Foster kids to shadow City Council members

A group of foster children will spend the day with the City Council to get a hands-on look at the government in action Wednesday.

Council members hope the day will also give the council insight into the challenges the children face, and help generate ideas to help ensure the kids’ successful future.

A dozen Council members, led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, will take part in the Foster Youth Shadow Day and attend the stated meeting. The event last took place in 2015 and led to major legislative changes for the foster care system, including the creation of a special task force.

“Our foster kids need to be part of the vision we create for all of New York City’s youth — and that includes providing them with equal access to opportunities within our communities,” said Mark-Viverito.

About half of the city’s foster youth end up homeless, according to Councilman Stephen Levin, and the bill he will introduce at Wednesday’s meeting aims to prevent this from happening when kids age-out of the system.

The legislation would require the city’s Department of Homeless Services “to recognize time spent in foster care as homelessness” so that individuals younger than 24 years-of-age could qualify for rental assistance vouchers.

“Children and youth in the city’s care are some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that each of them has a safe, loving home and access to comprehensive services,” Levin said in a statement.