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More Info
 for Children’s

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
    Commissioner John B. Mattingly
If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

To inquire about any ACS service or program, call 311, the City of
New York’s non-emergency number for government services.
A live operator will direct you to the appropriate contact
within ACS. One hundred seventy languages are spoken.

To access 311 outside of New York City, call 212/NEW-YORK.

Services for the hearing impaired are available
by calling 212/504-4115.

To report child abuse or neglect, call the
New York State Central Register
Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
All calls are confidential.

General Public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800/342-3720

Outside NY State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 518/474-8740

TDD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800/638-5163

NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)
150 William Street
New York, NY 10038

Design: Sarah Sills
Photography: Patrice Casanova, Bill McGeary
                                     NYC Administration for
                                     Children’s Services

                                     Table of Contents

This booklet is an introduction to   2    About ACS

                                     3    Our Principles
the Administration for Children’s
                                     4    Child Abuse & Neglect

                                     6    Protection & Prevention
Services (ACS), New York City’s
                                     8    Foster Care

children’s services agency.          10   Parent Recruitment

                                     11   Child Care
It describes the services ACS
                                     12   Youth Development

                                     14   Parental Rights
provides and where families and
                                     16   Legal Services

individuals can go for help or       17   Outreach & Communication

                                     18   Joining ACS
more information.
                                     19   Volunteering

                                     20   Child Welfare History

                                     21   Internet Resources

                                     22   ACS Contract Agencies

                                     23   NYC Community Districts
                        n January 10, 1996, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) was created as the
                O       first free-standing agency in New York City’s history devoted solely to serving children
                and their families. ACS’s mission is to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of the 1.9
                million children in New York City and to strengthen families. To fulfill this mission, ACS:

ACS’s mission   Protects       children by investigating more         Supports      youth development and
                               than 50,000 reports of abuse                         permanency for teens and
                               and neglect each year;                               adolescents, as well as a range
is to ensure
                                                                                    of programs and services to
                Helps          families through                                     help young people prepare for
the safety,                    counseling, referrals to                             adulthood by developing skills
                               substance abuse programs,                            and relationships that will last
                               parenting classes and other                          a lifetime;
                               preventive services;
                                                                      Provides      childcare and Head Start
and well-       Recruits       and trains foster parents                            programs for thousands of
                               and caregivers to provide                            children throughout the City;
                               safe homes for children
being of all
                               living in foster care;                 Facilitates   neighborhood networks across
                                                                                    the City that are designed to
New York City   Assures        that children living in foster                       engage stakeholders from
                               care find safe, permanent                            every community in the child
                               homes as quickly as possible,                        welfare and Children’s Services
children and
                               either with their birth or                           mission.
                               adoptive parents;
to strengthen


    hank you to all of our partners through-
T   out our communities for the support
they provide to our work on behalf of New
York City’s children and families. It is
Children’s Services commitment that we will
continue to do our best to ensure that chil-
dren grow up in safe, permanent homes
with strong, loving families. Our work will
be guided by the following key principles:                                       John B. Mattingly

• Our overarching mission at Children’s
                                                  • The needs of children and families
   Services is to protect all of New York
                                                     should drive the support and help they
   City’s children from abuse and neglect.
                                                     get. These services need to be family-
• It is crucial that all children touched by         centered, flexible and mobile.
   Children’s Services have strong families
                                                  • The special needs of very young chil-
   that support them and protect them
                                                     dren, and teens and adolescents,
   from harm.
                                                     require particular and targeted attention
• Whenever it can be done safely, chil-              from the system.
   dren’s birth and extended families
                                                  • Child Care and Head Start are integral
   should be strengthened and supported
                                                     parts of the children’s services system in
   to provide a strong network of support
                                                     New York City and will be involved in
   for children.
                                                     preventive services, foster care and
• A critical partner for strengthening fami-         reunification services.
   lies and protecting children is the net-
                                                  • We will measure our success by the
   work of community supports available
                                                     results we achieve for children, their
   to birth families, relative caregivers, fos-
                                                     families and their communities.
   ter families and adoptive families.
                                                  I look forward to continuing to work with
• It is not enough for children involved in
                                                  and learn from staff, supporters, communi-
   our system to be safe. All of their needs
                                                  ty members, our families, our advocates
   – developmental, emotional, education-
                                                  and all of our stakeholders to achieve our
   al, etc. – deserve and require attention.
                                                  goals. It is an honor for me to serve New
• We at Children’s Services cannot protect        York City’s children and families.
   children and strengthen families alone.
   To succeed in our mission, we need to
   build strong partnerships with families,
   communities and other agencies.

                        How You Can Help Prevent
                        Child Abuse and Neglect
                             tudies have shown that neighbors can reduce violence and crime in a community simply
                        S    by increasing their awareness and working together. Similarly, neighbors can help stop
                        child abuse and neglect.

                        Here are some things you can do to help keep children and families safe and secure in
                        your neighborhood:

                        Understand the causes and effects of             To learn more, call 311 to access the ACS
If a child is in        abuse and neglect. If you know a parent          Neighborhood Based Services Unit (NBS).
immediate danger,       who is under stress, encourage him or her        You can request a copy of the Parents’
call 911.               to seek help. To locate a parenting program      Guide to New York State Child Welfare
                        that can provide guidance and support,           Laws. NBS can also send a representative
To report child abuse
                        call 311.                                        to speak in your community about child
or neglect, call the
                                                                         abuse and neglect.
New York State          Learn to identify the warning signs of child
Central Register        abuse and neglect (see opposite page).           Report any known or suspected case of
Child Abuse and
                        Abuse can include physical, emotional and        abuse or neglect that you observe.
Maltreatment Hotline
                        sexual abuse. Neglect is the failure by a        Reporting abuse can protect children from
General Public
800/342-3720            caretaker to provide a child with adequate       further harm and help a family address its
                        food, clothing, shelter, medical care, super-    problems. All reports are confidential and
Outside NY State
518/474-8740            vision or emotional support.                     may be made anonymously.


                        How to Report Child
                        Abuse and Neglect
                             eports of child abuse and neglect can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week by
                        R    calling 311 to access the New York State Central Register (SCR) Child Abuse and
                        Maltreatment Hotline. The SCR relays calls to ACS to begin an investigation when appropri-
                        ate. When making a report, you will be asked for the following information:

                        • the name and address of the child              • the type of abuse or neglect, including
                           and family members                                evidence of prior history of maltreat-
                                                                             ment of the child or siblings
                        • the child’s age, sex and primary
                           language                                      • any additional information that may
                                                                             be helpful
                        • the nature and extent of the
                           child’s injuries, if apparent

Signs of Child Abuse
and Neglect
        any people fear that reporting child abuse or neglect may compromise the family unit.
M       The truth, however, is that getting help can protect a child from further harm and
assist the family in facing and overcoming its problems. Additionally, not every report results
in the removal of a child. Many families receive services to help children remain in the home
and parents to get the help they need.

We can all help end child abuse by becoming aware of the signs and reporting suspected
cases of child abuse and neglect. Some signs of child maltreatment include:

ABUSE                                              Educational neglect
Physical abuse                                     • Infrequent attendance in school
•   Bruises, welts or swelling
                                                   Medical neglect
•   Sprains or fractures
                                                   • Unattended medical or dental needs
•   Burns
•   Lacerations or abrasions                       Emotional neglect or abuse
                                                   • Speech disorders
Sexual abuse
                                                   • Delayed physical development
• Difficulty walking or sitting
                                                   • Substance abuse
• Torn, stained or bloody clothing
• Pain or itching in the genital area;             Behavioral signs of abuse or neglect
    bruises or bleeding in the external            can include
    genital area                                   • Discomfort with physical contact
• Sexually transmitted diseases                    • Low self-esteem
• Pregnancy                                        • Behavior extremes, such as appearing
                                                      overly compliant and passive or very
                                                      demanding and aggressive
Physical neglect
                                                   • Lags in physical, emotional or
• Lack of adequate supervision,
                                                      intellectual development
    nutrition or shelter
• Frequently at home with
    no caretaker
• Poor hygiene
• Inappropriate dress

                  Protective and
                  Preventive Services
                          hen ACS receives a report of child     Preventive services are designed to ensure
                  W       abuse or neglect from the State’s
                  hotline, an ACS caseworker visits the fami-
                                                                 that children remain safe in the home and
                                                                 to prevent children from entering foster
services are      ly’s home to investigate. During an investi-   care. These services, provided by ACS and
                  gation, the caseworker interviews the child,   its network of social service organizations,
                  his or her siblings, the parents, other mem-   can include professional counseling, par-
designed to
                  bers of the household, teachers, neighbors,    enting skills training, substance abuse
                  clergy and other significant people involved   treatment, homemaking services or hous-
ensure that       in the child’s life to determine whether       ing assistance, to name a few.
                  there is credible evidence of abuse or
                                                                 An ACS caseworker may recommend
                  neglect. The caseworker then identifies the
children                                                         preventive services as a result of a child
                  services necessary to protect the child and
                                                                 protective investigation, but many commu-
                  help keep the family together.
                                                                 nity organizations offer these services
remain safe
                  Neighborhood-based preventive services         directly to families upon request.
                  may be offered or, if there is imminent risk
in the home       to the child’s safety, the caseworker may
                  remove the child from the home and place
                  him or her in foster care.
and families

get the support

they need to

be strong.

