Foster Youth Rights/Resources

Copyright © 2016 Fostering Progressive  Advocacy Foundation Inc. All rights reserved.



enough clothes and healthy food
your own place to store your things
an allowance (if you are in a group home)
a phone that you can use to make confidential calls (unless a judge says you cannot)

be treated with respect
go to religious services and activities of your choice send and get unopened mail (unless a judge says someone else can open your mail)
contact people who are not in the foster care system (like friends, church members, teachers, and others)
make contact with social workers, attorneys, probation officers, CASAs, foster youth advocates and supporters, or anyone else involved with your case
be told about your placement by your social worker or probation officer

lock you in a room or building (unless you are in a community treatment facility)
abuse you physically, sexually or emotionally for any reason
punish you by physically hurting you for any reason look through your things unless they have a good and legal reason

YOU HAVE RIGHTS AT COURT TOO. YOU CAN: go to court and talk to the judge
see and get a copy of your court report and your case plan
keep your court records private, unless the law says otherwise
be told by your social worker or probation officer and your attorney about any changes in your case plan or placement

see a doctor, dentist, eye doctor, or talk to a counselor if you need to
refuse to take medicines, vitamins or herbs (unless a doctor or judge says you must)

go to school every day
go to after-school activities right for your age and developmental level

have your own emancipation bank account (unless your case plan says you cannot)
learn job skills right for your age
work, unless the law says you are too young manage the money you earn (if right for your age, developmental level and it’s in your case plan)
go to Independent Living Program classes and activities if you are old enough

visit and contact your brothers and sisters (unless a judge says you cannot)
contact parents and other family members, too (unless a judge says you cannot)

tell the judge how you feel about your family, lawyer, and social worker
tell the judge what you want to happen in your case have your own lawyer and a advocate. 
live with a family member if that would be a safe place

You have the right to identify and maintain relationships with appropriate people who are important to you, as long as it’s in your best interest. The intent of current law is that no child shall leave foster care without a permanent, caring relationship with an adult. Talk to your social worker or attorney about who is important to you.

You have the right to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities such as church, school and community activites, sleep-overs with friends, scouting and 4-H, without requiring criminal background checks of chaperones, friends and friends’ parents/supervisors

Also remember that the job of a foster parent or group home is to supervise you and keep you safe and healthy.

If you feel you are being discriminated against because of your sex, race, color, religion, or for any other reason, please contact the Foster Care Ombudsman Help-line. ​If you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth, your rights and protections include not being subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of your actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. 

               Things that you should know as a youth in foster care
Every youth who is a ward of the state of  New York City will have a permanency plan and concurrent plan. A permanency plan is the main focus of a case. It’s the goal that everyone works to achieve in a case. A concurrent plan is an alternate to the primary plan.

A concurrent plan is developed in case the main permanency plan doesn’t  work out. The following are different permanency and concurrent plans you could have.

Family Preservation
Family preservation means keeping you with your family instead of placing  you in foster care or other out of home placements. Family preservation is the first permanency goal the State will consider if you can live safely in your home.

Reunification means returning you to your parents. For any state ward in out of home placement, reunification will be the first permanency goal considered.

If you can not be returned to your natural parents, the first alternative the State will look at is adoption. Foster parents or other family members can adopt you if you are a foster child in their care. In order to adopt a foster child, the judge must terminate the parental rights of your biological parents. Adoption must also be in your best interests. If you are over 14, you must
consent (agree) to adoption.

Legal Guardianship
Legal guardianship will usually not be considered a permanency goal until you are 14 years old. Guardianship will be considered when: (1) all efforts to reunify have been exhausted and unsuccessful, or the court ! nds no reasonable efforts are required, (2) all efforts to adopt have been unsuccessful, (3) you are 14 or older and won’t consent to adoption, (4) you have a relationship with prospective guardian and have lived successfully for at least 6 months with the guardian. Legal guardianship does not require termination of parental rights.

