Educational success is key to building a strong foundation for bright futures
The Difference That Counts
60 % of NAC’s high school graduates go on to college every year
children served each year
86 % school attendance rate for NAC children in foster care, compared to 75.5% of all children in foster care
What is the Education Program?
We believe that education is the key to getting children out of poverty. That is why we go the extra mile to ensure that NAC children have the tools and opportunity to achieve academic success. NAC is unique among child welfare agencies in that we have a team of 11 master’s-level Education Specialists who advocate for children’s needs and work with their teachers, schools, and parents to ensure they have the support to stay in school and graduate from high school, college and beyond.
Education Services at NAC are designed to meet the unique educational needs of children with complex medical conditions and their siblings involved in the child welfare system. Many of NAC’s children require specialized educational, medical, and transportation services in order to attend school. Medical procedures and frequent hospitalizations may also interfere with school attendance and educational progress. That is why each child at NAC receives individualized educational support and advocacy from early literacy to college bound. Our team of Education Specialists make school and home visits, conduct classroom observations, and partner with community based organizations in order to optimally support NAC students and families. Our staff also advocate with the NYC Department of Education to minimize the impact of child welfare involvement on the child’s academic success.
What Services Do We Offer?
Education Services are a key component of NAC’s collaborative model, ensuring not only that children transition out of the child welfare system in a timely manner, but that the young people we serve have the tools and opportunity for academic success and brighter futures.
Services offered are individualized and are provided throughout the child and families involvement with NAC, and include:
- Academic advocacy & support: including home and school visits, teacher consultations, classroom observations, IEP meetings, school transfers, and school applications
- Assessment of appropriate services, classroom settings, and school placements
- Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process support and advocacy
- Early Intervention (EI), Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), and Turning 5 meeting process and advocacy
- School transportation support including problem solving busing issues and utilizing McKinney-Vento protections for children experiencing homelessness
- Advocacy for children requiring medical accommodations in the classroom
- Rights advocacy: due process rights support and representation, mediation support and home and community-based services support
- Tutoring & literacy programs
- Side by Side Learning Program
- College Bound Program
- Literacy for All Book Fair
- Back to School book bag and school supply drive and giveaway
Who is eligible to participate in the Education program?
Support from the education department comes through client involvement in one of NAC’s many other programs and departments. Once a family is enrolled in another NAC program, they can be referred internally to NAC Education. We cannot accept outside referrals.
Our strategies to help achieve educational success:
Many of our children and families have experienced trauma throughout their lives, and through child welfare involvement. We work to understand individual histories, medical challenges, and educational needs. Relationship building between school staff and families is essential to establishing the value and possibility of education and in helping children become confident learners. Taking the time to listen, understand, and care for our children and families is essential in the work that we do.
We are a team of educators and social workers who have the skill to teach our most struggling learners, as well as to effectively support parents in their support of their child’s schooling. As a team we have deep knowledge of school systems and of community-based resources that are available to our clients.
Raising children in New York City isn’t easy, raising children with medical complexity or a disability is infinitely harder. NAC education staff strive to support parents in becoming an active partner with their child’s educators and service providers and in their child’s journey through school.
Additional Supports Available
Learn about the other programs and supports available to all families receiving services at NAC.
- Books and school supplies
- Children and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS)
- Mental Health Clinic
- Medical Clinic
- Autism Center
- Youth Development & Mentoring Programs
- Recreational Services
- Food Bank
- Safe Haven LGBTQI+ Support