General Preventive Services include a            tutoring for children and help with job and
wide range of professional counseling            education searches. Mentors remain with
programs for families with children at risk      their families for up to 10 months, typically
of abuse or neglect.                             involving 20 hours per week, although
                                                 schedules are flexible. To learn more about
Parenting Skills Programs provide training                                                       311
                                                 becoming a mentor to a family through FPP,
for birth parents and foster parents, as well
                                                 please see the Volunteering section of this     • Parenting Skills
as educational programs for children in
                                                 booklet on page 19.                             • Family Rehabilitation
foster care. To locate a program, call 311 and
inquire about the Prevention Information         Family Service Units help monitor families’
and Parent Helpline.                             progress, offer specialized counseling and      • Housing Subsidies
                                                 help coordinate other preventive services
Family Rehabilitation Programs serve                                                             • Family Preservation
                                                 families may be receiving. This type of
families for whom parental substance abuse                                                         Program (FPP)
                                                 service is available through the ACS field
is a problem. ACS makes these services
                                                 offices when a Family Court judge has           • Family Service Units
available for parents involved in a child pro-
                                                 recommended it.                                 • The TASA Program
tective case. Parents not involved with ACS
who are seeking drug or alcohol rehabilita-      Teen Age Services Act Program (TASA)            • Family Violence
tion can apply directly to a community-          provides services to pregnant or parenting        Prevention Project
based program for services.                      adolescents under age 20 who are receiving
                                                                                                 • Family Home Care
                                                 public assistance. TASA operates in all five
Housing Subsidies are rental assistance
payments that are designed to help prevent
foster care placement or accelerate the          Family Violence Prevention Project offers
return of children to their families who were    preventive programs that provide special
placed in care due to inadequate housing         training and ongoing help for families in
or homelessness. The subsidies are avail-        which adult domestic violence is occurring.
able to parents with children in foster care     The primary focus is on safety for all family
and parents with children at risk of being       members and services for the entire family.
placed in care.
                                                 Family Home Care Services provide
Family Preservation Program (FPP) is for         childcare, home management and personal
high-risk families who are part of a child       care services to families who need help
protective case. FPP provides intensive,         providing a safe, nurturing environment
at-home crisis intervention and family           for their children. Through training and
preservation services through trained case-      support, home care service providers
workers/mentors who work with only two           help families to manage their households
families at a time. Caseworkers/mentors          independently.
provide extra support, parenting advice,

                    Types of
                    Foster Care
When children         f it is determined after preventive ser-       ACS encourages parents considering a vol-
                    I vices have been provided—or during
                    a child abuse investigation—that a child
                                                                     untary placement to request assistance with
                                                                     their children by connecting to services.
enter foster
                    cannot remain safely in his or her home, he
                                                                     Parents may also bring a PINS (Person In
                    or she will be placed in foster care. ACS and
                                                                     Need of Supervision) petition before the
care, ACS           its network of nonprofit agencies provide
                                                                     Family Court if a child needs more supervi-
                    foster care services to children throughout
                                                                     sion than the parents feel they are able to
                    the City (see page 22 for a list of ACS con-
works to place                                                       provide. Again, prior to bringing a PINS
                    tract agencies). During a child’s stay in fos-
                                                                     petition, ACS will engage families in
                    ter care, ACS and caseworkers work with
                                                                     preventive services in an effort to divert a
them in the         birth families and foster families to create a
                                                                     PINS placement through ACS’s Family
                    service plan for the child that leads to
                                                                     Assessment Program (FAP). Often, with
                    permanency as quickly as possible.
best family                                                          appropriate services this diversion can be
                    Children enter foster care in one of three
setting possible.                                                    The program’s goal is to connect families to
                    Order of the Family Court
                                                                     community-based preventive services as an
                    When evidence shows that child abuse and
                                                                     alternative to seeking intervention through
                    neglect has occurred and the child cannot
                                                                     out-of-home placements. Experienced
                    remain safely at home, ACS brings the case
                                                                     social workers meet with parents and their
                    to the Family Court. After hearing evidence,
                                                                     children to help the family understand
                    the Family Court judge decides whether or
                                                                     services available to them. They also help
                    not the child should be placed in foster care.
                                                                     families make informed decisions that may
                    Parents’ Request                                 help keep the family safe and intact.
                    Parents may voluntarily request the              Immediate intervention is offered to de-
                    placement of a child in foster care.             escalate volatile situations and a short
                    However, ACS usually provides preven-            assessment of the family dynamic is con-
                    tive services for parents before accepting       ducted. Recommendations for next steps
                    voluntary placements.                            and referrals to appropriate services are
                                                                     then given to the family.

Emergency Placement                             ter boarding homes where a recruited, cer-
If a child’s life or health is in imminent      tified foster parent cares for the child or
danger, an out-of-home placement may be         siblings. All foster parents receive intensive
necessary. ACS must obtain a Family Court       training as well as subsidies to help care for
order approving the placement.                  the children.

When children come into foster care, ACS        In addition, ACS operates group care
works to place them in the most family-like     facilities. Group homes are residences in
setting possible. Whenever possible, ACS        which several older (ages 12 and up)
tries to place children with relatives, keep    youth live under the care of trained staff.
siblings together and place children in         Diagnostic Reception Centers (DRC) and
homes in their own neighborhoods.               Residential Treatment Centers (RTC) assess
                                                and serve children and young adults with
Types of foster care include kinship
                                                special needs.
foster homes where a certified relative
cares for the child or sibling group and fos-