Long Term Foster Care
Long term foster care is exactly what it sounds like – the long term plan for
you is to continue to live in the foster home you are currently living in. Long term foster care can be selected as a permanency goal only when all efforts to achieve reunification, adoption or legal guardianship are unsuccessful. You must also have lived successfully in the foster home for at least one year before long term foster care can be selected as the permanency goal. 

Independent Living
If you are 16 or older, you must have an independent living plan, however that doesn’t mean independent living is your permanency goal. Independent living is generally only available if you are 16-19 years old and will be considered when it appears that reunification, adoption, legal guardianship and long term foster care are not appropriate permanency goals.

Self-sufficiency with Supports
If you experience disabilities, and you are currently receiving and will continue to need a supervised living situation as an adult, your permanency plan may be self-suffciency with supports. Things to think about when giving your opinion about a permanency option:

1. If you are adopted-or if your guardianship is finalized before you turn 19, you are not eligible for former ward benefits. This is especially important if you plan to attend college because former ward benefits provide you with health insurance and money to live on while you are incollege. If your adoptive parents or guardians are willing and able to help you pay for college, then you might not need former ward benifits

2. Long term foster care- may seem like a good idea because you would be eligible for former ward bene! ts and education vouchers, but long term foster care doesn’t have the certainty that adoption or guardianship has.

3. You can get some benefits for college or training even if you are adopted or get a guardian before you turn 19. If you are adopted or get a guardian after you turn 16, you can get educational training vouchers up to $5000 per year for college tuition.

FPA Support services for Aged out Youths

​Young people transitioning out of the foster care system are significantly affected by the instability that accompanies long periods of out-of-home placement during childhood and adolescence. The experiences of these youth place them at a higher risk for unemployment, poor educational outcomes, health issues, early parenthood, long-term dependency on public assistance, increased rates of incarceration, and homelessness.

Approximately 20,000-25,000 young people age out of the foster care system each year, many without family or economic support (Allen, M. & Nixon, R., 2000). According to the 2000 Census, nearly 4 million people ages of 25-34 live with their parents due to economic realities--jobs are scarce, and housing is expensive.

Unfortunately, foster youth do not always have the option of turning to their families for support. Alone, these young people are confronting the harsh reality of the gap between the wages they earn and the cost of housing (White, R., 2003). As a result, youth aging out of the foster care system are becoming homeless at disconcerting rates. Anywhere from 12% to 36% of young people transitioning out of the system experience homelessness (Cook, 1991; Courtney & Pilivian, 1998; Reilly, 2003). As many as 3 in 10 of the nation's homeless adults have a history in foster care (Roman & Wolfe, 1995). Young people aging out of public systems are confronted with critical housing needs that, left unaddressed, have the potential to cause irreparable harm.

In an effort to assist youth in their transitions to adulthood, the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 established the John Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (Chafee Program), allowing states more funding and flexibility to help young people transition to adulthood. States received increased funding and were permitted to extend Medicaid eligibility to former foster children up to age 21.

Additionally, the Chafee program allows states to use up to 30% of their federal funds to provide room and board services to youth 18-21 years of age. This includes young people who move into independent-living programs, age out, or lose touch with the child welfare agency and then return for assistance before reaching 21 (National Foster Care Awareness Project, 2000).

It's critical that young people are served by programs that will eliminate these hardships. Foster  Care youths need programs that help young people age out of foster care with housing, general transition supports, youth engagement, education, and employment and career development.

As a society, we have failed young people aging out of foster care. Their safety and emotional well-being were of paramount concern when they were removed from their parents as younger children. Yet, despite conclusive research showing how vulnerable they are upon discharge from care, these young adults continue to exit the child welfare system to lives of uncertainty, pain, destitution and marginalization. If we do not focus attention and resources on this relatively small community of young people at this crucial transitional moment in their lives, we will continue to incur exponentially greater costs in the form of wasted potential, welfare dependency, homelessness, child abuse, delinquency, crime, victimization, illness and untold sorrow.

Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Youth Aging Out of Care

Education Strategies
Education is known to be the leading predictor of adult success. Education supports are essential to facilitating higher graduation rates of foster care youth from high school and post secondary institutions.The Chafee Education and Training Vouchers Program allots eligible youth up to $5,000 annually that may be used for
post secondary education related expenses. While many states already offer college scholarships to youth in transition, states can receive additional funds by taking advantage of the TRIO educational opportunity outreach programs that aim to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Housing Strategies
Currently, the CFCIP allows states to use up to 30 percent of their federal funds to provide room and board for youth up to age 21, who have aged out of foster care. However, the housing supply is limited because of the high cost of living in many counties, and the lack of availability of suitable housing. According to Roxana Torrico, of the Child Welfare League of America, “the best transitional living programs combine subsidized housing with case management and life skills training.

Healthcare Strategies
Recognizing the specific challenges faced by youth who are exiting foster care, both the federal government and state governments have enacted programs designed to provide a bridge between foster youths’ Medicaid coverage as they transition to adulthood. States have used different ways to extend Medicaid coverage for this population. Many states use the Chafee Option, which allows states to extend Medicaid eligibility to youth aged 18 to 21 who have aged out of foster care. Alternatively, states may also extend coverage by using other state general funds or other Medicaid options to provide coverage

Employment Strategies
According to annual CFCIP state reports, more than 40 states provide employment services to youth, including job readiness training and job-search assistance. Some states also help youth with job placement and ongoing support on the job.

The population of foster youth who are aging out of the foster care system each year is on a steady rise. These young people face many challenges which could potentially derail their successful transition to adulthood. Unemployment, poor educational outcomes, homelessness, and inadequate healthcare are all barriers to success. Moreover, youth are at risk for many negative outcomes that could affect their well-being and could also tax their communities. For example, incarceration and substance abuse produce many unforeseen costs. Given therelatively small number of youth aging out of the foster care system, the total cost of providing services to help
them successfully transition to adulthood is relatively small. Helping these youth become stable and productive citizens will produce substantial social benefits and would reduce the potentially substantial costs to counties if these youth do not succeed.

Federal legislation has created a framework for assisting youth who are aging out of foster care. Since 1985 federal law has recognized that older youth in foster care deserve funding for special programs and services. In that year, the Independent Living Program was added to the Social Security Act.9 In 1999, the law was further amended by the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act (FCIA),10 to respond to the limitations and perceived ineffectiveness of the Independent Living Program. The Chafee Foster Care Independence Act continues to be the central framework for child welfare legislation.

1. The Chafee Bill: Chafee Foster Care
Independence Program (CFCIP) The Foster Care Independence Act, which renamed the Independent Living Program, the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, expanded eligibility for independent living services
to youth and doubled the funding available to states to provide these services. The CFCIP offers assistance to help current and former foster youth achieve self-sufficiency. Funding is offered to states that submit a plan to assist youth. Under this program, states can use federal funding and matching state dollars to provide
support for youth transitioning from foster care to independent living.

Expands eligibility for independent living services to youth ages 18-21 Provides $140 million in annual funding to states for providing independent living services programs. States are required to contribute 20 percent in matching funds. Many states and localities choose to supplement CFCIP funds with their own dollars, or private funds. To receive funds, states must provide written transitional independent living plans based on the needs of each youth. Gives states flexibility to decide what services they will provide with the funds they receive.

2. The Chafee Education and Training Vouchers Program (ETV) The Chafee ETV program makes financial resources available to meet the post secondary education and training needs of youth aging out of foster care and enrolled in a qualified higher education program. Program Overview: Authorizes $60 million in discretionary payments to states for post-secondary educational and training vouchers for youth who age out of foster care. Provides vouchers up to $5,000.



Why is Advocacy important?

