, which provide funding to Fair Futures, also provide funding to The Imprint’s parent organization, Fostering Media Connections. They had no involvement with this article, per our editorial independence policy.