One Stop to Independence
The Children’s Aid Society’s Next Generation Center lends a hand to youth leaving care
When I left foster care, I had a lot of problems to deal with. I was homeless, I was on and off my medications and I needed therapy. But I had no access to a program that could help me find everything I needed.
If there had been a one-stop transition center in New York City—a place where all the services I needed when I aged out, from housing to counseling to help dealing with the system, were available under one roof—things would've been easier.
I was homeless for over a year, and I was moving from shelter to shelter. They were huge buildings with hundreds of beds, and they always smelled. Living among drug addicts and thieves was very depressing. I had to go through so many interviews by myself trying to get supportive housing.
I wish there was a place I could have turned to for help whenever a problem came up, instead of running around in the cold trying to get what I needed. I'm always going through something, and I need someone who would take the time to listen to what I have to say.
In my opinion, every city should have one-stop transition centers to help youth who leave care and have no one to offer support. We have too many kids ready to age out alone, and where will they go? We don't want them to get lost through the cracks, like I almost was.
Choose Your Staff
For many years, New York City lacked any transition centers to help youth who are aging out of care. But in December of 2005, the Children's Aid Society opened the Next Generation Center in the South Bronx.
In 2007, the Next Generation Center moved to a state-of-the-art new building, also in the South Bronx. The new center features a full teaching kitchen and computer lab, a sound studio, a performance space and a youth-run café-in addition to the services in education, health care, housing, job training and legal help.
The Next Generation Center helps youth make the transition to independence by giving them the skills and support they need to be able to rely on themselves. It is open to all young people ages 14-24, but it focuses on youth leaving foster care, and it is open to all young people between 14 and 24 who are working on becoming independent. Youth who join work closest with those on the staff who they bond with, instead of being assigned a social worker.
For more information, visit www.childrensaidsociety.org/next-generation-center
back to top