A successful advocate begins with sound, rational policy and seeks to educate the public on the positive aspects of that policy, with the ultimate goal of gaining support and momentum. Advocacy is vitally important to any cause, given the system of democracy inherent in policy-making. If more citizens (and voters) are both aware, and in support of an issue, pressure is placed upon legislators to act on their behalf. A mobilized group of like-minded individuals, organizations, and businesses can have a profound impact on enacting new laws, guidelines, and regulations.

The FPA Foundation Inc holds the practice of advocacy in the highest regard. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” We feel that this greatly helps to define our view of advocacy. While certain issues will “hit home” with or affect some more than others, the willingness to champion issues for the greater common good is a cause and challenge that must be met. Here at FPA Foundation Inc our cause is to advocate for foster parents and foster youths in the foster care system. We believe that every foster childe should receive adequate services while in foster  care. Services that  best fits his or her particular needs.

We cannot accomplish our mission alone, however hard we may try. Many advocates both inside and outside of the business world have worked tirelessly to further our cause. Whether it is through writing your local Representative or challenging a business to get involved, no effort is too little. Change can be facilitated by anyone, anywhere. After 3 years, FPA has grown and seen great changes provided to fosterparents in order to help that foster youth receive services.

Many of these changes were brought about through the dedication of advocates whose names may never be written in the paper and whose faces will never be seen on television. These were people who simply chose to “rise above” themselves and take on the “broader concerns of all humanity.” Will you be willing to join them? To join FPA Foundation Inc grassroots advocacy network. Please give us a call at 1-646-402-6133

            Resource Information for foster youths    


​​​I​​​f you are not getting the help you need finding an apartment or are having no luck on your own, these places can help you with your housing search.

ACS Office of Housing Support and Services (HSS)
Housing Eligibility Unit
150 William St., 8th Floor

Housing Support & Services (HSS) works with foster youth under the age of 21. Youth may walk-in to our office located at 150 William Street, 8th floor for housing assistance during normal business hours. HSS Housing Specialists provide one-on-one assistance with submitting New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing applications for Public Housing. In addition HSS staff will assist applicants in applying for the ACS Housing Subsidy.

Edwin Gould Academy Multi-Service Center
55 E. 110th St.
Contact: Gloria Lattimore, Assistant Director

This multi-service center for youth who have aged out of foster care has a housing specialist who can help you in your search for an affordable apartment once you register for their program.

Note: Edwin Gould also has a small transitional housing program of its own.

If you find yourself homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, there are some programs that you might be able to help you find a stable place to live again. They may not be able to make all your problems go away, but they often know about resources that most of us don’t.

The New York City Human Resource Administration (HRA)

If you’re in a financial crisis and can’t pay your rent (or come up with the rent, security deposit and broker’s fee for a new apartment), the Human Resource Administration (HRA) may be able to help. In emergencies, HRA provides no-interest loans that cover one month’s rent (or rent, security deposit, and broker’s fee for a new apartment). You must pay back the money steadily over one to two years. It is important to take this into account when you make a decision to accept the loan. But it is also a good resource if you are in a temporary financial crisis.

HRA’s requirements include that you have a steady source of income, that the lease to the apartment is in your name, and that the apartment is affordable given your income.

To see if you are eligible for an emergency “one-shot deal” call 1-877-472-8411. Explain your housing situation to them. If you are eligible, you will need to go to a public assistance office to apply for the loan.

60 E. Tremont Ave.
Bronx, NY 10453
718-508-3123 or 718-731-3114

BronxWorks' Homeless Outreach Team provides services to anyone who is homeless, from counseling to assistance finding shelter. When you call, ask to be connected directly to someone from the Homeless Outreach Team. For more information, call 646-393-4070.

BronxWorks is part of the HomeBase program that helps people who are homeless. Click here for a list of HomeBase resource centers in New York City.

Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS)
Housing Resource Center
198 E. 121st St.
Manhattan 10035

CUCS helps homeless people with mental illness and other special needs gain access and maintain permanent housing. The database has over 10,000 housing units. Applicants must be 18 years or older.

