Annual Report

A View From New York City’s Most Diverse Borough

We are a wealthy nation and could eliminate child poverty, as some other advanced nations have, if we had the political will to do so. But we allow it to persist. While there continue to be children in New York City whose basic needs remain unmet, and a national climate that does not prioritize the care of destitute young people, Forestdale’s work remains vital.

Every day, we witness families struggling to make their lives whole. Despite the many obstacles they face, parents and children actively engage with us to progress up the road to a brighter future. They dream of a stable home life, financial independence, quality health care, a rewarding career. Forestdale is here to make those dreams a reality. And we do! Through our many programs and services, we provide the foundation and ongoing support to give thousands of Queens residents a fair shot at a life that is happy, healthy, productive, and fulfilling.

In 2017, the Forestdale team is unified in its desire to bring the best wrap-around services to the Queens community. In today’s complex world, there are rarely simple answers that work. We must build out more comprehensive services because that is what our young people need to thrive. We’re also compelled to develop innovative approaches to address the most stubborn and enduring aspects of child poverty. We need to constantly stay attuned to new issues that arise for our families as the context on the national landscape changes. As we look ahead, we will be adding new, dynamic programs that focus on giving immigrant families access to healthcare and proper legal channels, helping young people leaving foster care transition to a solid career path, and building caregiver attachments in early childhood.

Forestdale is pleased to present our FY 2016 Annual Review. In addition to our Fiscal Year 2016 Audited Financials, we describe some of the changes taking place in Queens, look back at the last decade under former Executive Director Anstiss Agnew, note progress over the past year, and look ahead to where Forestdale goes from here. We remain inspired by our clients and grateful to our amazing staff, volunteers, board members, community residents, donors, government partners, and elected officials who help to make that brighter future possible.

Looking forward,

                                                  William Weisberg, Executive Director                             Robert Whiteford, Chair, Board of Trustees


With a proven track record of 162 years of service, Forestdale is a leading NYC poverty-fighting, family-services agency, helping vulnerable families and children, including many immigrants, heal and flourish. This past year, Forestdale showed great progress in advancing its mission to ensure that children and families have the fundamental assets needed to thrive and live independently. Staff, donors, volunteers, community members, policy leaders, and respected experts in the field joined together in 2016 to help more than 1,200 families find the support they were seeking. The results were tremendous! Forestdale’s parenting programs demonstrated positive results as fathers increased their financial support to their children, and mothers developed stronger parental bonds. Overall health was improved as hundreds of foster children received high quality medical, dental, and mental-health treatment at our main campus. Infants fared better as they settled into safe homes and improved secure attachments with their caregivers. Teens who’ve experienced serious challenges in their young lives discovered new talents, launched future careers by obtaining internships or jobs, and learned how to have more responsible relationships. Forestdale is committed to using these positive results as a launching pad toward further innovation, hard work, and caring. Now in our 163rd year of service and our 76th year headquartered in the borough of Queens, we won’t rest until child poverty is ended. This is who we are. This is who we’ve always been. This is who we will continue to be: Family when families need us.


In 2016, Forestdale continued its work with foster children, their birth parents, foster parents, and the underserved. While traditional child-welfare programs are typically designed to ensure the basic safety of children and facilitate better familial functioning, Forestdale is committed to going beyond the basics to help children make long-term gains. Forestdale is a dynamic organization that continues to pursue cutting-edge, evidence-informed approaches to thoughtfully address the changing needs of low-income families across Queens.

Below is a brief summary of 2016 accomplishments:

Anstiss Agnew sits by the window of her office at Forestdale overlooking the sprawling playground built during her tenure as Executive Director, as children gleefully climb and slide on the bright orange and blue equipment. Her legs are tucked under and hugged by the cushion of a worn loveseat. It’s an apt metaphor for the decade of loving service she’s given to Forestdale, a formerly modest foster-care agency that has, under her watch, grown into a powerful center for human transformation and systemic change.

The last decade has seen Forestdale become a leader in high-quality family programs, a trailblazer in trauma-informed therapy, and loyal partner in deep-rooted community relationships. So what’s in store for us over the next decade? Our focus ahead is on designing innovative wrap-around services so we’re always saying, “Yes, we can help you!” From birth through parenthood, the Forestdale team is united in bringing the most effective, innovative, and responsive programs to all of our clients. We hope you will join us as we turn this inspiring action plan into reality.

Forestdale’s work is made possible through long-term partnerships with public and private foundations, corporate partners, and generous individuals. In order to continue the high-quality and innovative services we provide to the families we serve, we require engaged and committed partners including governmental agencies, private foundations, corporate entities, and individuals.

Forestdale is able to provide the services families need as a result of its strong financial position. To read details of the audited financial statement for FY16, please click below:

Fiscal Year 2016 Audited Financial Statements

Brooklyn may have its bridge, Staten Island its ferry, the Bronx its zoo, and Manhattan its skyscrapers. But Queens, heralded as the borough of immigrants, is home to the iconic Unisphere, a 120-foot-diameter globe representing “peace through understanding,” the theme of the 1964 World’s Fair for which it was originally constructed. For more than 75 years, Forestdale has been proud to call Queens home.  Forestdale’s primary mission, to strengthen families and help them thrive, is consistent with the 1964 World Fair theme.