Public Policy

Advocacy that puts children and families first

The Office of Public Policy manages and implements an advocacy-driven strategy focused on issues that affect children and families living in New York City’s most under-resourced neighborhoods. Through coalition building and legislative and budget advocacy, the Public Policy team is a key component of the comprehensive counterattack Children’s Aid leads against the obstacles that threaten the well-being of children and their families.


By educating city, state, and federal leaders about the struggles our families face—and how Children’s Aid succeeds in helping them—we can influence important decisions and create impact.

While the bedrock of the Children’s Aid mission is providing direct support for the children, youth, and families we serve, it’s critical that we take a strong stance on issues that affect lower-income families. These efforts have raised the profile of the organization and made us a go-to thought leader on education, social service, and other issues related to poverty.

Making 50,000 voices heard

The Public Policy team cultivates and builds strategic external partnerships and relationships with government agencies and elected and appointed officials at the city, state, and federal levels. The team also manages the organization’s participation in key campaigns, coalitions, and alliances, all with the end goal of bridging policy and practice. 

Some of the key issues the organization has worked on in recent years include:

  • expanding early childhood education services, including universal pre-k;
  • promoting evidence-based pregnancy prevention programs;
  • advocating for increased access to year-round afterschool and summer programming;
  • growing the number of summer youth employment opportunities;
  • demonstrating the efficacy of school-based health centers;
  • increasing opportunities for youth in care; and
  • promoting and sustaining community schools.
Coalition Building

There is strength in numbers when it comes to battling for funding and influencing legislation. Collaborating with organizations of similar missions amplifies our collective voice

Children’s Aid has an ambitious and far-reaching agenda when it comes to protecting the interests and building the well-being of the nearly 50,000 children, youth, and families that we serve. The diversity of issues we focus on offers many opportunities for partnerships with other powerful organizations—and positions Children’s Aid as a leading advocate in the overall fight against childhood poverty.

Our collaboration takes many forms: co-sponsoring organizing advocacy campaigns and rallies, co-sponsoring public panels and leading statewide coalitions, to name just a few. We are proud to work with the following coalitions:


New York State has a parental responsibility to the young people in its child welfare systems, and the alliance works to make sure our leaders are helping young people with a foster care background realize their full potential.

While Children’s Aid leads the alliance, it is very much a coalition of youth with a foster care background, statewide organizations, and hundreds of advocates. So far the group has had a huge impact on the well-being of youth with a foster care background by securing historic budget funding for financial and social supports designed to help more youth with a foster care background land on a college campus and stay there.

Overcoming towering challenges

Historically, the outcomes for youth who have aged out of foster care have been staggering. The Fostering Youth Alliance came together to mitigate these challenges in New York State by providing a range of services aimed at improving youth outcomes. Through services, like the Youth Advocate Program, Shadow Days at the city and state level, youth forums, and Fostering Youth College Success Initiative, FYSA centers youth experience in all advocacy efforts and aims to build the capacity of young people. FYSA’s Moving Forward: A Post-Pandemic Blueprint for New York’s Foster Youth identified that housing insecurity, health anxiety, and academic uncertainty were at the forefront of youths’ minds as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these concerns. Advocates can use these findings to identify policy priorities that will best serve our young people with a foster care background in New York State.

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of New York’s foster youth

reported facing or fearing housing insecurity

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of Respondents

reporting heightened anxiety


Children’s Aid is dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of children and families across New York by bridging policy and practice. For more information on our policy priorities, view our resources below. 

Policy Priorities

2022 New York City Recovery Agenda

Public Testimonies:

Every Step of the Way

How we connect children and youth with the tools to learn, grow, and lead.

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