Thomas Shomaker, Sean Ryon, Dorian Geiger

Bringing Foster Care Into the 21st Century

The New York Foundling has served foster children and families since 1869. Now it’s doing so digitally by equipping youth with the skills necessary to thrive in a tech-driven world.

Since 1869, The New York Foundling has helped foster children and at-risk families. Established by the Sisters of Charity, the organization has expanded its programs and services to respond to the city’s greatest needs. It now serves more than 27,000 children, families and other individuals each year with educational and vocational programs as well as mental health and family support services.

But The New York Foundling’s newest initiatives tackle the digital divide. The Digital Inclusion Program, launched in 2015, provides basic tech education, free laptops and five years of internet service to foster kids between the ages of 12 and 19.  The Foundling’s Tech Workforce Development Program, for ages 18 and up, selects promising youth from among 15 area foster-care agencies and enrolls them in tech-training programs at Per Scholas, Year Up or General Assembly.

“These youth are very capable,” says Olivia Jones, the tech program coordinator for The New York Foundling. “They just need a chance to prove it.”

Check out the above video to learn about one foster youth’s journey toward a fulfilling career in software development.