                                              How to Become
                                              a Foster Parent
                                                   ach year, thousands of children from        In recent years, ACS has completed adop-
311                                           E    varied backgrounds, ranging in age
                                              from infants to teenagers, enter foster care.
                                                                                               tions for an average of 3,000 children annu-
                                                                                               ally. Adoption staff and contract agencies
• ACS Parent
  Recruitment Hotline                         Foster parents provide these children with       recruit potential adoptive parents, give ori-
                                              safe and nurturing temporary homes.              entations, evaluate the suitability of pre-
• Out of State
                                              Foster parents ensure that their foster chil-    adoptive homes and coordinate the adop-
  Toll Free Number*
                                              dren receive not only the basics—food, a         tion process from initial planning to the
  877/676-WISH                             bed, clothes and medical attention—but           adoption finalization court proceedings.
                                              also plenty of love and care during a very
                                              difficult time in their lives. They also often
                                              work with parents of children living in
                                                                                               How to Become an
                                              foster care to help speed the reunification      Adoptive Parent
                                              process. To learn more about becoming a
                                                                                                   f you are interested in becoming an
                                              foster parent, call 311 or log on to
                                                                                               I   adoptive parent, call the ACS Parent
                                                                                               Recruitment Hotline at 212/676-WISH for
                                                                                               help and guidance. In addition, Hotline staff
                                              Adoption                                         can tell you the nearest location to review
                                                                                               the New York City Family Album, which con-
                                                  oster care should be a temporary inter-
                                              F   vention; it does not offer children the
                                              necessary stability of a permanent family.
                                                                                               tains the biographies and color photographs
                                                                                               of the many children waiting for adoptive
                                                                                               parents, and can also be found online at
                                              The primary goal of a foster care casework-
                                                                                      in the Meet Our Kids
                                              er is to make sure children return to their
                                              homes as quickly as possible—but only if
                                              those homes are safe. If it is determined
                                              that a child cannot return home safely, the
                                              best means to achieve permanence is
                                              through adoption.

*Toll free number provided courtesy of
 Wendy’s restaurants in the Tri-state area.

Child Care                                    Head Start
     CS Child Care administers the largest         CS administers Head Start programs
A    publicly funded childcare system in
the country, serving more than 60,000
                                              A    throughout New York City. This
                                              federally funded program serves nearly
infants, toddlers and preschool age chil-     20,000 preschool age children (ages 3 to
dren in the City of New York.                 5) from low income families.                    311
                                                                                              • Child Care
Children are cared for in group childcare     The goal of Head Start is to improve the
                                                                                                and Head Start
centers, family childcare homes or infor-     social competence, learning skills, health
mal childcare homes. Eligibility for ACS      and nutrition of children enrolled in the
child care is based on social and financial   program so they begin school with a solid
considerations. To find out more about        early childhood education foundation on
ACS Child Care call 311.                      which to build. Head Start also focuses on
                                              family support and assisting parents
                                              toward greater self-sufficiency. Children
                                              are eligible to participate in Head Start if
                                              they are from low income families or if
                                              their families are eligible for public assis-
                                              tance. To find out more about Head Start
                                              call 311.

                   Youth Development
                       o thrive and transition into healthy,          Employment Initiatives

                   T   productive and self-sufficient adult-
                   hood, an adolescent needs education, basic
                                                                      Every year, hundreds of young people age
                                                                      18 and older in New York City emancipate
• Youth            life skills, a work ethic and, perhaps most
                                                                      from foster care. For many of them, a first
  Development      importantly, strong and lasting connections
                                                                      job can put them on track for a productive
  Programs         with family and caring adults. ACS strives
                                                                      adult life. ACS created the Employment
• The G.A.T.E.     to provide these supports through youth
                                                                      Initiatives Unit to assist NYC youth living in
  Program          development services. The Office of Youth
                                                                      foster care in preparing for their first work
                   Development (OYD) focuses on youth age
• ACS Employment                                                      experiences. The unit serves as a clearing-
                   14 and older living in foster care.
  Initiatives                                                         house for resources and referrals for
                   The G.A.T.E. Program*                              employment readiness, vocational training
                   Preparing for and financing college is a           and job placement. ACS’s goal is for all
                   difficult process for most students—for            youth to have the tools and skills necessary
                   young people in foster care, it is often over-     to develop self-sufficiency and experience
                   whelming. The G.A.T.E. (Gaining Access             job stability when they leave foster care.
                   Through Education) Program, which
                   includes the pre-college and college pro-
                   gram, is designed to increase the number
                   of youth in foster care who successfully
                   complete high school and/or postsec-
                   ondary education. The G.A.T.E. Program
                   provides teens with educational enrichment
                   courses, college counseling, SAT prepara-
                   tion courses and college visits. An ACS OYD
                   College Counselor also provides ongoing
                   help with education issues, finances and
                   career planning.

                   *These programs are made possible through a partnership between ACS and New Yorkers For Children
                    (see page 19).
Youth Leadership
Project D.E.E.P.
To face the challenges of adolescence and
transition smoothly into adulthood, all         311
young adults need supportive peer net-          • Youth Leadership
works, leadership skills and self-confi-          Programs
dence. Project D.E.E.P. (Development,
                                                • Project D.E.E.P.
Education, Empowerment, Practice) offers
youth in foster care between the ages of 14     • P.A.S.S.
and 21 the opportunity to develop these
critical assets. Office of Youth Development
staff work with Project D.E.E.P. participants
to foster youth participation, give youth the
chance to feel a sense of belonging, pro-
vide youth a forum in which to discuss how
they receive ACS services and offer the
opportunity to build skills beyond the acad-
emic. Project D.E.E.P. also strives to ensure
that youth receive accurate and valuable
information on key life issues as well as
create connections with caring adults.

