NYC Resources 311 Office of the Mayor
NYC Administration for Children's Services: The City's child welfare agency, dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families

Office of Advocacy

A staff of social workers and family specialists who respond to concerns of parents, youth, foster parents and the general public about child welfare cases.

Contact Us

Helpline number: (212) 676-9421

Collect call number for incarcerated parents: (212) 619-1309

In Person: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM 
                  MON – FRI  
                  (see address below)

By Mail: 150 William Street
              1st Floor
              New York, NY 10038

Our mission is to support safety, permanence and the well being of all children and families involved with the child welfare system.

  • We work to provide impartial resolutions to conflicts between clients and voluntary agencies or ACS offices. 
  • We provide information to the public about child welfare policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that parents, foster parents and youth are aware of their rights and responsibilities and obtain their due process. 
  • We share information gathered from our interaction with clients to help ACS and partner agencies improve services for children and families.

Click here to view or download brochures and handbooks for ACS clients The Office of Advocacy is comprised of three units:


Brochures and Handbooks for ACS clients

1. Parents' and Children's Rights Ombudsman

The Parents' and Children's Rights Ombudsman receives inquiries from parents, foster parents, children, other concerned parties and the general public regarding child welfare cases with ACS or partner agencies.
Common issues handled by this Unit include:

  • Clarification of child welfare policies and procedures
  • Ensuring families receive services needed towards reunification
  • Visits (Cancellations, Logistics, etc.)
  • Assistance with case planning follow up
  • Questions or concerns about ACS or foster care cases
  • Redirecting non-ACS issues to other appropriate resources

The Parents' and Children's Rights Ombudsman staff will hear the complaint and will help a client either directly or by contacting the appropriate ACS unit or agency to determine the best way to resolve the problem.
If you need assistance in resolving an issue with a child welfare case please call the ACS Parents' and Children's Rights helpline: 212-676-9421.

Collect call number for incarcerated parents: (212) 619-1309


2. Parents As Partners

The Parents As Partners (PAP) Unit is currently staffed by one Family Specialist who is a parent who once had children in the foster care system and successfully achieved reunification. The role of the Family Specialist is to assist in providing concrete services to parents who are experiencing difficulty with their case and lack knowledge about child welfare issues.  The Family Specialist works closely with other divisions of ACS and all contract agencies to help engage families to work toward achieving reunification.
Depending on the needs of the client, the Family Specialist offers a variety of services such as:

  • Helping parents navigate the system
  • Providing support to parents planning for the return of their children
  • Participating in conferences when appropriate to support parents
  • Assisting parents with obtaining public benefits and/or housing resources

The Family Specialist is a great source of emotional support for parents at a time when they feel most vulnerable. The Family Specialist ensures that parents are informed about child welfare procedure and emphasizes the importance of participation in the service plan. 
For more information, or to refer a client that you believe would benefit from working with a Family Specialist, please call the Parents' and Children's Rights helpline at 212-676-9421 and ask to make a PAP referral.


3. Independent Review

The Independent Review Unit receives requests from foster parents when a foster care agency or ACS proposes the removal of a foster child or removes a foster child from a foster home. If the foster parent opposes the removal, after a placement preservation family team conference takes place, they are entitled to another conference (called an Independent Review), facilitated by a neutral party, where the agency presents the reasons for removal and the foster parent(s) can present their opposition to the removal. The Independent Review Unit conducts the conferences or directs the foster parent to the Office of Special Investigations for conferences where there is an active OSI investigation taking place involving the foster parent (related to safety issues in the foster home). The Independent Review Officer determines whether or not the removal is necessary and/or appropriate and sends all parties a copy of the written decision within five days of the conference. This decision must be implemented by the agency and ACS.

According to New York State regulations the child welfare agency must notify the foster family in writing of its intention to remove a child(ren) at least 10 days in advance by issuing a Notice of Removal (form CS 701D available for contract agencies on DocuShare via the ACS intranet). This notice also advises the foster parents of their right to request an Independent Review. In cases of emergency removals, the agency must give the Notice of Removal to the foster parents at the time of removal or it must be provided to them immediately after the removal.

The Independent Review Unit, now located within the ACS Division of Family Permanency Services, is staffed by social workers who function as Review Officers.  To request an Independent Review, call the Independent Review Specialist at (212) 341-0734.