December 11, 2003
ACS Commissioner William C. Bell Reminds Families of Resources Available During the Holiday Season
New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner William C. Bell today reminded parents, caregivers and community members of important resources available to them to help ensure the safety of children during times of stress.
“The holidays are a joyful time but can also be a stressful time for many families, especially those with young children in the home. Parents and caregivers are asked to remember during these times that help is available to them through ACS,” said Commissioner Bell. “Through a network of neighborhood-based service providers, ACS offers families support right in their own community. This support is intended to provide solutions before problems become insurmountable.“
ACS contracts with organizations throughout the five boroughs to offer a variety of preventive services including:
- Community-based preventive services, such as crisis intervention, individual and family counseling, parenting skills training and referrals to public assistance, day care and other subsidized programs.
- Family Preservation Program – Provides six- to eight-week crisis intervention and family preservation services through specially trained workers who work with only two families at a time. Volunteer mentors work with the family intensively for up to 20 hours a week to provide further support.
- Family Rehabilitation Program – Serves families in which a parental substance abuse problem exists; family must have at least one child under six years old.
- Respite Care Programs – Provide families with brief and temporary care for children from birth to 17 years of age for 24 hours and up to 30 consecutive days. Respite care is provided in the homes of specially trained, certified foster parents who provide short-term care for children who remain in the custody of their parents or legal guardians.
For more information regarding preventive services available in their neighborhood, parents can call 311 and ask for ACS’s Prevention and Parent Helpline.
New or expectant parents who are struggling with a decision of whether they want to keep their child should also know that they have options. Through community-based preventive services, ACS can help parents identify appropriate pre- and post-delivery counseling. Parents may also contact a private adoption agency in New York City to discuss placing their baby for adoption. Finally, parents should be aware of the City’s safe abandonment program under the Abandoned Infant Protection Act, a State law that shields parents from criminal prosecution if they abandon infants in a safe, suitable location. Enacted in 2000, the law is designed to prevent the tragedies that occur when infants are abandoned by parents. Safe locations include firehouses, hospitals, crisis nurseries or schools. Parents must promptly notify an appropriate person of the child’s location and act with the intent that the child be safe from physical injury.
New Yorkers can report suspected child abuse or neglect by calling the New York State Central Register at 1-800-342-3720 or New York City’s 311.
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 care and Head Start.