News & Events

On the Radio with Heather Hobart and Joe Gardiner: December 2021

This month, Joe Gardiner, of the Youth Development Program, joined Heather to talk about his work with youth and young adults who are aging out of the foster care system.


The Youth Development Program (YDP) offers voluntary case management services to youth ages 14-23, who are, or have been, in the custody of the State through the Department for Children and Families (DCF). YDP provides access to a wide range of services designed to help youth transition from State custody and care to self-sufficiency and independent living.

Available services are youth-driven and focus on support participants in setting personal goals, identifying steps, removing barriers, and expanding natural support networks. YDP case managers provide:

  • life skills assessment,
  • training and coaching,
  • referrals to other services including mental health and substance abuse counseling,
  • access to health insurance and physical health care,
  • education planning and linkage to educational services and supports for high school completion/GED prep and or college preparation,
  • vocational support and training,
  • assistance in exploring and connecting with kinship networks and other social supports,
  • and safe housing options.

YDP case managers deliver services to youth in individual and group settings, and also provide opportunities for youth leadership experience. In particular, in coordination with YDP, the Youth Development Committee is a statewide youth advocacy group that provides youth input on child welfare policies, social worker trainings, and serves as a forum for youth voices.

Contact Joe Gardiner: (718) 440-0900 or