Modern Family Center Grand Opening

Didn’t get a chance to make it to our Modern Family Center’s Grand Opening event? Stella Gilgur-Cook, Director of the Modern Family Center, shared these welcoming remarks with guests to outline our vision and services offered to the community. 

The Modern Family Center is here to serve the changing landscape of today’s families. We are on the frontier of how family is defined in the American experience. Adoptive families, birth/first families, multi-racial families, donor-conceived families, single parents, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender parents are no longer on the sidelines, but right here working with us. We are participating in a nationwide conversation of what it means to be a family, what values and traditions we uphold, and how to best raise our children.

Adoption is our expertise, and after 100 years of adoption service, we know better than anyone that it can be a double-edged sword; there is no disputing that every child deserves a family, but there’s also no disputing that adoption can create heartache. That’s why we will always have a commitment to life-long post-adoption services for every family, at every life stage.

But, adoption is not all we do. At the root of it, we know about families – families who stand out, families who are hard to define, and families who are proud to exist, but wish things could be just a little easier. Today, half of all remarriages form blended families. In the United States, nearly 6 million children have same-sex parents, while a full quarter of the children living in this country are being raised by a single parent. That’s a lot of people trying to work out having a new kind of family.

Being a modern family certainly doesn’t define who you are, but it does shape who you are. It informs where you choose to live, where you send your kids to school, who you make new friends with, and it should inform where you find the best emotional care for your family. When it comes to issues of identity, belonging, culture, or the melding of two families into one and the separation of one family into two, you want the person helping you to see past the obvious and appreciate the bigger picture. In our counseling services, groups, and kids programming, we offer a relational approach that accepts, celebrates, and most of all, understands how to help complex families grow, heal, and build the lives they want.

You want a community where there’s no need to explain or defend your family. You want competent clinicians who understand the unique aspects of your family, free of judgment. You want to know how to explain complicated stuff to your kids by saying the right thing at the right time. We’re offering all of that, and more.

Perhaps I should say what a special time this is in our society, that today’s modern families are all so special. Well, I’m not going to. Maybe somewhere else your family is special or different, but when you’re at the Modern Family Center, you are simply one of us.

I hope you’ll join us for one of our many upcoming events, like us on Facebook, or call us to find out more about what we’re doing and how we can help you family!

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo: NYS Should Fund Statewide Post Adoption Services

This message is from New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children who started the petition “Governor Andrew Cuomo: NYS Should Fund Statewide Post Adoption Services”.


We met with a staff person in Governor Cuomo’s office on December 19 to discuss the need for post adoption services (PAS) in all areas of the state for all families and future funding options for PAS. We shared that the Office of Children & Family Services estimates that 609 of the children in foster care were previously adopted (this is a low estimate as NYC doesn’t not currently collect this data despite the fact that it is a federal requirement to do so).

The good news is that NYSCCC believes that the Governor’s office understands the unique mental health of the children. Unfortunately, with NYS facing a $1billion dollar short fall in next year’s budget it appears doubtful that PAS will be in the Governor’s proposed budget. We emphasized that there will be savings for NYS if PAS is enacted statewide with a decrease in children in foster care and residential treatment. With an average cost of foster care of $56,000/child, we believe that an $8 million statewide post adoption services would pay for itself if 2.5 children per county moved from foster care to a permanent family. This does not take into account the savings from less residential treatment placements. We encouraged the Governor’s office to look at using Title IV-B Subpart 2 funding and the millions of dollars saved by the federal government picking up a larger share of adoption subsidies (money which is supposed to be reinvested in child welfare!) as well as review how other states are funding PAS.

With the Governor’s budget not being submitted until mid-January there is still time to make our voices heard. Please call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390 (press option 3 to speak to a person, not a recording) and tell him how important post adoption services are to children and their families! Feel free to call as many times as you want and to have your friends call too. There is money available for post adoption services; NYS just needs to make it a priority.

View the petition.