A collection of columns on the future of family support in New York City written by Nora McCarthy, co-founder of the Family Policy Project.

Upstream City


Upstream City: To Move Forward, Apologize and Atone

In the final installment of Upstream City, Nora McCarthy calls on New York City to apologize and atone for past wrongs in child welfare.

Upstream City


A Citywide Framework To Hold Upstream Efforts Accountable

Nora McCarthy on the need to measure progress as New York City increases efforts to move upstream and prevent child welfare involvement

Upstream City


Upstream City: Child Welfare Systems Should Be Allies, Not Leaders, in Transformative Change

An “upstream” approach should not be an argument for expanding the size or scope of child welfare systems, writes Nora McCarthy.

Upstream City


Upstream City: Towards a Pro-Community Process for Government Funding

Illustration by Christine Ongjoco.
In February, the anti-trafficking organization Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) announced that payment delays in city contracts might put it out of business. Two weeks later, it was the large social service agency Sheltering Arms going belly up, unable to pay its bills because of a similar reimbursement abyss. 

Upstream City


Upstream City: To Change Conditions for Families, Shift Power Out of Systems

Community-led decision-making is key to real transformation of neighborhood conditions and support for families.

Upstream City


Upstream City: Developing Restorative Pathways to Safety

Nora McCarthy on the value of developing restorative pathways for families to achieve safety without system involvement

Upstream City


Upstream City: Expand Healing at the Community Level to Protect Families

A healing agenda needs to end policies that perpetuate pain and expand access to a variety of practices that combat the effects of community trauma, writes Nora McCarthy.

Upstream City


Upstream City: Narrowing Mandated Reporting Laws that Fuel Hyper-Surveillance

It’s time for New York city and state to use every tool available to replace mandated reporting with community support, writes Nora McCarthy.

Upstream City


Upstream City: Intentional Investment in the Social Fabric of Neighborhoods Can Lift Families

Safety grows in neighborhoods where residents look out for one another and band together to solve problems, writes Nora McCarthy.

Upstream City


Upstream City: How Neighborhood Conditions Drive Child Welfare Involvement

We need to understand how neighborhood conditions impact families and address the conditions that raise the risk of child welfare involvement, writes Nora McCarthy.

Upstream City


Upstream City: Policies that Scaffold Family Life

Despite promising headwinds in "upstream" investments, New York’s safety net remains difficult and time-consuming to access and full of holes, writes Nora McCarthy.

Upstream City


Upstream City

In Upstream City, Nora McCarthy will explore the complexities of what an upstream approach might look like in New York City.