New York State Department of Health

Published 2019

Pathways to Success: New York State Building Supportive Communities for Young Families in New York City

Program Description

The Pathways to Success program builds on a previous PAF-funded New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) initiative to create sustainable networks of health, education, and social service supports for expectant and parenting young adults. By developing resource inventories, using a specialized Asset and Risk Assessment tool, and tracking participants in an online reporting system, Pathways to Success connects young people and their families to needed resources and helps them succeed.

Program Snapshot

  • Population: Expectant and parenting young people under age 30, with a focus on students and individuals seeking vocational or employment assistance
  • Location(s): Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, New York City
  • Partners: ACT for Youth Center for Community Action at Cornell University, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Hostos Community College, LaGuardia Community College, Public Health Solutions


  1. Strengthen community systems serving expectant and parenting teens, young adults, and their families
  2. Improve the health, development, and wellbeing of young parents and their children
  3. Improve self-sufficiency and long-term success of young parents
  4. Increase awareness of and connections to resources available to expectant and parenting young people and their families


Making referrals using the Asset and Risk Assessment tool
Pathways to Success participants are screened using an Asset and Risk Assessment (ARA) structured interview tool. Developed by the ACT for Youth Center for Community Action (ACT for Youth), the ARA tool is used by program coordinators at partner sites to identify and prioritize participants’ assets and needs and develop a tailored list of referrals for each participant. By using the ARA tool over multiple client contacts, program staff are able to build relationships with participants, reassess their needs, and evaluate the outcomes of previous referrals.

Building a network of resources
NYSDOH coordinates its partners to develop resources inventories that are used for making participant referrals. Partner organizations conducted internal needs and resources assessments to catalogue programs and resources, using information about the Pathways to Success priority population to assess and adjust their offerings to best serve participants’ needs. Partners also work together to develop and expand lists of external resources relevant to parenting youth and their families.

Tracking participant data
When program staff enroll new participants, they enter participant data into an online reporting system developed by ACT for Youth. The online reporting system allows partners to easily access and update information, track the success of referrals over time, and transfer data from one partner to another. In conjunction with the ARA tool, the online reporting system also helps identify and track barriers to successful referral completion, which can then be addressed by program coordinators and participants.

Further developing partner organizations
To engage and collaborate with partners in addressing community issues, ACT for Youth runs monthly Structured Learning Collaborative webinars for all partner organizations. Each webinar focuses on topics of partner interest, such as engaging fathers, promoting programs, child care and housing resources, foster care, and program sustainability, and often features a guest speaker. The webinars offer a chance for partners to share successes, troubleshoot, and learn from one another. NYSDOH and ACT for Youth also hold quarterly Continuous Quality Improvement calls to provide guidance and help address partner organizations’ unique challenges.

Stats at a Glance

Between July 2018 and June 2019:

  • 603 expectant and parenting young people served
  • 417 referrals made

Between July 2017 and June 2018:

  • 432 expectant and parenting young people served
  • 863 referrals made
  • 36 community organizations added to resources inventory

In Focus: Yanna’s Story

Yanna, a program participantYanna, a single mom and first-generation college student, first moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic with her parents when she was 4. “It took me a while to become a [college] student after graduating high school because I started working when I was 17 years old,” she said. “Then I became a mom. I realized I wasn’t happy at my job and I needed to model hard work for my son, but also show him that higher education is just as important.

Today, my 5-yearold expresses himself like, ‘After I go to college, I will…’ Not if he will go to college, but after he does. He already visualizes himself there. I do, too!” Yanna graduated from Hostos Community College as valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA and an Associate Degree in Community Health.

Grantee Information

Elizabeth Rees
Program Coordinator
(518) 474-0535

Print the full success story here.

About the PAF Program

The Office of Population Affairs Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF) Program provides funding to states and tribal entities to improve the health, educational, social, and economic outcomes of expectant and parenting teens, women, fathers, and their families.