Housing Works
57 Willoughby St., 2nd Fl.
347-473-7400 TTY: 212-925-9560

Housing Works provides services for persons living with HIV/AIDS or at risk of HIV/AIDS who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. There are workers available who speak Spanish, and Sign Language. Click here for a full list of their locations.

Housing + Solutions
3 W. 29th St., Suite 805
Manhattan 10001

Provides services to homeless women and families, who are in recovery from substance abuse and who may have criminal justice histories.

Do you need help paying your rent?

​Paying rent in New York City can be rough. So many people want to live here that rents have gotten higher and higher. Luckily, this is one of those times when being a foster youth or a former foster youth can actually make life easier. That’s because the government has decided that you are eligible for special financial assistance to pay for your apartment.

ACS Housing Subsidies

Those interested in applying for the subsidy should ask their caseworker to contact ACS at 212-341-3548.

Families with active foster care or preventive cases-including independent living youths-along with their Case Planners and Children's Services' Case Managers can meet face-to-face with HSS specialists on a walk-in basis during business hours Monday-Friday at 150 William Street, 8th floor in Manhattan.

You are eligible for an ACS housing subsidy if you’re between the ages of 18 and 21 and on trial or final discharge to Independent Living. When you receive a housing subsidy you may be able to qualify for up to $300 per month for a maximum of three years to help you pay your rent. This program also offers a one-time special grant of $1,800-$3,600 to cover moving expenses and broker's fees.

NOTE: Section 8 Vouchers were discontinued in 2009. People who got Section 8 funding before then can continue to receive it, but no new vouchers are available.

Emergency Housing Resources

The New York City Human Resource Administration

If you find yourself in a financial crisis and are unable to pay your rent (or cover the rent, security deposit and broker’s fee for a new apartment), New York’s Human Resource Administration may be able to provide you with assistance. In emergency situations, HRA provides no-interest loans that cover one month’s rent (or rent, security deposit, and broker’s fee for a new apartment). You will need to pay the money back steadily over one to two years, and it is important to take this into account when you make a decision whether to accept the loan. But it is also a good resource to know about if you are in a temporary financial crisis.

Among HRA’s requirements is that you currently have a steady source of income, that the lease to the apartment is in your name, and that the apartment is affordable given your income.

To see if you are eligible for an emergency “one-shot deal,” call 1-877-472-8411. Press "Explain your housing situation." If you are eligible, you will need to go to a public assistance office to apply for the loan.​​

You must apply for public housing through your agency housing liaison. Check with them for current rules.

Youth in care have priority to receive public housing. Public housing means projects run by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). As you probably already know, these projects range widely in their size, location, safety, and general desirability. You can download a Public Housing Application online, call 718-707-7771 to request an application be mailed to you, or visit one of the offices below. If you want to live in public housing, talk to an expert at your agency to learn more about what you should do and what your options are.

Click here to go to the NYCHA website and learn more about applying for public housing.

Bronx/Manhattan Customer Contact Center
478 East Fordham Road (1 Fordham Plaza), 2nd Floor
Bronx, NY 10458
Mon.- Fri. 8am - 4:45pm

Brooklyn/Staten Island Customer Contact Center
787 Atlantic Avenue, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Mon.- Fri. 8am - 4:45pm

Queens Customer Contact Centers
90-27 Sutphin Boulevard, 4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11435
Mon.- Fri. 8am - 4:45pm

Public Housing for People with AIDS

Persons with verified AIDS can call 212-971-0626 for further information on housing or other services.


If you are interested in living in one of these supportive housing units, it is important to apply a year or more before you want to move in. If you think you might be interested but are not sure, there’s nothing to lose by applying. That gets you on the waiting list.

​​​​​Schafer Hall
117 E. 118th St. (Lexington & Park Aves.)

