Youth
OCFS Youth
E
-Newsletter

Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Roberto Velez, Acting Commissioner

Volume 3

Volume 1, Number 3
 

OCFS Lists Scholarship Opportunities and College Resources

OCFS understands the importance of education for foster youth, and has created a scholarship resource page as a guide to assist you along your educational path.

This guide can serve as a tool to assist you in the process of applying for scholarships, identifying resources, educating yourself and your peers about the opportunities available through higher education, and financing your education.

You can find the resource page at: ocfs.ny.gov/main/youth/scholarly_resources.asp


The National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) Scholarship Fund

The National Foster Parent Association offers scholarships to foster, adopted, and biological youth of licensed foster parents to support the educational endeavors after high school. This includes the attendance at a college or university, vocational/technical school, or junior college.

In order to be considered for the scholarship, your foster parent must be a member of NFPA, which awards five $500 scholarships each year. The application for year 2014 is now closed, but scholarships will be available again for 2015.

It is recommended that you begin gathering supporting documents for your application now if you plan on applying next year.
 
How to Apply for the NFPA Scholarship:

  1. Complete the online application form at nfpaonline.org/youthscholarship
  2. Provide two letters of recommendation from foster parents, social workers, principals, guidance counselors, employers, etc. 
  3. Complete a 300-500 word essay about how your foster care experience has shaped your future goals
  4. Submit the required documents with your online form, or email the documents as an attachment to scholarships@nfpaonline.org

NYC College Line Helps City's College-Bound Students

NYC College Line is a new website containing more than 400 programs and resources that can assist New York City students with applying to, and staying in, college.

You can search for programs by category based on your status. For example, typing “youth in foster care” into the search box will provide you with a list of resources specifically for you!

A web advisor is also available if you need help finding what you are looking for.

Check it out by visiting: nycollegeline.org


Scholarships and Grants for Native American Youth in Care

There is a financial aid directory for members of the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations.

The directory includes local and regional funding sources that offer grants and scholarships for college-bound Native American students!

Click here to visit: fredonia.edu/na/financialaid


Education is the Key: A Success Story

A Brookwood Secure Center student became the facility's first to receive an Associate’s degree through Columbia Greene Community College (CGCC)!

A partnership between Brookwood and CGCC gives residents a chance to earn a college education and interact with volunteers who visit the facility throughout the year.

This is a unique opportunity that opens doors to better opportunities for youth residents at juvenile justice facilities more than ever before.

Congratulations to this student, and others who strive all year to better themselves through education!


CareerZone: Explore Your Career Path

Not sure which career path to take? CareerZone is a website designed by the New York State Department of Labor to explore careers based on individual skill sets, interests, and creative abilities.

CareerZone includes an assessment tool that links you to resources about different careers that may be a good fit for you based on your interests, and provides STEM resources for those interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. 

To learn more, visit: careerzone.ny.gov


YouthBuild Provides Educational, Employment Support for Youth

YouthBuild is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting youth ages 16-24 in obtaining a high school diploma or equivalency diploma while gaining work experience through community development projects for low-income families.

YouthBuild also helps young people with job training, apprenticeships, community service programs, youth development projects, and long-term community housing programs for youth in need of transitional housing while in the program. 

For more information on how to apply, visit: youthbuild.org


Are You Interested in Joining the Military?

The military can be a very challenging and rewarding career to pursue, and it is crucial that you thoroughly do your research before making a decision. Consider talking to some individuals with military experience and recruiters from different branches, and weigh the pros and cons to understand the expectations and requirements for the service you wish to enter.

A few factors to keep in mind:

  • Age
  • Physical ailments or mental health issues
  • Benefits or barriers
  • Advanced training opportunities

Remember to read all of the fine print: don’t sign anything until you have read through all of the documents carefully. You should also inquire about financial assistance for college courses if you are interested in attending while serving.

For more information about military careers, programs, courses, obligations, scholarships, etc., check out the Military Opportunities section of the OCFS Scholarship Opportunities and College Resources for Youth webpage at: ocfs.ny.gov/main/youth/scholarly_resources.asp


Money Management Tips

Understanding finances can be difficult. When people lack financial literacy skills, they often lack an understanding of how money works and aren’t able to make knowledgeable decisions about how to manage their money. Here are some financial literacy tips that can help you save, manage, and start on the right path toward a secure financial future.

  • Prioritize your spending. Should I pay my utilities or purchase a new video game? You want to make sure you prioritize your spending according to what’s more important and beneficial in the end. How can you play the video game if your electricity is cut off?
  • Make a budget. A budget will help you organize so that you have more control over your expenses. Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Save your money for a rainy day. In other words, after you have paid all of your bills and have a little bit of money left over, put it into a savings account.
  • Understand the basics, and the difference between a checking and savings account. Be sure to look at the interest rate and terminal fees. Every bank has fees and charges and it is important to compare cost and fees before making a decision.
  • Be mindful of the pros and cons of credit cards. Credit cards can be a great resource to build your credit, but they can be the cause of bad credit if it is mismanaged. Be very careful of spending or making purchases on credit, because you will be responsible for paying it off with interest later. If you are not comfortable with having a credit card, consider alternative ways to build your credit. This includes opting to use your debit card as credit when making purchases.

