Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Co-founder and Education Director, Youth Advocacy Center
Professor Emeritus, Adelphi University
Impact of time at Adelphi: “Furthered the development of my interest in human services and social policy.”
Favorite professor: Dean Joseph L. Vigilante, who was a teacher, friend, and mentor
Advice for aspiring film-makers: “Film-making is a tool to tell stories, not an end in itself. The best film-makers are individuals who are curious and have the passion and drive to tell stories that will overcome the rejections they will experience.”
Many alumni may remember Paul Pitcoff as a film professor and one of the founders of the communications program at Adelphi. He continues to produce award-winning films; however, not content to spend all his time behind the lens, several years ago he initiated a thriving advocacy program for children in need.
Mr. Pitcoff and Betsy Krebs co-founded Youth Advocacy Center (YAC) in 1992. Together they have developed the Getting Beyond the System® Self-Advocacy Seminar, a program to help teens in foster care prepare for successful transition to adulthood.
YAC serves as a leading resource for children in and at risk for foster care, as well as professionals in all fields who interact with them. Presently Mr. Pitcoff and Ms. Krebs are helping organizations throughout the United States adopt the Getting Beyond the System Self-Advocacy Seminar.
In 2006, Rutgers University Press published their book, Beyond the Foster Care System, based on their 15 years of experience with foster care children. The book tells the stories of numerous teens in foster care, describes the work Mr. Pitcoff and Ms. Krebs are engaged in, and presents recommendations on improving the systems ability to help foster teens become successful adults.
Mr. Pitcoff co-founded YAC after becoming a law guardian, a court appointed advocate for children and adolescents appearing in the Family, Supreme, and Surrogate Courts of New York’s Appellate Division. Mr. Pitcoff received his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, where he was recognized with the Best Supervised Writing Award. He was inspired to pursue children’s law after producing several films on children’s issues.
He has written and produced dozens of award-winning films, including “Getting Beyond the System,” presenting new ways teens in foster care can prepare for their future; “A New Life,” about the experience of recent refugees to the United States; “The Key,” one of the first productions on the nature and impact of autism; and “Daddy, Can I Hear the Sun?” on the problems of deafness and the need for total communication.
Mr. Pitcoff received his M.F.A. in Film Production from New York University. He has worked for several production companies, as president of Kelvin 5400, as president and executive producer of Adelphi Productions, Inc., and as an editorial coordinator for the American Broadcasting Company.
From 1969 to 1991, Mr. Pitcoff served as professor, and later as founding chairperson, of the Department of Communications at Adelphi. Recruited as the first instructor of film production, Mr. Pitcoff developed a program that ultimately enrolled over 170 majors and was involved in 140 productions each year. Highlights of his teaching career include leading the first cross-country trip of Adelphi student film-makers, and overseeing the annual Adelphi Student Film Festival from 1970 to 1986.
Mr. Pitcoff received his bachelors degree in psychology from Adelphi in 1965. He lives in New York City with his wife, Harriet, MSW ’82. His son, Winton, was a frequent contributor to the film program, and now lives in Plainfield, Massachusetts, with his wife, Lisa, and son, Noah.
In his free time, Mr. Pitcoff continues his interest in photography, furniture-making, writing, and playing with his grandson.