OCFS Youth

Volume 2

Volume 1, Number 2

What is the NYTD?

The National Youth in transition Database (NYTD) is a federal program that will help assess a state’s performance in helping youth achieve positive outcomes once they’ve transitioned 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.

Reminders to Students for the Upcoming Semester

  • Visit to learn more about resources available to you.
  • Find a mentor. Apply for an e-mentor at:
  • Visit to see if you are eligible to receive the Education Training Voucher of up to $5,000 per academic year. Deadlines are quickly approaching, so apply now!
  • Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss how you can prepare and register for the SAT and ACT exams.
  • Maintain your grades. Try your best, hard work pays off! 
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities you enjoy.
  • Believe in yourself!

Educational Resources for College-Bound Youth

OCFS recognizes the importance of education as an essential tool to a successful transition out of care. The following are resources that can help you throughout your educational journey:

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an online application that allows students to apply for federal student aid that includes grants, loans and work-study for students applying or already attending college or a career program.

When applying for student aid through the FAFSA, please be sure to check the box that asks if you are or if you were previously in foster care or a ward of the court.

Access the FAFSA application, tips and tools at:

To supplement your FAFSA application you must mail a court sealed letter that highlights that you are a ward of the court to support your application. The application must be mailed to:
Higher Education Services Corporation
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12255

To follow-up on the status of your documents, call: (888) 697-4372.

The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is separate from the FAFSA application. TAP is a federal grant available to New York State residents applying to schools within New York State. Students eligible for TAP can receive up to $5,000 per year toward tuition.

To be considered for the grant, students must:
a) Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or hold an I-94 visa as a refugee, paroled refugee, or conditional entrant
b) Be a resident of New York State
c) Maintain a “C” average four semesters after receiving TAP
d) Have a high school diploma, GED or Ability to Benefit (ATB) test 

For more information, or to access the TAP application, visit: 

The State University of New York (SUNY)’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) provides students a chance to attend college.

Two separate applications can be submitted for both EOP and regular admission. Application fee waivers can be provided based on your ward of the court status. Please be sure to discuss with your high school guidance counselor/college advisor your interest in EOP and how to apply. Be sure to check the box on the SUNY application that asks “Would you like to be considered for EOP?”
Required records:
1) High school records
2) SAT, ACT, Regents and other standardized test scores
3) Extracurricular activities and involvement in clubs, hobbies, academic fair contest participation, jobs, and any other experiences that made an impact on your education. Be sure to highlight all of the things you are involved in! 

Educational Opportunity Program students are eligible to receive academic, career, and personal counseling, tutoring, advisement, and other support services. As part of a student's overall financial aid package, the Educational Opportunity Program also provides financial assistance for books, supplies, study abroad, etc.

Year Up
Year Up is a non-profit organization that works to empower urban youth through a one-year intensive training and educational program that provides GED recipients and college graduates with the skills and training necessary to participate in corporate internship opportunities.

Youth who participate in the program can earn up to 23 college credits and wages. The first six months of the program focuses on developing technical and professional skills, and the second half of the program focuses on applying these skills at a designated corporate internship.

Year Up serves youth who reside in the New York City area, among other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. You must reside or be able to commute to one of their locations.

Many students who successfully completed the Year Up training were placed into corporate internships or gained employment or enrolled in a post-secondary institute full time upon completion of the program.

If you are or someone you know is a recent GED recipient or high school graduate interested in gaining college credit, developing professional skills, and opening new doors for opportunities, contact Admissions Specialist Candace Winfield at or call (703) 312-9327 extension 1213.

Save For Your Future!

Interested in investing in your future? Want to start saving for college? Start investing by opening up a savings account with the New York 529 Direct Savings Plan today for as little as $25.

The New York Direct Savings Plan charges a program management fee of 0.17 percent, which means for every $1,000 you invest, only $1.70 in fees will be charged to your account per year. The investments can be used at any eligible accredited two- or four- year college, vocational, technical, or graduate school in the U.S. or abroad.

It can also be used for room and board expenses, book supplies, transportation, etc.

To open an account, visit:

Stay Motivated! You Can Do It, Too!

New York City Young Adult Internship Program

The New York City Young Adult Internship Program provides youth between the ages of 16 and 24 years old who may not be employed or enrolled in school with the opportunity to learn job-readiness skills through a short term internship opportunity.

For the first 14 weeks, youth have the opportunity to participate in a paid training and work orientation, followed by nine months of follow-up services and assistance for placement in permanent jobs, training programs, and educational opportunities.

The program has locations in all five boroughs of New York City. Placements are offered in a variety of field including construction, hospitality, healthcare, and retail. For more info, call 1-800-246-4646.

The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act is a federal program that provides people with access to health insurance, and allows current and former youth in care to remain on Medicaid until age 26, regardless of income or resources.

Discharged youth in the custody of the commissioner of a local department of social services or OCFS on their 18th birthday are eligible. Youth already enrolled in the Medicaid program on their 18th birthday or the dates of their final discharge are eligible as well.

Visit the following OCFS website for information about the Affordable Care Act and other health resources:

(N2K) Need to Know: Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. 

It  happens in urban and rural communities across New York State, and is a serious crime.

State and federal laws are designed to protect victims and punish those who are convicted of human trafficking offenses.

Learn more about human trafficking, the law, warning signs, and how you can protect yourself.

Be sure to pass the information along to your friends!


(N2K) Need to Know: Are You a Native American Youth in Care?

To qualify as a Native American youth in care, you must be:

A) Under the age of 21 in foster care prior to your 18th birthday;
B) The biological child of a member of a Native American tribe;
C) Eligible for membership in a Native American tribe, or
D) Already a member of a Native American tribe.

For more information, visit:

NYTD Update: NYTD-17 Survey

We are a few months into the 2013 NYTD-17 survey of 17 year-old youth in care.

New York State currently has more than 350 youth eligible to participate in the survey! The information provided will be used to help understand the necessary services and programs that will promote successful transition for youth in care. Be sure to complete the survey as soon as you turn 17 years old -- 45 days after your 17th birthday, you are no longer eligible to take the NYTD survey. 

Youth who complete the survey are entered in a drawing to win a gift card worth up to $100!

You may submit your responses via phone, paper or web survey at:

If you have any questions about NYTD, please ask your caseworker, email or call (518) 925-1674.

NYTD's Youth Leadership Team: Get Involved!

Let your voice be heard! The Division of Child Welfare and Community Services at OCFS is launching a NYTD Youth Leadership Team. This team, coordinated by Raven Profit, will involve youth in each region who are interested in getting the word out about NYTD to youth.

The NYTD youth leaders will participate in monthly planning calls, draft outreach materials, and facilitate NYTD youth events.

All interested youth should contact Raven Profit at:

Question of the Month

Are you attending YIP meetings? For information about meeting locations and times, email Erika Leveillee:













Word of the Month: Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s own strength and abilities, or a person’s ability to motivate themselves to accomplish a goal. It can be acquired through knowledge, determination, perseverance, and self-motivation.

Believe in yourself! Learn from your mistakes! Never give up! Challenge yourself!













Are You a Youth in OCFS Care?

Your voice is important to improve conditions in residential facilities. Get involved in the Resident Council in your facility! The meetings are monthly, and feedback from the group is formally submitted to the Department of Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth. Your participation may provide an opportunity to attend outside events and represent the facility.













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 submit material or ask questions, email Kristin Gleeson: