The Kennedy Child Study Center has a proud history of serving young New Yorkers with special needs. As our agency approaches its 60th year of service, our staff and families come together to talk about the important role that KCSC has played in their lives.

Kennedy Child Study Center’s (KCSC’s) mission is to assist children who experience significant delays in learning and other areas of early childhood development.

We accomplish this mission by:

  • Providing evaluation and diagnosis, comprehensive therapy, and high-quality preschool education to young children with delays in learning and other areas of development;
  • Advancing the holistic well-being of the families we serve through family support, including Medicaid Service Coordination and information on healthy living and accessing community resources;
  • Advocating for public policies that benefit young children with developmental delays, and developing programs to meet the changing needs of our families; and,
  • Reinforcing best practices in early childhood special education through ongoing professional development for educators, therapists, and others working in the field.

Kennedy Child Study Center is an affiliated agency of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. Kennedy Child Study Center is approved and funded by:

  • New York State Education Department (NYSED) as a Special Education Preschool.
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) as a Day Care provider.
  • New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) as a provider of Medicaid Service Coordination.
  • Kennedy Child Study Center is incorporated in New York State and is registered as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the IRS.

KCSC’s services are offered free of charge to all eligible families. Our programs include special education preschool; related therapy services (including speech, occupational and physical therapy); comprehensive evaluations in English and Spanish; family support and Medicaid service coordination.

We reach over 1,000 children ages 3-5 annually through these programs, which operate at our sites in Manhattan and the Bronx. We serve a diverse range of New York’s preschoolers: 53% of our students are Latino/a and 15% are African American. In addition, 31% of our students are bilingual. Among the preschoolers at KCSC, over 85% qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch.

 A Kennedy Child Study Center speech therapist practices enunciation with a student c. 1967

A Kennedy Child Study Center speech therapist practices enunciation with a student c. 1967

Established in 1958, the Kennedy Child Study Center has a proud legacy as one of the first schools in the nation committed to providing high quality education services to young children with special needs.

KCSC was founded through a grant given to the Archdiocese of New York by Rose and Joseph Kennedy in memory of their son, Lieutenant Joseph Kennedy, Jr., for whom the agency is named. The center was initially a small school for primary grade children, located at 151 East 67th Street.

Today, our agency’s focus is on our special education preschool program, which is offered free of charge to eligible families at locations in Manhattan and the Bronx. Using evidence-based teaching practices and the latest advances in special education, including the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder, our team of professional teachers, therapists and early childhood specialists provide a world-class education tailored to the unique needs of our students. Under the sponsorship of our affiliate,  Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, Kennedy Child Study Center continues to fill a critical gap in New York City education.


The Kennedy Child Study Center is led  by a talented group of professionals who bring years of experience in education and nonprofit management to our agency – as well as a passion to help young children and their families.

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I’ve always been drawn to children with special needs. I had a bunch of stuffed animals when I was a kid, and I’d sit them in rows and pretend to be their teacher. There was one bear named Moscow who had a broken eye and ripped ear, and I’d always make sure that the other animals were especially nice to him. So I knew early on that I wanted to be a special education teacher.
— Jeanne Alter, Executive Director in her interview with Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York

Jeanne Alter - Executive Director

Kristy Chau - Education Director: Manhattan

Carolyn Cleveland - Director of Operations

Tristan Dulangon - Director of Clinical Services: OT/PT

Geraldo Feliciano - Education Director: Bronx

Khadija Grant - Curriculum Director

Nancy Hirsch - Director of Family Services

Ashley Lahoud - Director of Development and Communications

Courtney Lazarus - Curriculum Director

Brigid McCrory - Curriculum Director

Mary McKillop - Director of Programs

Victorio Milian - Human Resources Consultant

Bhupendra Shah - Director of Finance

Joe Spanberger - Director of Information Technologies (IT)

Julie Veetal - Director of Clinical Services: Speech



The Board of Directors is comprised of an active group of volunteers who provide their time and talents to oversee the work of the Kennedy Child Study Center. The Board’s responsibilities include determining KCSC’s mission and purposes, developing agency resources, assessing the agency's management, and advancing KCSC’s public image and standing.

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It is an honor and a privilege to act as Chair to one of the first special education schools in the country. Sixty years after its establishment, the Kennedy Child Study Center remains at the top of the field in early childhood special education.
— Michael O'Conor, Chairman of the Board

Michael O'Conor, Chair

Ju Nie ThongVice-Chair

Kenneth Lohsen, Treasurer

Melissa Salerno, Secretary

Randolph Amengual

James Farrell

John Gibbons

Adam Goldstein

Andrew Kraus

Donna Stockinger-Kraus

Catherine Lenihan

Lawrence F. McGovern

Clara Ornes

Michael O'Shaughnessy

Dr. Pola Rosen

Madalena N. Sheehan-Clausen

The Reverend Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Additional Information:

2017 Annual Report

2015-16 Form 990