April 7, 2004
NYC Administration for Children's Services Recognizes Child Abuse Awareness Month
April 2004 is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) joins cities and states across the country in reminding parents and caregivers of important safety tips and resources available to help keep children safe.
“Child safety is integral to preventing child abuse and neglect,” said ACS Commissioner William C. Bell. “Each year, ACS investigates more than 55,000 reports of alleged abuse and neglect involving more than 88,000 children, and a number of these cases could be avoided simply through education and awareness. During Child Abuse Awareness Month, and every day throughout the year, ACS works to empower New Yorkers to help us protect the city’s children by educating them and providing important resources to support caregivers.”
ACS works with a network of neighborhood-based service providers to offer children and families throughout the city support within their own community. These services include:
- 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.
Also available to parents, caregivers, health and education professionals and other individuals is “A Life to Love,” a child safety video ACS produced last year which features tips on the following issues: the hazards of leaving children unattended in a bath or a car; the importance of window guards; Shaken Baby Syndrome; Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; car seat usage; stairwell gates; cabinet safety latches and other protective devices.
“A Life to Love” can be viewed on the ACS web site at www.nyc.gov/acs or can be ordered by calling 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.