May 12, 2003
Administration For Children’s Services Releases Domestic Violence Strategic Plan
Plan Reflects the Agency’s Commitment to an Improved and Coordinated Response for Families Within NYC’s Children’s Services System Who Are Affected by Domestic Violence
Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner William C. Bell today announced the release of the ACS Domestic Violence Strategic Plan which addresses the agency’s ongoing work and commitment to improving child welfare practice with families who are affected by domestic violence.
“This strategic plan, along with ACS’s Domestic Violence Guiding Principles, provide a strong foundation on which we will continue to build a service delivery system that is responsive to the needs of victims of domestic violence and their children in New York City,” said Commissioner Bell. “ACS’s goal is to protect children and strengthen families throughout the five boroughs. This is a complex job and when domestic violence is involved, situations are often even more intricate. One of the strengths of this plan is that it was developed by a wide variety of stakeholders experienced in domestic violence issues who are deeply committed to the topic.”
ACS is one of the only children’s services agencies in the United States that has a strategic plan dedicated solely to domestic violence. The goal of the plan is to ensure that children and families who are affected by domestic violence receive the most appropriate intervention and services. Many initiatives in the plan are well under way and already making a difference to the children and families ACS serves.
ACS estimates that domestic violence is identified in roughly 16% of the average 55,000 allegations of abuse and neglect the agency investigates each year. ACS is committed to working collaboratively with domestic violence service providers, which will allow victims of domestic violence and their children to remain safe together whenever possible, while holding abusive partners accountable for their actions.
As part of the plan and over the past year, ACS has accomplished a variety of goals including:
- The establishment of 12 multidisciplinary clinical consultation teams throughout the five boroughs. These teams are made up of experts in the areas of domestic violence, mental health and substance abuse and offer highly detailed clinical consultations to ACS staff who might not otherwise possess specific expertise in these areas.
- The domestic violence specialists specifically assist child welfare staff in identifying and assessing families affected by domestic violence and developing intervention strategies to keep the non-offending parent and his or her children safe.
- The specialists also provide ongoing in-service training on domestic violence in each ACS field office. As of April 1, approximately 700 domestic violence related consultations have taken place and more than 40 trainings in ACS field offices have occurred.
- The hours of domestic violence training at ACS for newly hired child protective workers have doubled from two days to four days during their first 12 months in the field. This training prepares staff to support and help non-abusive parents to protect themselves and their children while engaging abusive partners in services and holding them accountable for their actions.
- Already, more than 3400 ACS staff, including child protective staff, foster care case managers and attorneys, completed a training on domestic violence.
- A series of neighborhood-based domestic violence forums, designed to bring together child welfare, domestic violence, and other service providers at the local level are being held to discuss strategies for addressing domestic violence in the communities they serve.
- ACS expanded its existing domestic violence advisory committee to include a myriad of representatives from programs that serve victims of domestic violence as well as the criminal justice system. Some of the organizations represented on the committee include the Center for Court Innovation, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, the Children's Aid Society, Safe Horizon, Columbia-Presbyterian and St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospitals and Good Shepherd Children's Services.
- In partnership with the Urban Justice Center, ACS continued to provide specialized training and technical assistance to 50 preventive service programs to ensure that families affected by domestic violence receive best practice interventions.
- In April, a mandatory training initiative began which will further prepare the agency's child protective workers, supervisors and managers to identify, assess and intervene in domestic violence cases.
- In the fall, ACS will issue domestic violence practice guidelines for foster care and preventive service providers to facilitate consistent and effective child welfare practice across all program areas. Once the practice guidelines are issued, ACS will provide further training for foster care and preventive supervisors.
- ACS will continue to strengthen existing partnerships with the New York City Police Department, the five District Attorneys' offices and batterer intervention programs in order to ensure that abusive partners who commit crimes against parents and children are held accountable for their behavior, through arrest, prosecution, and court ordered services.
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services protects and ensures the safety and well being of New York City’s children and strengthens families. Formed in 1996, the agency oversees the City’s programs of child protection, foster care, preventive services, adoption, child support enforcement, child care and Head Start. Copies of the plan are available through the ACS Press Office.