About the Permanency Project
Children who lost custodial parents in the World Trade Center disaster face a double
tragedy grief for their parent and an uncertain future. The goal of the
Permanency Project is to minimize further trauma and uncertainty in these children’s lives by providing
comprehensive, coordinated services to ensure that they transition quickly into
the best possible permanent family arrangement, taking into consideration the
needs of the children and their potential caregivers. The Permanency Project
also serves children with a surviving parent that needs additional support to
help maintain family stability.
Who Is Eligible for Services?
Services are offered to all children who have lost their primary custodial parent or parents through death or severe injury in the World Trade Center disaster. In addition, the Project serves the children’s current caregivers, family members, and friends who want to participate in permanency planning.
The Permanency Project also may serve families that lost a primary wage-earner and 1) the surviving parent is not proficient in English; 2) the remaining parent has a disability or health problem; or 3) there are immediate health, financial or other issues that threaten the family’s stability.
How the Project Works
A highly trained team--including an MSW-level social worker, an attorney and a
case manager--works intensively with each child and potential guardian or
surviving custodial parent to help ease the transition to a permanent new home
or to ensure continued family stability. Team members:
- Help the child and family deal with grief;
- Help family and friends determine the best permanent caregiver;
- Provide legal services to expedite the guardianship process;
- Ensure the child and family receive maximum disaster and public benefits;
- Assist with childcare, housing aid, and other supportive services;
- Provide services in the family’s home, if desired;
- Cut administrative red tape; and
- Ensure a smooth, "one-stop-shop" service for families, with all necessary services coordinated by the team.
Families or crisis and social services agencies can call the toll-free line at 1-866-WTC-CHILD (1-866-982-2445) to
be referred for Permanency Project services. A social worker will meet with the
family in their home (if they prefer), and will provide or arrange for all necessary services.
The Permanency Project is a collaborative initiative coordinated by The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. Social, legal, and benefits services are being provided by the Council on Adoptable Children, Jewish Child Care Association, and The Family Center. The Mental Health Association of New York City operates the toll-free information and referral line (1-866-WTC-CHILD) for the Permanency Project.
This initiative was developed in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross in Greater New York, and government officials from New York and New Jersey.
Who Funds the Project?
The Permanency Project is funded by the September 11th Fund, which was established by the United Way of Greater New York and the New York Community Trust, with additional support from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
Activities of the Permanency Project are dictated by best practices and research on adoption and child welfare. They include the following principles:
- A stable family structure should be instituted quickly, with all necessary support, to avoid repeated changes in caregivers;
- When possible and appropriate, children should remain with a family member or close friend;
- Siblings should remain together, if possible.
- Families experiencing significant trauma and loss will fare better with consistent, flexible support services and effective counseling.
The toll-free information and referral line, 1-866-WTC-CHILD (1-866-982-2445), staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Assistance is offered in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin.