YOU GOTTA BELIEVE THE OLDER CHILD ADOPTION & PERMANENCY MOVEMENT

aka YGB   |   Brooklyn, NY   |  www.yougottabelieve.org

Mission

You Gotta Believe (YGB) exists for one reason: to work toward the day when no young person leaves foster care without the unconditional lifetime commitment of a family. We ensure that our society’s most vulnerable youth – foster youth – do not fall through the system’s cracks by aging out alone, because being alone is unhealthy. For YGB, the “most vulnerable” means youth who come from residential homes and treatment centers, or have been in foster care for years, LGBTQ youth, pregnant/parenting youth, and youth with mental health challenges. YGB knows the resources, social capital, and stability of family afford youth the best chance at healthy lives and personal success.

Ruling year info

1996

Executive Director

Jennifer Pinder

Main address

3114 Mermaid Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11224 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

11-3272603

NTEE code info

Foster Care (P32)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

More than 400,000 children are in foster care in the US, and every year, as many as 25,000 of them will age out of the foster care system. Youth who age out alone are now solely responsible for their well-being and are expected to thrive at age 18+ without family. At the same time, more than half of US youth between 18 and 24 years continue to live with their parents and rely on them for both material and emotional support. It is unfair and unrealistic to expect foster youth - our most vulnerable and high-risk youth - to not need family after age 18 or 21. Research indicates that youth who age out of foster care are more likely to experience homelessness, be arrested and incarcerated, be dependent on public assistance, suffer from substance abuse, and have an unplanned pregnancy. Only 3% of youth who age out of foster care earn a college degree. Aging out isn't just difficult for the youth; societal costs are estimated to be $750,000 to $1 million over the youth's lifetime.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Preparing youth

We work intensely with youth to prepare them for the long journey of adoption. This often means building trust, identifying possible connections in their lives, and support services.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Preteens

We provide the New York State required MAPP training for foster/adoptive parents, but tailored to include youth voices, the importance of making an unconditional commitment, and parenting traumatized youth.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Preteens
Family relationships
Adolescents
Preteens
Family relationships

YGB connects youth to parents (sometimes people already known to them, sometimes new people) ready to make an unconditional commitment and welcome them into their families.

Population(s) Served

YGB provides case management and support services to help prospective parents successfully complete the adoption certifying/licensing process.

Population(s) Served

This Is For Real is our unmatched long-term support services to ensure newly matched families get the intensive support they need to transition into a cohesive family and form enduring bonds.

Population(s) Served

Nobody Ages Out (NAO) is a YGB-led movement to ensure that every young person in foster care will have a family long before they reach the dreaded age of 21 when they "age out” of care and are, in essence, left without family or any support.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Preteens
Families
Adolescents
Preteens
Families
Adolescents
Preteens
Families
Adolescents
Preteens
Families

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of youth close to aging out alone we successfully connect to permanent, loving families

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, Preteens, Young adults, Out-of-home youth

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We have in place a sophisticated, customized cloud-based tool which includes a Youth Permanency Ladder, tracking the qualitative and quantitative journey youth take toward permanency/adoption.

Number of foster/adoptive parents trained, certified/licensed, and connected to youth

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Family relationships

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We have in place a sophisticated, customized cloud-based tool which includes a Parent Permanency Ladder, tracking the qualitative and quantitative journey parents take toward permanency/adoption.

Number of families provided post-placement support and services to ensure enduring relationships (no more disruptions)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Adolescents, Preteens, Out-of-home youth

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is YGB most unique program. We measure success by tracking the number of families that stay together, interventions/services needed, and attendance at support groups.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

You Gotta Believe (YGB) exists for one reason: to work toward the day when no young person leaves foster care without the unconditional lifetime commitment of a family. We ensure that our society’s most vulnerable youth – foster youth – do not fall through the system’s cracks by aging out alone, because being alone is unhealthy. For YGB, the “most vulnerable” means youth who come from residential homes and treatment centers, or have been in foster care for years, LGBTQ youth, pregnant/parenting youth, and youth with mental health challenges.

YGB’s permanency work is labor intensive and requires the time and effort of many staff members at once. Other agencies do not prioritize finding permanent homes for these vulnerable groups because of staffing and funding limitations; instead they often focus on independent living services for these youth. Yet, statistics show such services are not enough to help them thrive and live fulfilling and healthy lives. Our own families make the difference in our lives; for these youth it is no different. Family members provide the intensive support we all need to negotiate life. They are our touchstones when we are most vulnerable – when we are poor, sick, in need of guidance, or emotionally challenged. We at YGB know the resources, experience and knowledge, social capital, and stability of family afford former foster youth the best chance possible at physical/mental health, upward mobility and personal success.
To achieve our mission, we focus on:
Preparing youth: we work intensely with youth to prepare them for the long journey of adoption. This often means building trust, identifying possible connections in their lives, and support services.
Training parents: we provide the MAPP training for foster/adoptive parents, but tailored to include youth voices, the importance of making an unconditional commitment, and parenting traumatized youth. This tailored training is one of the key components of our work that sets us apart.
Youth-Family Matching: YGB connects youth to parents (sometimes people already known to them, sometimes new people) ready to make an unconditional commitment and welcome them into their families. Many times, they are parents trained by YGB and ready for an unconditional commitment.
Certifying and licensing parents: YGB provides case management and support services to help prospective parents successfully complete the adoption certifying/licensing process.
This Is For Real Program: our unmatched long-term support services to ensure newly matched families get the intensive support they need to transition into a cohesive family and form enduring bonds.
Strategic partnerships: YGB is committed to working with foster care agency partners to serve the most vulnerable youth in our city. Our leading partner right now is The Children’s Village.

