It was 1979 when Claire Yaffa first called Dr. Vincent J. Fontana, medical director of the New York Foundling Hospital, to ask how she could, as a photographer, assist him in his efforts to help mothers who abused their children. A program at the Foundling called “Temporary Shelter,” where these mothers were ordered by the courts to live, and where they were taught parenting skills, gave Yaffa the opportunity to do just that. It was the beginning of a dedicated and passionate mission with the New York Foundling Hospital and Dr. Fontana that continued until his death a few years ago. Over the years, Yaffa photographed the many programs offered in the community and also in Puerto Rico. Her photographs are part of a permanent exhibition at the New York Foundling Hospital and also at The Fontana Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. The photographs and negatives are being donated to the New York Foundling Hospital and will be part of a major exhibition for its 140th anniversary, in October 2009.
The Foundling (book)
The story of The New York Foundling Hospital juxtaposed my current photographs with historical photographs of The New York Foundling Hospital. Martin Gottlieb, deputy photo editor of The New York Times wrote the text. The book with its photographs chronicles the institution that from its inception was committed to helping society’s most vulnerable: children. The agency serves some 13,000 children and their families.
To purchase a copy of this book, please contact The New York Foundling Public Relations department at 212-886-4036.