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People United for Children

Award Recipients - 2002

Sharonne Salaam, Founder

www.peopleunitedforchildren.org

People United for Children (PUC) is a community organization established in 1992 to advocate on behalf of low-income children and families in New York City.  PUC assists parents dealing with the foster care and penal system and works for the systemic change.  Current programs include training parents and relatives about the legal system, individual counseling and stress management, parenting classes, and a men’s group, for positive reinforcement.  PUC also provides information to the general public about the conditions that incarcerated children face and about polices that adversely affect children and families.

PUC’s weekly support group for parents and friends of children living institutionalized settings such as prisoners and foster care assists them in understanding and navigating the system.  New York City has 42,000 children in foster care; in 2000, almost 10,000 children were placed in foster care.  “Only 182 of them were taken in the system voluntarily by parental consent.  Subsequently, only 55% of these children were reunited with family members.”  In 1998, PUC initiated a class action lawsuit against New York City for removing children from their parents without investigation; the case is pending.  A child rarely returned to his or her family within the federally mandated requirement of fifteen months once an abuse allegation is made.  PUC is seeking to overturn laws on anonymous reporting in order to discourage unfounded accusations.


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