Improving Lives of Youth with IDD in the Foster Care System: The Child Well-Being Program (SCDD NY UCEDD)

February 2, 2015

Many people are often surprised to learn that there are a significant number of children and youth within the foster care system that have an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). Nationally, estimates of children impacted by IDD range from 28% to more than 50%, with similarly high percentages in New York. Huge gaps in services and support exist for this group. Due to the level of complexity and need these children have, they tend to have difficulty accessing services specific to their individual challenges and remain in the foster care system for a longer period of time. In response to these known challenges, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) developed a new program to meet the needs of these youth.

The Child Well-Being program is a part of Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) and provides services and technical assistance to foster care families, educational programs, agencies, and state organizations serving youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) placed in foster care or other out-of-home placements. The program also advocates for collaboration in state-wide initiatives to improve the quality of life of individuals receiving services in out-of-home placements, such as foster care.

Additionally, Debbie Napolitano, Director and Bonnie Smith, Project Coordinator for the Child Well-Being Program, in collaboration with the Institute for Innovative Transition and Westchester Institute for Human Development are working on a project being funded by the New York Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to develop a Person Centered Planning process for individuals with IDD who are served in the NY foster care system. The program leverages the person-centered planning model; an approach ideally suited to help youth with IDD plan goals for successful transition into adulthood. The goal of the program is to promote independence and, improve quality of life and outcomes for youth with IDD served in the foster care system. The project will be focused initially on New York City and 5 other NY counties (Westchester, Orange, Columbia, Erie, and Cataraugus) then disseminate the processes to the rest of the state.

Interested in learning more about the Child Well-Being program? Visit our website: