Frequently Asked Questions


What is NAC?

New Alternatives for Children (NAC) is a not-for-profit health and social services agency whose exclusive mission is to serve children with medical disabilities and/or chronic illnesses and their families. We provide comprehensive health and social services to support family preservation, reunification, or adoption.

Why was NAC founded?

  • The growing number of "hospital boarder children" was reaching crisis proportions.
  • Prolonged hospitalization is detrimental to these children's mental and physical well being.
  • No other social service agency had taken responsibility for serving these special children.
  • The cost of home care is only a fraction of that of hospitalization.

Who is eligible for NAC assistance?

NAC serves children with medical disabilities and/or chronic illnesses and their families living in the five boroughs of New York City. NAC serves children who have conditions including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, cancer, fetal alcohol syndrome, prematurity and low birth weight, chronic respiratory and pulmonary problems, AIDS/HIV+, physical anomalies, or serious burns and injuries from child abuse or accidents.

The families who come to NAC have one or more medically fragile children. The children predominantly are Medicaid eligible. The families often have a unique constellation of social, economic, environmental and practical problems that affect their ability to meet the needs of the family. Family problems and circumstances may include, but are not limited to poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, immigration and language barriers, parental illness, mental health problems, and illiteracy.


What are the Goals of NAC?

  • To provide support services to children with disabilities and their families.
  • To move children with disabilities out of hospital settings as rapidly as possible into stable home environments (either with biological, foster, or adoptive parents).
  • To integrate children with disabilities into their family circle and community.
  • To create permanent, stable homecare programs for the long-term care of children with disabilities.

What Programs does NAC Offer?

  • Preventive Services
  • Sibling Services
  • Partners in Parenting (PIP)
  • Foster Care and Adoption
  • Post Legal Adoption Services (PLAN)

What services does NAC provide?

  • Comprehensive needs assessments of children and families to determine social services necessary for discharge and stable home environment.
  • Consultation and treatment provided by a staff of interdisciplinary professionals, including social workers, health care specialists (physicians, pediatric nurses, psychiatrists, etc.), psychologists, educational experts, legal service advocates, homemakers, and child life specialists.
  • Linkages with hospitals, social service agencies, special camps and schools, welfare and mental health centers, housing authorities, and volunteer organizations.
  • Individual and group counseling support for parents of disabled children to teach coping skills for handling the emotional and physical challenges of home care.
  • Sibling groups to deal with the special problems of living with a disabled or chronically ill brother or sister.
  • Financial aid for emergency situations, housing improvements, and special medical needs.
  • Coordination of homemaker services.
  • Coordination of respite care to alleviate stress of new responsibilities of home care.
  • Placement of children in appropriate educational programs.
  • Transportation arrangements for hospitals and medical visits, parent and sibling support group meetings, camp and school visits, interviews, and special community programs.
  • 24-hour hot-line providing support and assistance seven days a week.
  • Foster and adoptive placement, when necessary.
  • Substance abuse counseling, treatment, and support groups.
  • Art Therapy and Family Therapy.


What are the program results?

  • Children with severe disabilities are being successfully placed in permanent and stable family situations.
  • The children's development, which usually lags during a prolonged hospitalization, quickly catches up due to the increased stimulation of returning to a normal environment.
  • All of the children appear happier and healthier, and hospital stays are shorter and less frequent.
  • NAC-facilitated medical care circumvents inefficient and unsuccessful fragmentation of medical services.
  • Parents and children improve their self-image and learn to advocate for their rights to social and legal services for the treatment of their special needs.
  • Support for parents at home lessens stress and improves family relationships.
  • Costs are decreased, since it is far less expensive to care for a child at home than it is in an institution.

How do I become a NAC Volunteer?

Contact the Director of Volunteers, at volunteers@NacKidsCan.org.

How do I make a donation?

You can make secure, tax deductible donation online by clicking this link. To make a donation by mail, please send your check made out to New Alternatives for Children to 37 West 26th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10010. To make a gift by phone, please call Cindy Cavalli, Executive Assistant to Dr. Goldsmith, at (212) 696-1550.

Problems or questions? Please email supportnac@NacKidsCan.org


How do I become a Foster Parent or an Adoptive Parent?

How can I find services for my adopted child with special needs?

Contact the Director of Post Legal Adoption Services plan@NacKidsCan.org.

How can I become a part of NAC's Preventive Services?

Contact the Intake Coordinator of Prevention, at prevention@NacKidsCan.org.

How do I become a part of Partners in Parenting (PIP)?

Contact the Director of PIP, at pip@NacKidsCan.org.


Copyright© 2008-2017 New Alternatives for Children, Inc.

37 West 26th St. New York, NY 10010