The Office of Youth Development supports
programs that deliver effective group train-
ing in 14 crucial areas to youth between the
ages of 14 and 21 living in foster care.
P.A.S.S. (Preparation for Adulthood Skills
and Services) trainings are provided so that
youth develop their skills and knowledge in
valuable areas such as money manage-
ment, health and community resources.

       t is important to remember that you are         • Appear in Family Court. If you are incar-
     I still the most important person in your
     child’s life, even if your child is living in
                                                          cerated, you should be aware of your
                                                          right to be “produced” for all Court
     foster care. That’s why you should:                  hearings.
     • Work to address the problems which led
                                                       • Consult with a lawyer at any time and
         to your child’s placement into foster care.
                                                          be represented by a lawyer in any Court
     • Comply with Family Court orders and                action concerning your child or affecting
         agency recommendations.                          your parental rights.

     • Keep records of all information about           • Quickly receive services that support
         your case.                                       the goal to return your child home.

                                                       • Attend all service plan reviews – meet-
                                                          ings held every six months to discuss
     What Are My Rights?                                  your case and decide the best plan for
     It is important that you know and under-             you and your child – and be immediate-
     stand your rights and responsibilities as a          ly consulted whenever a change in the
     parent if your child is in foster care. As a         service plan for you and your child is
     parent of a child in foster care, you have           being considered.
     the right to:
                                                       • Apply for housing subsidies and other
     • Be informed about the reasons for your             assistance to obtain housing if your
         child’s placement into foster care.              child has been in foster care for at least
                                                          30 days and if lack of adequate housing
     • Be informed about which foster care
                                                          is the primary factor preventing the
         agency is handling your child’s case.
                                                          return of your child.
     • Request that your child be placed
                                                       • Receive regular updates from your
         with a member of your family, together
                                                          caseworker on your child’s health,
         with siblings, and/or in a setting that
                                                          mental health, development, behavior
         is reflective of and responsive to
                                                          and progress in school.
         your child’s culture, religion and
         background.                                   • Visit your child and request transporta-
                                                          tion if you are unable to pay for trans-
     • Be informed of what needs to happen
                                                          portation once an appropriate visitation
         so your child can return home.
                                                          schedule is determined.
     • Receive prompt notification of and
                                                       • Request that your children visit each
         attend any Family Court hearings
                                                          other if they are placed in separate
         about your child or about your
         parental rights (except if the Court
         acts in an emergency).                        • Have your complaints listened to and

   responded to by either ACS or the foster    be persistent in contacting them and do not
   care agency where your child is placed.     be discouraged if they are hard to reach.
   You also have the right to contact the
                                               The Parents’ and Children’s Rights Unit
   ACS Parents’ and Children’s Rights Unit
                                               If you are unable to resolve problems with
   to resolve a problem with your case.
                                               ACS or the foster care agency caring for
• File a complaint against your lawyer if      your child, you should contact the Parents’
   you believe she or he has violated the      and Children’s Rights Unit at ACS (part of
   code of professional responsibility.        the Office of Advocacy). Examples of rea-
                                               sons to contact this office include:
• Receive notification as soon as possible
   of any serious medical emergency,           • You are not receiving your scheduled
   and/or if your child receives any medical      visits with your child.
                                               • The agency is not properly planning with
• Call the New York State Central Register        you for the return of your child.
   (SCR) Child Abuse and Maltreatment
                                               • ACS or your agency is not providing you
   Hotline at 800/342-3720 if you suspect
                                                  with information about your child.
   your child is being abused or neglected
   in a foster home. This right must not be    • The Parents’ and Children’s Rights Unit
   abused – false reporting is a crime.           acts as an impartial body to resolve
                                                  complaints made by parents, foster par-
• Request referrals to receive financial
                                                  ents and children. A worker will hear
   help and/or clothing and furniture for
                                                  your complaint and then contact the
   your child upon your child’s return
                                                  appropriate agency or ACS program
                                                  area. Once the Unit worker has collected
                                                  all the information, he or she will dis-
Where Can I Go                                    cuss the findings with you and work to
for Help?                                         resolve the problem.

Your Agency Caseworker Whenever you            • Any parent, child, foster parent or other
have a problem with your case or a com-           concerned person involved with ACS
plaint, the best person to talk with is your      who needs assistance resolving an issue
agency caseworker. An open discussion will        involving a child welfare case may con-
often settle the matter. If you and your          tact the ACS Office of Advocacy Parents’
caseworker cannot solve the problem, ask          and Children’s Rights Unit by calling
to speak to your caseworker’s supervisor.         311. A message may be left at this num-
                                                  ber at all other times.
Your Lawyer You should also speak with
your lawyer regularly, and keep her or him
informed about the services you are receiv-
ing and any concerns you have. Court-
appointed lawyers are often very busy, so
                   Legal Services
                       egal Services staff provides legal repre-    ACS attorneys also collaborate with con-

