A Second Chance, Inc. (ASCI) began its operations in July 1994 in a reconverted church rectory located in North Braddock, Pa. In August 1995, the agency moved to its current headquarters located at 8350 Frankstown Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pa. Beginning with just a handful of dedicated personnel, the agency has grown to a staff of more than 300.
ASCI began as a vision of president and CEO Dr. Sharon McDaniel while serving in another professional capacity. It was there she saw firsthand the disparity between the large number of African-American children requiring out-of-home care, and the availability of African-American families providing such care. Other concerns included the lack of concentrated efforts by the child welfare system to recruit African-American foster adoptive families; the absence of strong, viable support systems available to African-American families already in the system; and the failure to acknowledge relative placements as a viable resource to children.
ASCI operates as a community-based entity whereby all regional offices of Allegheny CYF can refer families, children and youth for holistic professional services. During the first year of service, a total of 375 families (representing 572 children ages 0-18) became involved with the variety of program services the agency offered. Over the past 25 years, approximately 31,000 children have received services through ASCI.
What is unique about this agency is that it is the first in the Commonwealth to exclusively offer such services to kinship families through a private, nonprofit entity. In September 2005, ASCI opened its first regional office in Philadelphia, Pa., collaborating with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) in the creation of a new system of kinship care services for the benefit of children, youth and families engaged in the Philadelphia child welfare system.
A Second Chance, Inc. supports kinship foster care that provides stability and continuity, maintaining a child’s cultural identity and contact with their birth family. By placing children in the homes of relatives or fictive kin, parents can better concentrate on their efforts to improve both their lives and home environments in preparation for eventual reunification.