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NYC Administration for Children's Services: The City's child welfare agency, dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families

Press Release
May 9, 2006

Deputy Mayor For Human Services Linda L. Gibbs and Children's Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly Preside Over Graduation Ceremony for 200 New Child Protective Case Workers

Deputy Mayor for Human Services Linda I. Gibbs today joined Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly at a special graduation ceremony for 200 new child protective caseworkers, or Child Protective Specialists (CPS). The new CPS workers successfully completed a rigorous 6-week program at ACS’s James Satterwhite Academy to train them to protect children from abuse and neglect through comprehensive child welfare assessments and investigations. The ceremony was held at Hunter College’s Brookdale Campus Auditorium in Manhattan.

The new graduates are among 525 child protective workers who will be hired as part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s recently announced strategy to strengthen the City’s response to child abuse and neglect. These hires bring to 1,600 the number of child protective workers on staff.

“In choosing this path, you have decided that there is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of New York City’s children,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “On behalf of Mayor Bloomberg, I congratulate each of you, and thank you for joining in our mission to keep our City’s children safe and strengthen families.”

“Today, we celebrate and honor Children’s Services graduating class of Child Protective Specialists,” said Commissioner Mattingly. “In the coming weeks, months and years, each one of you will play a critical role in the lives of New York City’s children and families. What you have learned at the Satterwhite Academy will take you a long way in your careers. I can tell you from experience that it is rewarding work. But keep in mind that it also can be complex, frustrating and even mind-bending. I pledge to you that when that time comes, every member of the Children’s Services Senior Leadership Team and I will be here to support you.”

The CPS workers have been deployed at ACS’s 14 field offices throughout the five boroughs. Their assignments were determined by staffing levels and caseloads in each office, which have risen dramatically since the recent tragic deaths in families known to ACS. In the first four months of this year, ACS caseworkers investigated 7,190 reports of abuse and neglect, compared with 5,232 during the same period in 2005.  They investigated a total of 55,714 reports of abuse and neglect in all of 2005.

Children’s Services’ James Satterwhite Academy was founded in 1984 and is based at The Children’s Center in Manhattan, with classes also in the Jamaica section of Queens. The Satterwhite Academy has become a national role model for training a highly skilled, professionalized corps of child protective workers. Its mission is to promote child welfare as a profession, educate staff with broad knowledge about the field and provide aspiring caseworkers with the ability to think critically.

The graduates received training in child welfare practice, law and theories. Specifically, CPS received training to:

  • Conduct safety and risk assessments
  • Investigate abuse and neglect allegations
  • Work and communicate effectively with families
  • Operate Children’s Services’ computer databases
  • Make judgments on whether a placement is necessary
  • Reduce trauma to children and families

Once their classroom training ends, the CPS workers begin their work in ACS field offices, and deepen their learning by taking on one case each week under close supervision and guidance. Their caseload gradually increases in number and difficulty.

“As child protective workers in New York, you have received some of the best training in the field of child welfare,” Commissioner Mattingly said. “Although you have been given an excellent foundation, you will continue to learn from your colleagues and from the families and children you serve. I am truly grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Gibbs for helping Children’s Services build one of the finest child protective divisions in the country.

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