When you learn the shocking news that your child is seriously ill, a million emotions and practical problems hit you all at once.

Friends of Karen has guided families through this journey thousands of times. Since 1978, we have helped families just like yours navigate the emotional and financial confusion that lies ahead.


Children who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, through 21 years of age, and their families may be eligible for assistance from Friends of Karen. Your child must also be a citizen or a legal resident of the United States and you must live in one of the following boroughs or counties in New York (The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester), New Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Union), or Connecticut (Fairfield, Middlesex, New Haven).


Financial Assistance
Types of assistance we may be able to provide include:

  • Household Expenses if you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of your child’s illness, such as loss of a parent’s income with no other resources upon which to rely.
  • Illness Related Expenses that may include childcare, travel, hospital lodging, co-payments, co-insurance.
  • Holiday, Birthday and Back-to-School Gift Programs for all the children in your family.

Emotional Assistance
Our experienced social workers, case managers, art therapists, and child life specialists carefully assess your family’s needs. Our services are tailored to your family’s individual situation, and include:

  • Support and Guidance through phone and virtual visits to help you cope with the impact your child’s illness has on the entire family.
  • Professional Support to help address the needs of your ill child and your other children through our Sibling Support Program.
  • Education and Guidance to help you anticipate the impact your child’s illness will have on your family functioning.

Advocacy Support

  • Advocacy to assist your family in applying for other resources.
  • Collaboration with hospital staff and other organizations to address your child’s illness and your family’s needs.


  • Parent or guardian must contact our Intake Coordinator by calling (914) 617-4057 or click here to get started.
  • Following the assessment, you will be mailed an application to complete and return to us.
  • If you are requesting financial assistance, you will need to provide income and expenses verification along with your completed application.
  • If you are not requesting financial assistance, you will simply need to complete a short application.

Once Friends of Karen receives your completed application, a social worker will call you to discuss your family’s individual needs and how we can help you.


If you have any questions or would like more information regarding our services, please: