The Children’s Plan:
Improving the Social and Emotional Well Being
of New York’s Children and Their Families
Presentation to the Interagency
January 14, 2010
Susan Thaler, OMH
Myla Harrison, DOHMH
Brian Lombrowski, OMH
Role Models Divorce
School Drop Outs
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I V ts
A Unified Call to Action
• “The Children’s Plan” was submitted to
Legislature under the signature of ALL
child-serving state agency Commissioners
• Each of the nine (9) child-serving agencies
made a commitment to The Plan and 22
joint initiatives to be addressed within the
Council of Children
Office of Mental Health and Families
Office of Children State Education
and Family Services Department
The Children’s Plan
For All New York’s Children
and Their Families Commission of Quality of
Office of Alcoholism and
Substance Abuse Services Care and Advocacy for
Persons with Disabilities
Office of Mental Retardation Department of Health
and Developmental Disabilities
Division of Probation and
• Social and emotional development and learning form a
foundation for success in school, work and in life.
• Every action should strengthen our capacity to engage and
support families in raising their children with emotional
health and resilience.
• The right service is available at the right time in the right
• One family-one plan.
• An adequately sized workforce that is culturally competent
and steeped in a new paradigm of integrated, family–
driven care must be developed and sustained.
NYC Children's Plan Implementation
Opportunity to bring together youth,
families, city and local state representatives
to address needs of two populations:
• Transition Age Youth: 16-25 years old
• Young Children: Birth-5 years old
NYC Youth 16 to 25 Transitioning Out of
the Children’s Service System
• 200,000 youth 16-24 disconnected from school & work
• ONLY 4% of youth classified as ED on their IEPs
graduate with a regular diploma
• > 3,500 youth return from detention
– extreme difficulty re-engaging with education and
• 1,200 youth age out of NYC’s foster care system
– challenges finding housing and maintaining independence
• Adolescents transitioning to adulthood with serious
– are 3X more likely to be involved in criminal activity
– have higher rates of substance abuse than any other age
groups with mental illness.
Young Children Birth to 5 Years Old
• Prevalence rates of mental health problems:
– 21% overall; 9% for serious mental health problems
• Early secure attachments contribute to the growth of a broad range of
competencies including love of learning, sense of one-self, positive
social skills, and relationships.
• Serious long- term social and emotional consequences result when
children and youth are exposed to repeated early traumatic
experiences- including: language development problems, difficulty
forming trusting relationships and problems with both emotional and
behavioral regulation. This leads to greater school failure; increased
substance abuse, joblessness and homelessness.
• Maternal depression afflicts 25% of mothers and mothers-to-be, and
as many as 60% of those who live in poverty, and can severely
damage the relationship between mother and child-especially during
• For many children, academic achievement in their first few years of
schooling is built on a firm foundation of children's emotional and
The Children’s Plan:
The NYC Roundtable Discussion
December 11, 2009
• NYC Agencies
– DYCD, DOE, ACS, DJJ, DOC, DOP, HRA,
DHS, DOHMH, HHC and Mayor’s Office
• NYS Agencies (local representatives)
– OMH, OCFS, SED, DOH, OASAS,
OMRDD, DOPCA, CCF
Participants were asked to identify
1. From your agency’s perspective what
critical issue for transition age youth and
children under 5 would benefit from
city/state collaboration and cross-system
2. In a year, what collaborative cross-system
practices/services can be achieved to
improve the system for these populations?
Principles to guide priorities
• Efforts must add value to existing endeavors and
are not repetitive of work on the ground
• Issues of focus must require cross-system efforts
to address needs
• Benefits will accrue from a city/state collaboration
under the framework of The Children’s Plan
• Initiatives will fill gaps in existing system that can
be accomplished in a year and will lay the
groundwork for future initiatives
Priority Issues from the Roundtable
Transition Age Youth
• Need for a collaborative approach to enable
transition age youth to access appropriate
housing and develop skills for independent
• Need for youth service plans to be youth-guided
and coordinated across all agencies with shared
accountability for outcomes.
