The New York City Children’s Cabinet today announced that it was awarded a $220,000 grant from the Robin Hood Foundation’s Fund for Early Learning (FUEL) to implement
and expand ongoing efforts to help children build the key cognitive, social and emotional skills they need to succeed in school and life.
With this third consecutive year of FUEL funding, the Cabinet will continue delivering and expanding the VroomTM program, which empowers parents with tools and capabilities to support social and emotional bonds and brain development in children from 0 to 3-years-old.
“The first three years of life is a time of rapid cognitive, social and emotional development for babies, and we have a responsibility to help our youngest New Yorkers grow,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “We are proud to continue our partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation. This initiative will provide more parents and caregivers across the city with the resources and information they need to help their children reach their full potential.”
The grant also supports the Cabinet’s facilitation of the City’s Early Childhood Roundtable and its complementary partnerships with a community coalition in Brownsville and one in the South Bronx.
Since March of this year, the Children’s Cabinet has delivered Vroom workshops to over 1,500 families with children 0 to 3 years of age in Department of Education schools and Department of Homeless Services’ shelters, and trained more than 160 of the City’s school-based social workers and over 1,500 shelter-based social workers and staff in offering the Vroom program.
“In the Children’s Cabinet, we all have important roles in supporting the youngest New Yorker’s journey from childhood to healthy, successful adulthood,” said Children’s Cabinet Executive Director William Yang. “This ongoing partnership with Robin Hood has been a strategic asset in helping to foster a collective of City agency experts, community-based providers and families to together recognize and address opportunities to make NYC the best place to raise our children.”
“Robin Hood’s Fund for Early Learning (FUEL) is proud to further the partnership with the Children’s Cabinet and to invest in an effort to place our New York City’s families and children at the center of a coordinated, interagency system of support and opportunities,” said Robin Hood FUEL Director Kelvin Chan. “Parenting is one of our society’s highest callings and tools such as Vroom enable parents and the other adults in children’s lives to engage with the youngest children in engaging, meaningful interactions to optimize early brain development.”
“The de Blasio administration has made unprecedented investments in early childhood care and education from birth through 5 years old, giving our youngest New Yorkers the foundation they need to succeed in school and in life. Today’s announcement is another key step forward, and I thank the Children’s Cabinet and Robin Hood for their continued leadership and partnership on behalf of our City’s young children,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.
“At DSS, we fight poverty and support families experiencing homelessness 24/7/365—and we don’t do this work alone. Every day, we work in close collaboration with essential partners, including the NYC Children’s Cabinet and the philanthropic community, to raise the bar on the services we provide to young families and children in need,” said Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “As we turn the tide on homelessness, enhancing early development programming to give families raising young children greater opportunity is our top priority. Thanks to these additional resources, we’ll continue building on the Vroom program’s progress, encouraging positive brain development and social-emotional learning for hundreds of additional children and their parents as they get back on their feet.”
A key philanthropic partner of the FUEL fund, the Bezos Family Foundation developed the Vroom program along with research and input from a network of early childhood experts, neuroscientists, parents, and community leaders. Positive childhood interactions and experiences, including positive adult-child relationships, are shown to create immediate benefits to social, emotional, and brain development in children, and over time, to have a significant impact on their future learning capacity, behaviors, and physical and mental health.
The science of early childhood development also serves as a foundational basis for the Cabinet’s FUEL-funded Early Childhood Roundtable, an active convening of 10 key City agencies and offices, which fosters interagency strategies including the support of social-emotional learning for young children, establishing trauma-informed practices across the city agencies who interact with children and families–first respondents along with leadership- and examination of all of the city’s programs serving families of young children.
“I commend the Robin Hood Foundation’s Fund for Early Learning on their generous grant to help New York’s children grow and succeed and give their parents the resources to support them,” said Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “Thank you to the New York City Children’s Cabinet for their ongoing efforts, and I look forward to seeing their Early Childhood Roundtable initiative, along with United for Brownsville, further make a difference for the families of Brownsville.”
“Providing parents and young children with tools to help them thrive is one of the most necessary and beneficial investments we can make in our future. I am happy to see Children’s Cabinet continue to receive funding from Robin Hood Foundation’s Fund for Early Learning (FUEL) to continue and expand Vroom, so they can build on their collaboration with communities and families in order to continue to support the youngest and most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair of the Committee on General Welfare.
“New York City Children’s Cabinet deploys a comprehensive, multi-agency strategy to ensure that our city’s kids have the tools they need to succeed,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Chair of the Committee on Aging and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Now, thanks to a $220,000 grant from Robin Hood Foundation’s Fund for Early Learning (FUEL), the Cabinet will help more of New York’s children reach their potential. Congratulations to Executive Director Will Yang on receiving this grant, I look forward to seeing the Cabinet’s continued impact.”
“I want to thank the Robin Hood Foundation and all of the supporters who were part of this new grant to The New York City Children’s Cabinet, one of our city’s innovative programs for improving children’s education. Early childhood development is so important for a child’s future, and I want to congratulate everyone on continuing to improve equitable education,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Chair of the Committee on Hospitals and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
To ensure a community-city feedback loop and allow members of the Early Childhood Roundtable to collect insights and feedback directly from providers and families in those communities, the FUEL grant funds a community engagement position within the Cabinet dedicated to supporting community coalitions based in the neighborhoods of Brownsville and the South Bronx, United for Brownsville and South Bronx Rising Together. The two community coalitions have elevated the needs and concerns of their respective neighborhoods’ families in order to inform the design of programs and policy within the Cabinet’s working groups while also acting as a sounding board for Cabinet-initiated proposals.
Since its insertion in 2014, the Children’s Cabinet has incubated and launched the City’s online resource guide for parents, Growing Up NYC, and another digital resource directed at adolescent youth, Generation NYC. This expansion builds on the “Talk to Your Baby” campaign, initially developed with support from Scholastic Inc., The Clinton Foundation and the Sesame Street Workshop. As a part of that launch, Scholastic Inc. donated 200,000 Baby Book Bundles that were distributed across the city to low-income families with children ages 0-3. The Cabinet has also incubated other critical City initiatives including the NYC Unity Project, the bold commitment uniting 16 city agencies to offer new and enhanced programs and support to ensure every LGBTQ person in NYC is safe, supported, and healthy.
The Cabinet was also a strategic partner in launching the Parent Empowerment Program, a collaborative demonstration project between the NYC Center for Youth Employment, Department for Youth and Community Development, the Department of Education, and the Administration for Children’s Services that enables young people to gain their high school equivalency while receiving empowering supports including childcare.