Additionally, Youth in Progress has helpful information about money management in a Need to Know brochure. Read it here: ocfs.ny.gov/main/publications/Pub5139.pdf


What You Should Know About Credit and Credit Reports

Youth in foster care can be especially vulnerable to identity theft. In an effort to combat identify theft, federal law requires child welfare agencies to obtain credit reports for foster youth 16 years old and older, and to help youth clean up their credit.

A helfpul guide from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the ChildFocus, Inc., called "Youth and Credit: Protecting the Credit of Youth in Foster Care," can be downloaded online here: aecf.org/resources/youth-and-credit

Contact your direct care provider for more information.


Social Media: How to Protect Yourself

The following are some tips to help you protect yourself if you use social media sites.

  • Personal Information: Don’t give out your personal information over social networks, such as your last name, home address, phone number, school name or address, etc. Millions of people have access to social networks and your information could potentially get in the hands of the wrong person.
  • Passwords: Write your passwords down in a safe and secure place and never share your passwords with anyone. Protect yourself by securing your passwords and making sure to log out of all accounts when using computers. Try not to use the same password for more than one account.
  • Photos: Be very careful when uploading photos or other types of content of others and of yourself on the internet. Anyone, including potential employers, current employers, college or university administrators, etc. can view your photos and your social networking page(s).
  • Online Friends: Don’t arrange to meet anyone online. The online world can be a very dangerous place to interact with people. Some things or people are not always who or what they say they are.
  • Downloading: Before opening or downloading an email attachment or downloading software, make sure the web address reads “https://” in the search bar to assure the link, webpage or download software is secure. Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know. Some attachments may contain viruses and/or spyware that can harm your computer and/or compromise the personal information on your computer.
  • Cyberbullying: Don’t send, repost, share, or respond to messages or blogs that contain insults about someone else through text message, social networks, email, etc. If you or someone you know is a victim of cyberbullying, tell a caseworker, parent, guardian, teacher, school staff, the authorities, or any trusting adult immediately.
  • Age Requirements: Many social networking sites have minimum age requirements and allow you to adjust your settings. Be sure to read the privacy terms carefully and adjust accordingly. They are there for your protection!


FosterClub Provides Stories, Resources, Opportunities for Youth

FosterClub is a national organization that recognizes that youth in care are experts about foster care because of their personal experiences, and strives to educate and improve efforts that are inclusive of the needs of youth.

FosterClub has put young people in care at the table with policy makers, caregivers, and child welfare professionals to advocate, and it provides young leaders like you with information and resources to learn more about events and programs on a national, state, and local level.
 
On its website, you can create and read success stories from other youth in care, access resources and contact information, and more. Go to fosterclub.com to find out how you can get involved.


How Can the Office of Youth Development Help Me?

The OCFS Office of Youth Development (OYD) designs, coordinates, and promotes innovative strategies to advance youth development. OYD administers funding to county youth bureaus to support the following areas:

  • Economic security
  • Physical and emotional health
  • Education
  • Citizenship and civic engagement
  • Families
  • Communities

OYD supports career days and fairs, job shadowing, recreational activities, mental health services, learning disability services, academic services, youth court advocacy assistance, gang prevention and intervention, adoption counseling, LGBTQ services, and more.

To locate your county’s youth bureau, visit the OCFS Youth Bureau Directory web page at: ocfs.ny.gov/main/youth/youthbureaus.asp
 


What is NYTD?

The National Youth in transition Database (NYTD) is a federal program that helps assess a state’s performance in helping youth achieve positive outcomes once they transition out of foster care by looking at independent living services and outcome measure through surveys.

The NYTD survey represents an opportunity for youth to provide information about their experiences within the state’s foster care system that will be used to assess independent living services on a national level.


Meet the CWCS Summer Interns

OCFS is welcoming 13 Division of Child Welfare and Community Services (CWCS) interns this summer. Click here to learn more about each intern!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: 'Home Visit: A Stevie Corra Casework Mystery'

The novel "Home Visit: A Stevie Corra Casework Mystery" by Fred Scaglione follows caseworker Stevie Corra’s fight to find a 16-year-old boy named Shaquan who disappears from a Brooklyn group home. In his search, Stevie encounters obstacles that bring him face-to-face with his troubled past. He also comes across a domestic violence counselor who has a story and past of her own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Submit Your Work to the NYTD Newsletter

Do you have ideas for the newsletter? Do you want your story, artwork, or poem featured in our next newsletter? Submit a reflective essay about your experiences, challenges, and inspirations in foster care! To send material or ask questions, email Kristin Gleeson: Kristin.Gleeson@ocfs.ny.gov