• Need to enhance support for traumatized
Initiatives: Transition Age Youth
Collaborative approach - access appropriate
housing and develop skills for independent
• Each child serving agency contributes to defining
the skill set for transition age youth and
collaborates to develop cross system training.
• Provide youth/families easy access to
information/expert consultation on services for
transition age youth – housing, employment,
benefits, health, etc. (e.g., a youth empowerment
day at a drop in center)
• Review housing regulations to increase flexibility
and incorporate supportive services
• Specify a commitment to funding and prioritizing
youth for housing programs.
Youth service plans - youth-guided,
coordinated across all agencies, shared
• Engage youth by creating or building on existing
borough-based assistance centers through the
reallocation of existing resources/services.
• Create/build upon electronic portal detailing services
and information to enable youth, families and
providers easy access to available services.
• Develop a cross training collaborative focused on
youth development including skills building,
transition planning and navigating service systems.
• Develop a cross-system youth forum where youth
advocates can network and provide feedback to
Initiatives: Early Childhood
Need to enhance support for
• Zero tolerance for pre-school expulsion.
• Protocol to use peer review to help agencies improve
awareness and sensitivity to trauma.
• Cross systems consensus on the definition and
levels of trauma.
• Educational campaign and materials to enhance
understanding of trauma.
• Protocol for uniform screening and early detection of
trauma; training staff in providing trauma informed
care; and educating family members in dealing with
Need to enhance support for
traumatized children (continued)
• Cross-system training about services available to
young children for parents and pediatricians.
• Train parent advocates to educate parents on an
evidence based treatment model on the relational
aspects of the developing child.
• Develop the workforce capacity to provide
appropriate treatment for children 0-5 years old.
• Agencies involved with domestic violence (ACS,
Mayor’s Office, HRA) develop strategies for
supporting families and young children in domestic
Existing Cross-System Structures
• Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC)
• CCSI: Coordinated Children’s Services
– Citywide Oversight Committee (COC)
– Borough Based Councils (BBCs)
• Federation’s Early Childhood Workgroup
• Unite under one plan.
• Strengthen cross system collaboration to
address cross-agency priority issues.
• Build on successful efforts, existing resources
and strong leadership to improve services and
systems for NYC’s most vulnerable.
• Pool resources, blend funding, work more
• Foster and utilize family and youth involvement.
Youth Involvement Efforts in New York
• Youth involvement is NOT a new
• It exists in multiple venues in New
Examples of Agencies and
Organizations that Have Youth
Involvement Groups in NY
Youth Justice Board Bronx Family Resource Center
YouthACTION NYC Brooklyn Family Resource
Youth Communication Center – ICL
Make the Road New York Brooklyn Family Resource
Brothas and Sistas Untied of Center - JCCA
the NW Bronx Family Resource Center of
Youth on the Move Queens
Future of Tomorrow Staten Island Family Resource
Desis Rising Up and Moving Center
Youth in Progress The Door
Youth Advisory Board - ACS The Point
Manhattan Family Resource The Youth Experience
Center Albert's Leaders of Tomorrow
The Youth Experience
Started in May 2008 as part of the Building
Original members apply for Dare to Dream
Organized Youth Forum & Speak Out in
Currently meets monthly
Using The Children’s Plan to
Integrate Youth Involvement
• Partnership developed between The Youth
Experience and youth involvement
activities at the Family Resource Centers
and the Family Support Liaison Center
• Developed Youth Advocate Basic Training
to prepare Youth Advocates for their roles
• Youth involvement wherever policy
decisions about young people are made.
• Introducing youth advocates to decision
making venues where planning and policy
issues are discussed (i.e., Children’s Plan
Roundtable) and preparing them to
effectively participate in those venues.
How We Can Help
• Collaboration on a City-Wide Youth
Conference to bring all the Youth
Involvement groups together to network and
learn from each other.
• Provide ongoing training and support for any
young person in the city interested in youth
advocacy and youth involvement through
The Youth Experience, and the leadership
activities of YOUTH POWER!’s Regional