Our Mission

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an average of 14 youth between ages of 10 and 24 are murdered every day in our nation. The latest Annie E. Casey Kids Count reports that 34% of all children in America live in single parent households and, according to the most recent census, only 15% of these are headed by a father. The media reports that Trayvon Martin was suspended from school for 10 days because traces of marijuana were found in his backpack. Yes, 10 days, for traces of marijuana. And Trayvon was in the company of some three million other students nationally who are disengaged by the system and structure that is supposed to prepare them to lead fulfilling, productive, healthy and safe adult lives.

What all of these facts tell Stoneleigh Foundation is that there is no time to waste addressing our goal to improve the life outcomes of vulnerable children by ensuring that systems serving them do so effectively.  With this first blog post, we are launching another platform to share what we are learning from our fellows and what we are learning from others around the country that stand side by side with us in the effort to ensure that the systems designed to serve children effectively meet their needs as well as advance their well-being into adulthood. 

Stoneleigh was created by John and Chara Haas six years ago. Though pillars of our philanthropic community, the Haas’ felt they could still do more to change the reality for the thousands of Philadelphia children whose life outcomes are limited by violent and decayed neighborhoods, family dysfunction and systems which aren’t sufficiently enhancing their well-being.  They also wanted Stoneleigh to reflect their belief in the power of an individual to make change.  Thus, we fund people, not programs. 

Since our beginning, we have invested in almost 30 individuals who have dedicated their full attention to working alongside and inside government to address barriers to effectively meet the needs of children involved or at risk of involvement in the juvenile justice or child welfare systems. They have increased access to mental and physical health services for foster care youth and girls in the youth justice systems; they have created alternatives to incarceration for youth felons and damaging zero tolerance policies and for youth who simply cut school, and strengthened the educational programs offered to those who do land in out-of-home detention facilities; they have connected the Department of Human Services, the School District of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Family Court to create smarter and more informed responses to truancy and to strengthen educational stability for foster care youth; and, they have introduced trauma-informed practice to violence prevention by connecting medicine with multiple public systems  and community services. 

All of our fellows have used their Stoneleigh Fellowship to create change for our vulnerable youth and advance knowledge and best practice.

We know we don’t have all of the answers and that we might need to ask different questions. We want to hear from you and we encourage you to be a part of the conversation. Share your ideas for public policy reforms, practice changes and translational research. It is our hope that the Stoneleigh blog will inspire you to learn more and to find ways to join together to create change for our children.

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