The Foster Care and Adoption Department ensures that each child in our care is placed in a safe and nurturing environment while awaiting a stable, loving and permanent home. We work towards reuniting children with their birth family or, when this is not possible, to find adoptive homes or independent living arrangements for young adults.
Providing services to children whose birth parents are unable to care for them has been central to our mission since our founding over 75 years ago. Our community-based foster care services serve thirteen community districts in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Children in our care are placed in loving, stable homes as we work with their birth families to resolve the issues that brought their children into care. When children are unable to return home and the court has determined that adoption is the next step, we work to find a permanent home through adoption. In many cases, the child’s foster family is able to adopt them. When that is not possible, we must then find a loving adoptive home.
Children in our care receive a comprehensive range of services including: medical screenings, mental health evaluations and services, developmental screenings and referrals, groups for teens, and case management.
All children deserve safe, nurturing permanent families who can provide an unconditional, lasting commitment to them. Our charge is to make that happen. We engage a network of support, inclusive of community and family members, to empower birth parents to successfully and safely reunify their families and, to reduce the length of time that their children spend in foster care. We will also work closely with birth parents to identify individuals within their own families or social networks who can be a resource for their child. Finally, we recruit loving, committed families to become foster or adoptive resources to the children in our care.
While in her 20’s Natalie struggled with drug addiction and her children were placed in foster care. After years of rehab and the support of her extended family, she recovered from her addiction and her children returned home.
As Natalie (a pseudonym) began to settle into new her life, her sister began similar struggles with drug abuse. It wasn’t long before she too lost her children. Seeing this all too familiar tale unfold, Natalie knew it was her responsibility to support her sister’s family. She didn’t want to see her seven nieces and nephews go through what her children went through.
But this time she wasn’t alone. She had the help of her caseworkers at Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families. After five long years she finally was able to gain full custody of her sister’s children. “I remember the first time I decided to adopt them, I was both happy and overwhelmed, and then finally—the day I was able to officially adopt them! It was an achievement for me to keep my family together.”
It hasn’t been any easy journey; from managing the emotional stress of helping her sister reach and maintain sobriety, to finding suitable housing for her children and her sister’s children (12 in total), to simply dealing with the day to day challenges of being a mom. Natalie attributes her success to the continual support she receives from her caseworkers and her large extended family.
Natalie acknowledges that the decision to keep her sister’s children wasn’t an easy one. Even with the help of her family she had many doubts about her ability to take care of all the children. “It’s a full time job, between parent-teacher conferences, doctor appointments, and after school activities my head is spinning at the end of the day,” says Natalie.
Natalie and her children are now living in Coney Island, where she cares for her family full time. She relies on the help of her family and still, from time to time, she’ll call her Edwin Gould caseworker for additional support.