The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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ACS Commish Emphasizes School
Represent staff

David Hansell was appointed Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in February 2017.

Hansell has worked for both private companies and government before, including a job as Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This past August, he met with Represent writers Elvia Victorio, Abigail Johnson, and Demetria Mack to discuss his plans for ACS.

Q: How will you help people aging out of care get housing?

A: Our hope is that few children will age out of care, that they’re able to reunite with their birth families or get adopted. We are focusing on supporting families.

ACS is working with other partners in the city government, including the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), to provide subsidies to help youth aging out to pay for housing.

Q: Do you have plans to help foster teens get jobs?

A: The most important thing is to get an education first. The Fostering College Success Initiative is a close partnership with City University of New York (CUNY) where we support foster kids going through college. Last year we had 40 foster kids, this fall 100, and next fall it’s 200. It provides full tuition at a CUNY campus. They live on campus at Queens College; we pay for all of the board and for books and other things. We have a partnership with New York Foundling. (For more about this program, see the link at the end of this page.)

image by YC-Art Dept

We also work closely with foster care agencies to make sure the kids get the right kinds of career preparation services and counseling, so they’re ready to embark on a job. We would like to get to the point where every New York City foster kid gets that.

Q: How will you work to recruit safe foster parents?

A: One of the good things in New York City is that we have far fewer children in foster care than before. We’re keeping more families together. That means we can be more selective about foster parents.

Q: Is ACS protecting immigrant kids in the system from ICE raids?

A: We are very worried about the Trump administration’s policies. It has always been ACS policy not to report people to immigration authorities. That hasn’t changed.

We work closely with services that help people with immigration issues. We haven’t seen an increase of kids going into care because of deportations yet, but we’re monitoring it.

Q: What’s on the horizon?

A: We’ve formed a new foster care task force that just had its first meeting. It’s government workers like me, people who run agencies; elected officials including City Council members; people from foster care agencies; and foster youth. There are 19 members. The task force will develop recommendations to improve services for youth in care—housing, jobs, education, health and mental health services. We’re excited about that, especially that youth in care are at the table.

Free College, Including Dorms
Learn more about City University of New York programs that benefit current or former foster youth at

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