Jasmine’s Story

I entered foster care at 16 years old and was placed in the home of “Aunt” Nessa, as I liked to call her. Few people knew of my situation; it was our little secret. I was embarrassed by the family dysfunction that led me to this strange place in my life, and with the support of my SCO caseworkers, I realized that education was my way out.

My goal was to attend Spelman College. I faced some naysayers; guidance counselors who said it was too expensive, others who felt I would never get in. But my SCO caseworkers and staff supported my decision. They stayed on top of me, making sure I filled out every document and scholarship. It was the staff’s unwavering support and positive reinforcement that sustained me.

I was accepted to Spelman with scholarships from several organizations as well as financial support from SCO’s education and permanency program, which helped me afford my housing.

But that was just the start of my journey. During summer break, I earned an internship volunteering with foster youth and their families through AmeriCorps that changed my life. I didn’t want any special treatment, so no one at my job was aware of my status as a foster youth. But as I worked in the family visiting room, much like a fly on the wall, I watched young people about my age visiting with the children they had lost custody of, some pregnant again. I saw a vicious cycle happening before my eyes.

It was that summer I realized that as a woman of color, as a foster youth, and as a human being who just cares, it would be a disservice if I didn’t take advantage of my unique pairing of lived experiences and desire to affect change.

Today, I am at Teachers College Columbia University earning my Masters in Clinical Psychology on a full scholarship, so that I, too, can be a source of support for youth in need.

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Residential Living for Youth in Foster Care

SCO’s group residential homes are small, six-bed, home-like environments that are grouped by needs of our youth. Our homes in Brooklyn and Queens provide a supportive home environment for youth in foster care who have multiple challenges. We provide a safe, structured living environment as well as case work management support, clinical services, and an array of other supports with a goal of reunification with family, placement in another family setting, or independent living with or without additional supportive services.

For youth in foster care with emotional and behavioral problems as well as a developmental disability, we offer a structured, therapeutic environment. We provide ongoing care and intensive independent living preparation with a goal of reunification with family, placement in another family setting, or transition to an adult supportive environment.

We offer the only residential programs in New York City for young people in care who identify as LGBTQ, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning. Our programs provide 24-hour care in a uniquely affirming and healing environment. We operate small home-like settings in Brooklyn and Queens that provide a safe, supportive and nurturing space for these youth as they strive for self-awareness and community, family and school acceptance

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Adolescents and young adults in foster care with multiple challenges who need 24/7 supervision

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

Ages 16-21; in foster care; multiple prior failed placements; some homes designated for LGBTQ youth; some for youth with extraordinary needs and/or developmental disabilities

How to Access this Program or Service

NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) foster care services

This program is associated with...

Foster Care

For over 50 years, SCO's Foster Care practice has been helping children and their families grow, heal and thrive. We find safe, temporary families for children and teens throughout New York City and Long Island. Read More

A Vibrant Brownsville

Brownsville, Brooklyn is a vibrant, evolving, and unique neighborhood; and SCO is proud of our partnership with the community for over three decades.  Read More

Success Stories

Jasmine’s Story

From Foster Care to Advocate

Today, I am at Teachers College Columbia University earning my Masters in Clinical Psychology on a full scholarship, so that I, too, can be a source of support for youth in need. Learn More

Carlos’ Story

Carlos (pronoun they, their, them) is an amazing youth who was placed in SCO’s Family Foster Care program over 10 years ago. Carlos has undergone several hardships in their young life, however, they are a resilient youth who has remained focused on their schoolwork. Carlos graduated high school with high… Learn More

We help

1,700

children get ready for kindergarten

91%

of women in our residential recovery program remained substance free

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