Advocating for Children and Families

The Children’s Village takes pride in our advocacy efforts for children and families. Staff at all levels are involved in letter-writing campaigns, social media efforts,  testifying before New York City Council, serving on Boards, and more. We are active in issues involving LGBTQ youth, homeless teens, teens who are sexually exploited or trafficked, foster children, and families.

A Leader in the Field

President and CEO Jeremy Kohomban is a vocal advocate for change in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. He serves in leadership roles with several advocacy groups:

    • As Chairman of NYC’s Human Services Council, he has led advocacy efforts in support of nonprofits and the need for government to adequately reimburse for work performed on their behalf.
    • He is a Council Appointee on the Administration for Children’s Service’s Foster Care Interagency Task Force.
    • A lead partner for the Children Need Amazing Parents (CHAMPS) campaign, Jeremy serves as co-chair for the campaign’s coalition.
    • Jeremy speaks frequently about the need for support for children currently or formerly in foster care, including at the “Helping Foster Youth Succeed” Philanthropy New York event.

 

In addition, Dr. Kohomban’s articles on the disproportionality of Black and Brown children in poverty and low-performing schools appear in the Huffington Post and other news outlets. See below for a sampling of his published articles.

See our In the News page for a full listing of articles.

LGBTQ Advocacy

The mission of the LGBTQ committee at The Children’s Village is to advocate for the rights and needs of LGBTQ youth, raise awareness of LGBTQ topics through education, and ensure that The Children’s Village is providing a safe and affirming environment for LGBTQ youth, families, employees, and visitors. The committee is open to all staff regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

CV’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) meets weekly and is a time for residents to learn about themselves and the LGBTQ community. They come together in a safe space to learn about and discuss current events as well as how current events affect them personally and as a community. They are able to talk openly about themselves and also support others who may be struggling with personal issues.

Parent Council

The voices and perspectives of parents are essential to success in our work with families. The Parent Council’s main role is advocating for programs and services for families, with a focus on customer service. The Parent Council representatives attend parent workshops to provide support for struggling parents, and maintain connections to many programs to ensure parental voices are heard. To learn more about the Parent Council, contact Parent Advocate Maria Centeno.

Youth Advocacy

We believe it is important for young people to have a voice, particularly as it relates to their own futures. To that end, we encourage the development of youth-led groups in our programs to act as a collective voice to advocate for their needs. For example, CV’s Strictly Business group is comprised of youth in residential care; the Youth Advisory Board is for youth in our adoption and foster care programs; and our Street Outreach Program employs youth advocates who provide peer-to-peer outreach and guidance to street-involved youth. In many of our programs, we employ credible messengers, people who have been in care and can approach our work from the teens’ point of view.

Bravehearts is a youth-led advocacy group of former and current foster youth. We have incubated and supported this group since its inception.  Bravehearts holds weekly meetings and support groups in our Yonkers office to discuss ways to improve the foster care and juvenile justice systems.

View the most recent Bravehearts newsletter.

Undoing Institutional Racism Committee

CV’s Undoing Institutional Racism Committee was formed in 2015 to expand upon the goal of safely keeping kids in families and/or connected to significant adults in the community to include a focus on improving racial equity, empowerment, and representation of people of color at all levels within the Children’s Village team. The group has four primary goals:

  1. Create equal opportunity and access for all staff regardless of race or ethnicity. This objective includes creating better representation of POC on the Administrative/Executive team and the CV Board; to recruit a more diverse workforce at all levels of the organization that better represents the population we serve and has an understanding of clients’ life experience; and to increase internal promotions of POC to management positions. Objective to be assessed by number of promotions by race/ethnicity; total number of staff by race/ethnicity; job categories by race/ethnicity.
  2. Use a race equity lens to safely keep kids in families and/or connected to significant adults as evidenced by (a) increased family participation in FTCs, (b) decreased length of stay/treatment with greater goal attainment, (c) a shift in CV culture to more family-centered rather than child centered, and (d) increasing the number of youth discharged to family or adoption.
  3. Increase cultural competence while supporting safe conversations and helping staff feel secure in conversations with each other and clients. This objective includes (a) increasing cultural competence for managers so that it permeates the agency, (b) ensuring all staff know what to do when a micro-aggression occurs, and that they feel safe doing so, (c) continuing regular, ongoing cross racial dialogues, and (d) developing guidelines and leadership criteria for those leading cross racial dialogues.
  4. External advocacy to voice issues of inequity in child welfare, juvenile justice, and immigrant children. Partner with stakeholders to support efforts toward racial equity and humane policies toward global youth.

Read more here.

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