                   L   sentation and advice to ACS and works
                   with all parts of the agency to ensure high-
                                                                    tract agency caseworkers and ACS case
                                                                    managers to determine the appropriate
• Legal Services   quality services. More than 180 Children’s       permanency planning goal for each child in
                   Services attorneys appear in New York            ACS custody. Once they have agreed on a
                   City’s five borough Family Courts on more        goal, the ACS attorney presents the plan
                   than 100,000 proceedings involving chil-         to the Family Court judge. ACS presents
                   dren each year. For example, the law             permanency plans every six months for
                   requires that when ACS believes a child          Court review.
                   should be removed from his or her home,
                                                                    ACS legal staff also works with children
                   the facts of the child’s case must be pre-
                                                                    and families during the adoption process,
                   sented to a Family Court judge. At this ini-
                                                                    reviews and proposes child welfare legisla-
                   tial appearance, an ACS attorney presents
                                                                    tion and ensures that ACS complies with
                   evidence supporting ACS’s position and the
                                                                    federal, State and City laws.
                   Court appoints a law guardian to represent
                   the child, as well as a lawyer for the parents
                   if they cannot afford one. Prior to such
                   court appearances, which often initiate
                   child protective proceedings, the ACS attor-
                   ney and caseworker discuss the facts of the
                   case and strategize together about safe
                   alternatives to removal.

Community Outreach
    he mission of the Office of Community       ACS clients, provides training and techni-
T   Affairs (OCA) is to protect and
enhance the lives of New York City’s chil-
                                                cal assistance on accessing rent subsidy
                                                programs and developing supportive             311
dren and families and to reduce the risk of     housing, and works with private landlords      • Neighborhood Based
out-of-home placements. This task               and realtors to increase the availability of     Services Unit
requires the participation of every New         appropriate housing units for families and
                                                                                               • Office of Housing Policy
Yorker. OCA comprises several units that        Independent Living youth. HPAD also con-         and Development
are solely dedicated to making alliances        ducts research focusing on the housing
                                                                                               • Office of Advocacy
and coordinating efforts with other organi-     needs of individuals and families with fos-
zations that work to strengthen families        ter care histories.                            • Office of
and communities.                                                                                 Intergovernmental Affairs
                                                The Office of Advocacy provides informa-
The Neighborhood Based Services (NBS)                                                          • Office of Interagency
                                                tion to the public about child welfare poli-     Affairs
Unit manages 25 Neighborhood Networks
                                                cies and procedures in an effort to ensure
throughout the five boroughs. These net-
                                                that parents, foster parents and youth are
works are designed to promote support
                                                aware of their rights and responsibilities
for children and families in their communi-
                                                and obtain their due process. Through its
ties. NBS staff collaborates with communi-
                                                interaction with clients, the Office of
ty-based organizations including commu-
                                                Advocacy provides feedback that can help
nity boards, houses of worship, service
                                                ACS and its voluntary agencies improve
providers, schools and all other stake-
                                                services to children and families.
holders in the development of strategies
to increase awareness about child abuse
prevention, reporting child abuse allega-
                                                Communication and
tions, as well as foster and adoptive ser-      Government Affairs
vices. If you are interested in having an
                                                The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
ACS representative speak in your commu-
                                                provides guidance on child welfare legisla-
nity or group, call 311 and ask for the ACS
                                                tion and works with elected officials on
Neighborhood Based Services Unit.
                                                child welfare policy issues, programs and
The Office of Housing Policy and                constituent matters.
Development (HPAD) works to maximize
                                                The Office of Interagency Affairs works
the availability and effective utilization of
                                                with other City agencies involved in chil-
housing resources for children and fami-
                                                dren’s welfare including the Human
lies in ACS’s care. To this end, HPAD
                                                Resources Administration, Board of
administers ACS-related housing pro-
                                                Education, Department of Juvenile Justice
grams, operates the Housing Eligibility
                                                and Department of Probation.
Unit, develops transitional and permanent
supportive housing for current and former

     Working at ACS                                  Education & Training
          reas of work at ACS include but are        at ACS
     A    not limited to child protection, child
                                                          he James Satterwhite Training
     welfare, child care and Head Start, foster
     care, adoption, community relations and
                                                     T    Academy, established in 1984 and
                                                     located in Jamaica, Queens, trains all new
     educational outreach.
                                                     caseworkers, offers continuing education
     Candidates for child specialist positions       for ACS supervisors and staff and provides
     must have completed a bachelor’s degree         on-site training through its video training
     with 24 credits in social work or a related     series. The Academy also administers the
     field, pass an English language proficiency     MSW Scholarship Program.
     exam and take the appropriate civil service

     For information about civil service exam
     dates and test status, call 311 to access the
     NYC Department of Citywide Administrative

     As part of its continuing effort to enhance
     the professional qualifications of its
     workforce, each year ACS offers qualified
     caseworkers full Master of Social Work
     (MSW) scholarships at one of the seven
     metropolitan-area schools of social work.

     In addition, ACS sponsors a Summer
     Internship Program for qualified students
     of social work and law who are interested
     in child welfare.