You Gotta Believe (YGB) utilizes an intensive, youth-centered recruitment approach for connecting youth to an unconditional, loving family and starts the recruitment process from the child's perspective. Research proves that this approach is 3x more effective than the traditional approach of beginning the process from the potential parent's perspective. The goal is to find a family for a waiting child – not to find a child for a family. YGB works with the young adults to identify significant people in their lives who may be willing to be their families – aunts, uncles, teachers, neighbors, social workers or parents of friends. If there isn't a viable existing friend or family tie, YGB pursues other possibilities for family for youth.

While working intensively with the youth, YGB is also developing the potential parents. For people that come forward to parent a specific young person or to make a lifetime commitment to any young person in need of a permanent parent, YGB offers a 5-step system to train and prepare these individuals. Step 1 is an orientation class that offers an overview of the realities of the foster care system and up-close look at the focus and unique values of YGB. Step 2 is parent preparation training via 9 weekly classes that cover the gamut from the psychosocial needs of older children in care to the documentation required for certification. Step 3 is completing the certification paperwork process. Step 4 is family matching. For certified parents and young people who know each other, YGB provides ongoing support to everyone involved to help folks reconnect and work through challenges as they move forward. For families who are interested in meeting children who are new to them, YGB provides many opportunities to meet and greet young people and their case workers during interactive panels and events. Step 5, the final step, is post placement support through telephone coaching and in-person support. YGB also offers a monthly support group.

You Gotta Believe has 25+ years of experience with connecting older youth in foster care with committed, loving families. Our laser-focus on finding families for youth ensures all resources are allocated toward our mission. The following components of our approach are what makes YGB successful and unique:
#1 We are the only nonprofit organization in NYC that focuses solely on placing YOUTH with families. We are focused on this population because otherwise they often fall through the cracks. It is easier to focus on young children or babies.

#2 All program staff members are credible messengers. This means they are either former foster youth and/or adoptive parents. Because of their personal experience and knowledge, our credible messengers are able to better connect with and support foster youth, who deeply value understanding of their unique challenges. This experience positively impacts our ability to build trust with the youth. Additionally, when working with parents, our credible messengers (adoptive parents themselves) are able to provide useful, relatable insight into the difficult transition period post-adoption.

# 3 We focus all our training, messaging, and support services on the fact that parents are expected to make an unconditional commitment to a youth. With YGB, there are no “backsies.” The youth have experienced significant trauma in their lives and a lot of disappointment. The focus in all our programming is to reduce disruptions and build permanent, loving connections in youth lives.

#4 We are also the only organization that provides long-term support services. Typically, permanency support services are provided by agencies for up to 90 days. We have found this not a sufficient amount of support. YGB’s credible messengers provide 24/7 support as long as needed.

Every year, YGB:
- Works intensely with 50 youth to prepare and support them as they connect with family;
- Connects 40+ youth to permanent families;
- Trains 60+ adults on how to provide parent and support youth who have experienced trauma;
- Licenses 30+ adults so they can foster and/or adopt;
- Provides long-term support to 40+ families to ensure enduring relationships between families

Since 2004 (when we started tracking), YGB has:
- trained thousands of parents to make an unconditional commitment to a youth in care
- licensed over 698 families
- enabled the legal and moral adoption of 340+ youth

Three rounds of federally funded research have shown that YGB's model approach to permanency is an effective method of adoptive parent recruitment for older children. In an article titled “An Examination of Theory and Promising Practice for Achieving Permanency for Teens Before they Age out of Foster Care" published in the October 2010 issue of Children and Youth Services Review, YGB's work was featured as a “best practice" for adoptive family recruitment for older youth.

YGB has developed a deep partnership with the capacity building nonprofit, SEED Impact, to provide cloud-based evaluation tools and team training as YGB team members implement evaluation systems into their daily workflow. Our dynamic evaluation system was designed to encourage youth voice and feedback. We strive for our entire approach to be youth empowering, because the youth deserve that empowerment and it is a more effective approach to services.

This high-quality reporting system also enables YGB to hold itself accountable to the people we serve (especially youth) as well as build the case for permanency solutions. Our evaluation system also includes a “Learning Community” where YGB team members openly share/track best practices during monthly staff meetings to: improve functioning as a learning community; increase appreciation of each other’s efforts; pinpoint what sets YGB apart from other organizations; and promote new responses to challenges.

Financials

YOU GOTTA BELIEVE THE OLDER CHILD ADOPTION & PERMANENCY MOVEMENT
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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YOU GOTTA BELIEVE THE OLDER CHILD ADOPTION & PERMANENCY MOVEMENT

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Gretchen Beidl

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/5/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data