The Children’s Village President and CEO Dr. Jeremy Kohomban testified before the NYC Council’s Committee on Juvenile Justice on September 21. Citing research and frontline experience, his testimony highlighted the critical need for family engagement to the long-term success of youth involved with the justice system. Dr. Kohomban concluded with three specific recommendations. More Info
Finding Families for Lonely Kids
Maria was sixteen years old and she had no one. She and her two younger siblings had been adopted when Maria was nine years old, but when Maria became too troublesome, her adoptive mother gave up on her and sent her to CV, where her behavior worsened.
We had to do something to give Maria hope, so we called on our Family Finding Team, a group whose job it is to locate and connect kids with lost family members.
Interviewing Maria provided names and approximate ages of eight older siblings. Maria looked through hundreds of Facebook pictures. Nobody looked familiar. Everybody was disappointed.
We even hired a Private Investigator to track down an aunt out of state. No luck. Maria was losing hope.
Out of desperation, the team made a last ditch effort and took Maria for a car ride through Brooklyn, where she hadn’t lived since she was nine. They spent the entire day driving around, relying on seven year old memories to turn down whichever street Maria suggested. Hours into the expedition, Maria spotted a bodega, the kind that is on every other corner of New York City.
“This is it! Turn left, two blocks, turn right. Stop! Seventh floor.”
As they were examining the mailboxes for a matching name, an elderly woman stepped out of the elevator. She remembered Maria, she remembered the family, and she remembered just enough information that our Private Investigator was able to run with it.
In September, Maria went to meet her aunt, who, it turns out, raised all of her older siblings. The aunt had been looking for her, but grew discouraged and lost hope. She wants to care for Maria, as do two other family members.
Maria went from being alone in the world with no identity to being a part of an enormous, loving, and supportive family. See below for how we are finding families for other CV kids.