Schafer Hall combines studio apartments with services including employment and educational support and medical and mental health referrals. If you’re 18-23, you must be on trial or final discharge, and must also have a job. Unless you have enough income, you’ll have to show proof of your eligibility for an ACS housing subsidy. Call for more info.

The Foyer
202 W. 24th St.
For more information, contact:
646-485-3943 (for SILPs)
646-485-3949 (for apartments for youth)

The Foyer has apartments for 40 young people including those who have aged out of care as well as young people in SILP placements, for up to 24 months. Services range from job training to housing placement services. It it run by Good Shepherd Services and Common Ground.

Edwin Gould Academy Residence
55 E. 110th St.

A permanent residence for young people, ages 18-25, who have aged out of foster care or the juvenile justice system. There are 36 studios for single individuals and 15 one-bedroom apartments for single individuals or single parents with one child. Working applicants only. Those interested in applying must provide a completed application, an up-to-date psychiatric or psycho-social evaluation, and employer verification. Apartments range in price from about $400 to $600 per month.

The Dorothy Day Apartments
135th St. (Broadway & Riverside Dr.)

Dorothy Day Apartments is one of six rent stabilized permanent housing projects developed and managed by Broadway Housing Communities (BHC). BHC provides supportive housing for young and elderly, independent and disabled, working and dependent individuals and families. There are 240 single rooms and studio apartments total. (Family apartments rarely become available.) Eligibility is based on being a low income worker and/or having a Section 8 voucher. Tenants provide 24/hour management coverage through a front desk service. This is part-time employment opportunity, in which nearly one fifth of the tenants participate. The six properties are located in the communities of West Harlem and Washington Heights. Call above number for more info.

                     ​​Signing yourself out of foster care before 21

​​​​If you signed yourself out of foster care before your 21st birthday and are now struggling to find a place to live, you should be able to return to your agency if you are still under 21. Talk to your agency and fight to get back into care if that’s what you think is best for you.

If you cannot or do not want to return to foster care, and are now struggling to find a place, there are several programs throughout the city that serve youth 18-21 who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. These programs usually provide housing for 12 to 18 months, and they will also help you figure out what you need to become more stable in your housing situation once you leave their program.

Covenant House
460 W. 41st St.
Manhattan 10036

Located in Times Square, this 24-hour multi-service walk-in center for adolescents under 21 can provide short-term housing.

SCO Independence Inns
Three locations in Brooklyn and one in Queens

Safe Horizon's StreetWork Project

Streetwork Harlem Drop-In Center
209 W. 125th. St.

Lower East Side Drop-In Center
33 Essex St

Green Chimneys
456 W. 145th St.

NYC Shelter's

​NYC shelters provide three hot meals a day, beds, showers, and clothing for men (age 21 and over) and women (age 18 and over) who are in need of emergency shelter. To be accepted into a shelter you must first go to the intake facility. If you have exited a shelter less than 12 months before, you have to go back to the last shelter you were at. The intake facilities for single adults are open 24 hours, seven days a week, including holidays. Bringing ID is strongly suggested, though not required.

For further assistance dial 311, or visit the Department of Homeless Services website.

Intake Facilities

30th Street Intake (Men)
400-430 East 30th Street/1st Avenue
Entrance is now at 30th St. and 1st Avenue
Subway: 6 to 28th St.

Franklin Shelter (Women)
1122 Franklin Avenue (near East 166th Street)
Subway: 2 to 149th St., then #55 bus to 166th St. and 3rd Ave.

HELP Women’s Shelter (Women)
116 Williams Avenue (between Liberty Avenue and Glenmore Avenue)
Subway: C to Liberty Ave.

Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH) Office
346 Powers Ave.
Bronx, NY 10454

Families with Children under 21 or Pregant Families can go 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to the Prevention Assistance & Temporary Housing (PATH) office.