                                                   For those who are interested in mentoring
Becoming a Volunteer                               as a way of making a difference in the lives
     our abilities and life experience may         of youth in foster care, ACS offers:
Y    be of great help to a child or family in
a time of need. ACS is committed to creat-
                                                   • Mentor Referral Service – The Central           311
                                                      Mentoring Office can help you find a          • The Central Mentoring
ing and sustaining meaningful and poten-                                                              Office
                                                      mentoring opportunity that matches
tially long-lasting relationships between
                                                      your interests and availability.              • New Yorkers For Children
its Children’s Services community partners
and youth living in foster care and at-risk        • ACS Family Preservation Program –
families.                                             Matches mentors who are 18 years or
                                                      older with individual families that have
Mentor                                                been involved with Children’s Services.
                                                      For more information, see page 7.
At an age when most teenagers are learning
how to manage their own affairs and take
                                                   New Yorkers For Children
responsibility for their futures, young people
in foster care may be grieving for lost family,             New Yorkers For Children (NYFC) is
adjusting to different schools or communi-                  a not-for-profit organization created
ties or coping with emotional scars. For                    to support ACS’s efforts to improve
young people who are living through particu-                the lives of children and families
larly challenging times, a stable adult in their            known to ACS. With a particular
lives can be invaluable.                           focus on adolescents who are in foster care,
                                                   NYFC funds a variety of programs and initia-
Mentors can provide friendship, support
                                                   tives that support ACS’s goal of protecting
and act as role models to help young adults
                                                   children and strengthening families. The
take charge of their own lives, learn about
                                                   group holds an annual fall gala, numerous
future options, make important decisions,
                                                   special fundraisers throughout the year and
and become successfully integrated into
                                                   earmarks funding specifically for The G.A.T.E.
the community. The Central Mentoring
                                                   and other programs.
Office seeks to:
                                                   You can support ACS youth and families
• Aid existing mentoring programs with
                                                   through NYFC by contributing a financial
   recruitment and training;
                                                   gift, providing job training or placement
• Articulate “best practice” for mentoring         opportunities for youth, donating tickets
   programs serving youth in foster care;          to cultural events or making an in-kind
• Create additional mentoring programs
   for youth in high-need areas; and               To learn more about how to support chil-
                                                   dren and families who are engaged with
• Enhance New York City residents’ under-
                                                   ACS through NYFC, call 311 or log on to          NYFC is wholly dependent upon contributions
   standing of the value and rewards of                                                             which are fully tax-deductible to the extent
                                                            permissible by law.

                        hild welfare programs in New York City date back to 1832, when the first laws governing
                    C   the treatment of children were passed. The modern day children’s services system began
                    to take shape over the last three decades. However, most government child protective agen-
                    cies in the United States, first created in the late 1960s and 1970s, were not designed to han-
ACS builds
                    dle the growing number and complexity of cases of recent years. Today’s challenges require
                    innovative solutions by child welfare professionals. The Administration for Children’s Services
upon New York       builds upon New York City’s historical commitment to children and families and works to meet
                    their changing needs.

City’s historical   1800s      1832     Almshouse Department established when laws regulating the treatment of
                                        children are passed.

                                        Almshouse Department abolished and replaced by the Department of Public
commitment to                  1895
                                        Charities and Correction. The City begins to make payments to
                                        private charitable institutions, known as contract agencies, to care
                                        directly for destitute and abused children.
children and
                    1900s      1940     Bureau of Child Welfare (BCW) created as part of the Department of Welfare.

families and                   1949     Division of Foster Home Care established under BCW as the City begins providing
                                        its own foster care services directly.

works to meet                  1962     Division of Homefinding created within BCW to locate suitable foster homes and
                                        investigative applicants.

                               1964     First Child Protection Unit established, eventually evolving into five borough
and support                             offices.

                               1966     Human Resources Administration (HRA), a social services superagency, is
their changing                          created, incorporating BCW.

                               1974     BCW becomes Special Services for Children (SSC), continuing as a division of HRA.
                               1989     SSC renamed Child Welfare Administration (CWA), continuing as a division of HRA.

                               1996     CWA abolished. Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) created by Executive
                                        Order as a stand-alone agency.

                    2000s      2000     ACS dedicates the Children’s Center, the first building in New York City’s history
                                        specifically designed for children entering foster care.

                               2001     In November, New York City votes to make ACS a permanent agency, making it the
                                        first free-standing, City-chartered agency in the City’s history solely devoted to
                                        children and families. Thanks to an emphasis on neighborhood-based preventive
                                        services, ACS reaches a crucial milestone when the number of children receiving
                                        preventive services surpasses the number of children entering foster care.

                               2004     Children’s Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly appointed by New York City
                                        Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Commissioner Mattingly comes to ACS with more
                                        than 30 years experience working with children and families.

To Learn More                                    National Adoption Center
    or the latest news on Children’s
F   Services, visit the ACS website at The site includes
                                                 National Child Care Information Center
information on recent ACS initiatives, statis-
                                                 National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse
tics, the New York City Family Album and
                                                 and Neglect Information
links to other important resources.
American Bar Association Center on
                                                 New York State Department
Children and the Law
                                                 of Family Assistance
                                                 Office of Children and Family Services
American Bar Association               
Juvenile Justice Center
                                                 New York State Family Court
Annie E. Casey Foundation
                                                 New Yorkers for Children
Child Abuse Prevention Network
                                                 Prevent Child Abuse America
Children’s Defense Fund
                                                 U.S. Department of Health
                                                 and Human Service
Child Welfare League of America                  Administration for Children                              and Families
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
http://www.davethomasfoundation                  W.K. Kellogg Foundation                        

