Stories by and for parents affected by the welfare system.
Youth-written stories that give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.
The following have been published by TFC Board members.
"City of One: A Memoir" by Francine Cournous, MD
Altman, N. (2014) "The End of the Funnel" In: ( Vaughans, K & Peilberg, W,. Eds) The Psychology of Black Boys and Adolescents. Santa Barbara, CA, Denver, CO & Oxford, England: Praeger 2014 pp. 553-562.
An award winning essay written by a TFC Client.
17th Annual Awards for Youth in Foster Care
Republished with permission of Youth Communication and Represent Magazine (www.representmag.org).
Most people would agree that your family is supposed to be your biggest support system. They are the people that should always be there to push you to your full potential and love you when you’re feeling down on yourself. All of your dreams and aspirations can fade away without people there to back you up. When I was growing up I never felt like I had that close bond with anyone in my family. After being placed in the foster care system, I was adopted by my Aunt Stacey and went to live with her and my cousins in Roosevelt Island, NYC. I did not feel a connection with anybody in my household. I realize that they had their own problems to deal with too, but it was frustrating for me at that age not having anyone to open up to, especially after all that I had been through, and as a result of this frustration I became distant. My distance and behavior issues made my aunt uneasy. She made me go to counseling, which I hated because of my trust issues. Counselors became temporary for me as well, until one day I met a woman named Mrs. Fall Willeboordse.
When I went to go meet Mrs. Fall for the first time, it was a beautiful day outside. The sun was shining very bright and I had just gotten out of school. I was 12 at the time. My aunt was waiting for me in front of the school since she was going to drive me to our first session. When I arrived at the building, I was thinking, “I don’t feel like doing this, I would much rather be sleeping right now.” Inside, my aunt and I waited in a dark blue waiting room. I picked up a magazine and tried to relax. I had a little attitude because I had been to plenty of buildings like this one before and had seen plenty of counselors. I wasn’t in the mood for a counseling session at all. When Mrs. Fall finally came out she said, “Hello, you must be Shateek Palmer I am Fall Willeboordse but you can call me Fall.” As a response, I just nodded my head and followed her into her office.
For the first couple of sessions, my aunt came with me so I was only talking because she was there. After she left, I became distant again. I think Mrs. Fall knew that I didn’t trust her because she wouldn’t force me to talk as much. I really wasn’t enthusiastic about being there because I thought that she was just doing her job. So instead, we would play the card games “war” and “spit” or watch videos on her laptop. One day she took me out to eat because I was hungry. When we left the office, I felt more comfortable speaking to her when we weren’t sitting in a quiet setting. The name of the diner she took me to was called, “Hollywood Diner.” We started going there regularly for our sessions. It seemed easier to talk in the diner’s atmosphere. They had the best vanilla milk shakes called Super Thick Vanilla Milkshakes, and Mrs. Fall and I would always share a spinach and feta cheese omelet or a turkey burger with cheddar cheese.
After a while I began to open up more to Mrs. Fall. We shared a lot of things about each other’s lives. Once I finally felt I could trust her, I told her that my distance in the beginning came from me assuming that she was only helping me because she had to. That is when she told me that the program she met me through, The Fostering Connection, is a non-profit program and she wasn’t getting paid to be with me at all. This was a big shock to me because I felt like somebody actually WANTED to be around me and know about my thoughts and dreams. Over time, she really built my trust up by consistently being there for me, sharing things about her, and taking a real interest in the things that were important to me, like my basketball games and poetry. Having her at my games made me want to play better on and off the court, because I always felt that having somebody there would motivate my drive to work harder. Her interest in my poetry encouraged me to write more, which made me feel like I had a talent worth sharing. Mrs. Fall honestly helped me accomplish so much. She helped me get a summer internship at Represent magazine and she continued giving me support. With all of my unhappiness at home, my problems with my aunt, my mother, and my cousins, Mrs. Fall was the one that kept my head above water.
Out of every counselor that I had, Mrs. Fall is the one that is still here today. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have found my love for writing. I don’t think I would even be out of high school. She saw my potential, she knew I was smart, and she never gave up on me. I am 18 years old now and I just finished my first semester at Onondaga Community College with a 3.9 GPA! This is a huge change in me, considering I was self-sabotaging my studies in middle and high school due to my anger. Although I do not see Mrs. Fall every week like I used to, we still keep in touch constantly through text and email. Our communication is what’s keeping our relationship growing. I love talking to Mrs. Fall and this is a bond that I want to keep strong for the future. She helped change my life for the better. She was there for me, and she still is. I am truly thankful for all of Mrs. Fall’s support because that is the one thing that I needed to keep me going when I felt like giving up.
The Administration for Children' s Services (ACS)
Provides community snapshots for NYC that provide detailed information, broken down by district, in the following areas: demographic indicators, abuse/neglect and victimization rates, foster care census and placement information, preventive services enrollment and referral figures, and child care and head start enrollment statistics.
We educate & mobilize New Yorkers to make the city a better place for Children. Our advocacy combines public policy, research and data analysis with citizen action. We cast a light on issues, educate the public, engage allies and identify & promote practical solutions to ensure that every New York City child is healthy, housed, educated & safe.
An invaluable partner with The Fostering Connection in our efforts to support children and families affected by foster care with high quality mental health services. One of the nation's leading organization in child advocacy, TFC works with juvenile rights staff from all five boroughs to support them and their clients.