Subway: Take the number 6 train to the CYPRESS AVENUE stop. When you get off the train you will be on 138th Street between Jackson and Cypress Avenues. Walk one block west to CYPRESS Avenue. Turn RIGHT on CYPRESS Avenue and walk NORTH to 141st Street. Turn RIGHT onto 141st Street. Walk on 141st Street until you get to POWERS Avenue. Turn Left onto POWERS Avenue and look for #346. The PATH Office will be on the RIGHT side of the street.

Bus: Take the No. 33 bus to 138th St. and Cypress Ave. When you get off the bus you will be on 138th Street between Jackson and Cypress Avenues. Walk one block WEST to CYPRESS Avenue. Turn RIGHT on CYPRESS Avenue and walk NORTH to 141st Street. Turn RIGHT onto 141st Street. Walk on 141st Street until you get to POWERS Avenue. Turn Left onto POWERS Avenue and look for #346. The PATH Office will be on the RIGHT side of the street. Or take the Bx17 bus to Southern Blvd. and East 141st St. Walk three blocks WEST to POWERS AVENUE. Turn RIGHT onto POWERS Avenue and look for #346. The PATH office will be on the RIGHT side of the street.

Adult Family Intake Center (AFIC)
29th Street and 1st Avenue
Manhattan, NY 10016

Adult families with no children younger than 21 can go to the Adult Family Intake Center (AFIC), located in Manhattan. AFIC is open 24 hours, seven days a week.

Subway: 6 to 28th Street station. Walk east to 1st Avenue and turn left heading north to 29th street. Walk up the ramp to the AFIC entrance.

Bus: M15 to 29th Street

Drop-In Centers

Drop-Ins provide hot meals, showers, laundry facilities, clothing, medical care, recreational space, employment referrals and other social services. Staff also can help you find a safe and secure place to sleep.


120 East 32nd Street in East Midtown
Subway: 6 to 33rd St.
Open 24 hours

Olivieri Center
257 West 30th Street near Penn Station
Subway: 1/2/3/A/C/E to 34th St.-Penn Station


The Living Room
800 Barretto Street (at Lafayette Avenue)
Subway: 6 to Hunt's Point Ave.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.


The Gathering Place
2402 Atlantic Avenue
Subway: A to Broadway Junction

Staten Island

Project Hospitality
25 Central Avenue
Subway: No subway service

Do you need clothes for interview here are programs that can help you?

​​Dress for Success Worldwide—NY Program
32 E. 31 St., Suite 602
NY, NY 10016

Dress for Success supplies professional clothing for disadvantaged women who are returning to, or entering, the workforce. Each client receives one suit for the job interview, and once employed has the opportunity to receive additional apparel. Locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx.

Career Gear
National Headquarters
120 Broadway, 36th fl.
New York City, NY 10271

Career Gear is a non-profit organization that helps low income men and those struggling to get off public assistance with clothing for their interviews, as well motivation and follow-up support.

Essential Identification Documents

Before you go to a job interview, you should have certain documents in order. These include:

1) Birth Certificate

2) Social Security Card

3) NY State Non-Drivers License or Drivers License

4) School Photo ID or Official School Registration Letter if you are still in school

5) Working Papers for young people ages 14-17

6) Selective Services card (males 18 years and older)

7) Alien Registration (if non-citizen)

​If you're under 18 and want to get a job anywhere in New York State, you have to get working papers. Without these papers, also known as employment certificates, no minor (anyone under the age of 18) can be legally employed (except for odd jobs or babysitting).

Working papers are given out by schools and, if you're not in school, by government offices. We'll talk later about how to get them.

There are different kinds of working papers, and before you apply for one, you must know which kind is right for you. The four main types of working papers are "Non-Factory," "General Employment," "Full-Time Employment," and "Limited Employment."

"Non-Factory" working papers are for those of you who are 14 or 15 years old and in school. This certificate allows you to work in fast-food restaurants and in any other job that doesn't require you to handle big machinery.

The "General Employment" working papers are for those of you who are 16 or 17 and attending school. This certificate allows you to work in both non-factory and factory jobs. Once you get these papers you can get a job ranging from McDonald's to an assembly line.