Freddie Mac Foundation

National Adoption Information

     The following social service agencies contract with   Heartshare Human Services of New York
     ACS to provide preventive, foster care and adoption   Highbridge Community Life Center
     services to children and families.*                   Inwood House
                                                           Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services
     Abbott House
                                                           Jewish Child Care Association
     Alianza Dominicana
                                                           Kingsbridge Heights Community Center
     Angel Guardian Children and Families Services
                                                           Lakeside Family and Children’s Services
     Arab-American Family Support Center
                                                           Leake & Watts Services
     Association to Benefit Children
                                                           Little Flower Children’s Services of New York
     Astor Home for Children
                                                           Little Sister of Assumption Family Health Service
     Berkshire Farm Center for Children
       and Services for Youth                              Lower East Side Family Union
     Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC                       Lutheran Social Services of Metropolitan New York
     Boys and Girls Harbor                                 MercyFirst
     Bronx Lebanon Hospital                                Neighborhood Youth and Family Services
     Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service                  New Alternatives for Children
     Builders for the Family and Youth                     New World Communities
     Cardinal McCloskey Children and Family Services       New York City Mission Society
     Catholic Guardian Society of New York                 New York Foundling
     Catholic Home Bureau                                  New York Urban League
     Child Development Support Corporation                 Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership
     Children’s Aid Society                                Northside Center for Child Development
     Children’s Village                                    Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services
     Chinatown YMCA                                        Partnership with Children
     Chinese-American Planning Council                     Pathways for Youth
     Church Avenue Merchant Block                          Protestant Board of Guardians
     Citizen’s Advice Bureau                               Puerto Rican Family Institute
     Coalition for Hispanic Family Services                Queens Child Guidance Center
     Community Counseling and Mediation                    Rosalie Hall
     Community Mediation Services                          Safe Space (Center for Children and Families)
     Concord Family Services                               Salvation Army Social Services for Children
     Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation           SCAN – New York
     Day Care Council of New York                          SCO Family of Services
     Dominican Sisters Family Health Services              Seaman’s Society for Children and Families
     Dominican Women’s Development Center                  Sesame Flyers International
     The Door                                              Southern Queens Park Association
     East Harlem Council for Community Improvement         St. Barnabus
     Edwin Gould Services                                  St. Cabrini Home
     Episcopal Social Services                             St. Dominic’s Home
     Family Consultation Services                          St. John’s Residence and School for Boys
     Family Support Systems                                St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center
     Flatbush Haitian Center                               St. Vincent’s Services
     Forestdale                                            Staten Island Mental Health Society
     Good Shepherd Services                                Steinway Children and Families
     Graham Windham                                        The Valley
     Green Chimneys                                        Visiting Nurse Service of New York
     HANAC Inc.                                            Women’s Prison Association and Home
     Harlem Children’s Zone                                *List as of July 2005.
     Harlem-Dowling West Side Center
       for Children and Family Services

    New York City
Community Districts                                                                        8

                                                                                                                         Pelham Pkwy.
                                                   12                                Heights               6
                                         Washington Heights                                        E. Tremont
                                                                       Concourse           3                                                  10
MANHATTAN                                                                                                               9
                                                                                      Morrisania                                          Throgs neck
                                         9                                                         Hunts Point
                                  Manhattanville                                  1
                                                                           Mott Haven
                                      Central Harlem

                                             E. Harlem
                    Upper W. Side                        11                                                                                          7                11
                                                                                                                                                  Flushing        Bayside
                                                                                                               1             3                                                       13
                                                                                                           Astoria     Jackson Hts
                                         8                                                                                                                        8              Queens
                                   Upper E. Side
                                                                                                               2               4                             Fresh Meadows       Village
                          5                                                                                                 Elmhurst
             4          Midtown
                                                                                                                                          Forest Hills
                                  6                                                                                                5                                        12
                           Murray Hill                                                                                      Ridgewood
                                                                                                                                                         9                 Jamaica
            2                                                              1
      G’wich Village
                                                                    Williamsburg                                                                         10
                           3                                                                       4                                               Howard Beach
                    Lower E. Side                                                             Bushwick
            1                                                                         2
      Battery Park                                                              Fort Greene
                                                                  6                             Bedford
                                                              Park Slope                       Stuyvesant             16                                                      14
                                                                                               8                   Brownsville        5                                    Rockaways
                                                                                      N. Crown Heights                        E. New York
                                                                7                                  9
                                                          Sunset Park                  S. Crown Heights
    STATEN                                                             12
                                                                                               E. Flatbush

    ISLAND                                               10
                                                    Bay Ridge                                           Canarsie
                          1                                                13
          Saint George / Stapleton                                  Coney Island

     South Beach / Willowbrook


                3                                   As part of its goal to make all of its services neighborhood-based, ACS
  Tottenville / Great Kills                         has established Neighborhood Networks representing all of the City’s 59
                                                    community districts. Families and children have a range of services avail-
                                                    able in their communities, including child care, parenting skills training,
                                                    counseling, substance abuse programs, anger management courses and
                                                    education and recreation programs.



















           Protecting Children
       Strengthening Families

Produced by the ACS Office of Communications
               February 2006

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