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Children’s Village: A Haven for Kids Who Need One

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July 11, 2022

The Children’s Village (CV) founded its 180-acre residential campus in Dobbs Ferry in 1901, and today it is a nationally recognized provider of services to those who have been denied what all children deserve: safety, education and opportunity, and people who believe in them.

The young people who live on the residential campus are mostly boys in foster care or those involved in the Juvenile Justice system. Since 2004, CV has also served immigrant children who arrived in this country alone, often in search of parents or other family members. Residents live and eat in cottages of 10, staffed by experienced caregivers, and attend a public school – Greenburgh 11 – on the campus. They receive medical and dental care in a modern health center and attend a number of programs that include trauma-informed models of care. For some who need more in­ten­sive short-term psy­chi­atric care, CV has pi­o­neered the Jack­son Rapid In­ter­ven­tion Cen­ter, a 21­-day sub­sti­tute for the trauma of hos­pi­tal­iza­tion.  The only ser­vice of its kind in the met­ro­pol­i­tan New York area, the Cen­ter is open not only to chil­dren from the cam­pus but to boys and girls on re­fer­ral from other men­tal health and child wel­fare pro­grams.

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Campus res­i­dents use the Lanza Recre­ation Cen­ter with full size gym­na­sium, fit­ness room and swim­ming pool. They are also provided paid work experience at the Center’s kitchen and café, bar­ber shop, record­ing stu­dio, greenhouse, dog training program, and more. These pro­grams pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth, and the ability to leave with job-readiness skills and certifications that open doors.

CV’s service of Westchester County is not just limited to Dobbs Ferry. The agency now op­er­ates Wood­field Cot­tage in Val­halla, the Coun­ty’s ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion cen­ter. CV also of­fers a shel­ter for home­less and run­away boys and girls aged 12-17, the only shelter in the County specifically for teens. CV also ad­dresses the is­sue of af­ford­able hous­ing, which is so cru­cial to keep­ing fam­i­lies to­gether. CV runs Bay House in Yonkers in collaboration with West­hab, Westch­ester’s biggest de­vel­oper of af­ford­able hous­ing. In New York City, CV built the beau­ti­ful Harlem Dowl­ing build­ing, which includes space for com­mu­nity ser­vices, 60 af­ford­able apart­ments for res­i­dents of Harlem, and 12 stu­dios of tran­si­tional hous­ing for young adults ag­ing out of fos­ter care. Looking forward, CV is en­gaged with oth­ers in the de­vel­op­ment of the Eliza, a new build­ing in the In­wood sec­tion of Man­hat­tan which will pro­vide the com­mu­nity with a new pub­lic li­brary, 175 deeply af­ford­able apart­ments and a wide of­fer­ing of com­mu­nity ser­vices.

CV believes that res­i­den­tial treat­ment should be tem­po­rary and chil­dren are best served by keep­ing them with family or those who love them unconditionally. CV’s ex­ten­sive adop­tion and fos­ter care ser­vices are de­signed for those sit­u­a­tions where place­ment in the birth fam­ily is not pos­si­ble. Just recently, CV opened its foster care program to Westchester County to identify, train, and support more caregiver families, adding to their already expansive foster care services throughout NYC.

More­over, the work of The Chil­dren’s Vil­lage has ex­panded be­yond its his­toric ac­tiv­i­ties to a vast ar­ray of pre­ven­tion ser­vices and pro­grams to help young people suc­ceed when they leave res­i­den­tial care or prevent residential care altogether. Some of these include in-home counseling services, pro­grams for both boys and girls in 26 mid­dle and high schools de­signed to de­velop healthy re­la­tion­ships and lead­er­ship skills and pre­vent pregnancy, residences for teen mothers and their babies, and much more. Last year CV sup­ported over 17,000 chil­dren and fam­i­lies.

The range of CV’s ser­vices is as­tound­ing – but one theme threads everything together: “con­tinue to build…based on the un­der­stand­ing that our role is to lift up, em­power and sup­port chil­dren, fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties, as we have for over a cen­tury.”

To learn more, visit https://childrensvillage.org

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