For someone who is 16 or 17 and out of school, you need "Full-Time Employment" working papers. With these papers you can work full-time at any job of your choice.

The final type of working papers is for people with physical disabilities who can only work at certain jobs. These are called "Limited Employment" working papers and they certify you to work at jobs that your doctor finds suitable.

These papers can only be issued to you if your doctor okays it. And according to the law, you can only work at the place listed on the working papers. If, for some reason, you quit that job, then you will have to go through the whole process to get a new set of working papers.

You should keep your papers in your wallet at all times. Your boss can get in a lot of trouble if s/he hires you and you don't have working papers or the ones you have are not right for the job or are for a person of a different age. If the employer gets caught, s/he can get in trouble and you can lose your job.

How Many Hours Can You Work?

If you are under 18, there are certain limits on how many hours you can work, depending on your age and whether school is in session.

For those of you who are 14 or 15 when school is in session, you aren't allowed to work more than three hours on a school day. You can work a total of 18 hours a week, and you must work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. When school is not in session, you can work up to eight hours a day and six days a week, but the limit is 40 hours a week.

If you are 16 or 17 years old and without a full-time working permit, you can only work up to four hours a day Monday through Thursday, and up to eight hours a day on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays. You cannot work more than a total of 28 hours a week or six days a week. When school is not in session, you can work up to eight hours a day and 48 hours a week.

How to Get Working Papers

To get working papers, go to the main office at your school and ask to speak to the person in charge of giving out working papers. (You may be sent to a central office in the school district.) You need to show the person who issues the papers 1) your birth certificate to prove your age, 2) a doctor's note to certify your health, 3) and your guardian's signature as consent. (If you are in a foster home, your foster parents or your caseworker may be able to sign the papers. Check with your caseworker.)

If you're not in school, then you can either go back to your most recent school or go to a Department of Education Working Papers Office. Offices are located in every borough:

1 Fordham Plaza
Bronx, NY 10458

131 Livingston St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
718-935-5858 or 5933

333 7th Ave., 4th fl.
New York, NY 10001

28-11 Queens Plaza North
Long Island City, NY 11101

Staten Island
715 Ocean Terrace, Bldg. A
Staten Island, NY 10301

Or call the office of attendance at: 212-374-6095.

You can do all of this by yourself. But if you are applying for "Full-Time Employment" papers, your guardian has to accompany you; his or her signature won't be sufficient.

Your working papers may be taken away if you are under 16 and fail four academic classes. To get your working papers back, you will have to improve in the area that caused you to lose them.

As long as you stay on the right path, you won't have any problems or complications.

​If you are an immigrant and do not have legal papers to live and work in this country, you may face obstacles when you apply for a job or job-training program. However, if you are still in the foster care system, you are eligible for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS), which enables you to become a lawful permanent resident. It is important that you complete this process before you age out of foster care, so make sure your caseworker is aware of your situation and helps you fill out and file the proper documents. If you are having trouble, there are a number of organizations that can help you.

At ACS, you or your caseworker can contact:

Mark Lewis, ACS Family Support Services
(212) 487-8569

Other organizations that can help you include:

Penni Bunyaviroch, Catholic Charities Office for Immigrant Services
(212) 419-3770

Stephanie Kashkin, The Door Legal Services
(212) 941-9090, ext. 3345

Julie Dinnerstein, Sanctuary for Families
(212) 349-6009

Raluca Oncioiu, Catholic Migration Office (Brooklyn Diocese)
(718) 236-3000

Mari Hinojosa, Lawyers for Children
(212) 966-6420, ext. 624

Sylvia Rosario, Legal Aid Immigration Law Unit
(212) 577-3399

Nancy Downing, Covenant House Legal Department
(212) 330-0513

Thomas Vanasse, New York Association for New Americans, Inc. (NYANA)
(212) 898-4180, ext. 1331