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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
December 12, 2007

ACS Commissioner John B. Mattingly Reminds Families of Resources Available During the Holiday Season

New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner John B. Mattingly today reminded parents, caregivers and community members about important resources available to help ensure children’s safety during times of stress and need.

“The holidays are a joyful time but they can also be a stressful time for many families, especially those with young children at home; we want parents and caregivers to know that we can help,” said Commissioner Mattingly. “Through a network of neighborhood-based service providers, ACS offers families support in their own communities. This support is intended to provide solutions before problems may occur.”

Preventive Services for families are designed to ensure that children remain safe in the home and to prevent children from entering foster care. Services are voluntary and free of charge, and are provided through more than 200 community-based non-profit programs throughout the city.
These preventive services include:

  • Crisis intervention, individual and family counseling, parenting guidance and training, referrals and advocacy to public assistance, day care and other subsidized programs.
  • Family Preservation Program – Intensive intervention program that provides six- to eight-week crisis intervention and family support services through specially trained workers. 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.
  • Respite Care – provides short-term care for children for at least 24 hours, to a maximum of 21 consecutive days (30 days if the parent is in an in-patient detoxification unit). Respite Care is provided in the homes of Respite providers who are trained in the needs of families and in the provision of Respite Care. Providers are certified foster care parents who are willing to provide short-term care for children who remain in the custody of parents/caretakers. A parent/family with a child from birth to 17 years of age can benefit from respite care when the parent/caretaker is hospitalized or overwhelmed by the care of their child(ren), particularly when this is the result of an illness of disability of the parent or child. The New York Foundling Family Crisis Nursery, a respite care agency, allows parents in crisis situations to voluntarily bring in their children, newborn to age seven, for short-term stays in a safe haven until the crisis passes. 
  • Family Services Assessment Program (FAP) - Offers information and appropriate services to help parents and young people make well-informed decisions about how to resolve such problems as running away, skipping school or unruly behavior and helps keep young adults from unnecessarily entering the foster care system. Any family can receive assistance from the Family Assessment Program. Families are not required to have an open case with ACS to obtain help.
  • Teenage Services Act (TASA) - Provides services to pregnant or parenting adolescents who are receiving Public Assistance or Medicaid only and helps mothers and fathers under age 20 to learn how to provide better futures for themselves and their children.
  • Family Home Care- provides child care and household management services to families who need help providing a safe, nurturing environment for their children. Through training and support, homecare service providers help families to manage their household independently.
  • Healthy Families New York- intensive home visitation program that provides pregnant women and new mothers of children whose infants are under 3 months-old, free and voluntary in-home services by a Family Support Worker (FSW) to ensure that families are receiving the help that they need to better care for their newborns. 
  • Nurse Family Partnership - a national nurse-led home visiting program from The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene targeted to low-income, first-time mothers in designated high-risk communities throughout the city. First time mothers must enroll before they are more than 28 weeks pregnant.

This is also a good time to remind families that new or expectant parents who are struggling with an unwanted pregnancy should also know about the City’s Safe Haven Law, formally adopted in New York State in 2001 as the Infant Abandonment Protection Act, a State law that shields parents from criminal prosecution if they abandon infants in a safe, suitable location including police precincts, firehouses, emergency medical services, hospitals, churches, crisis nurseries, schools or with any responsible adult willing to accept the baby and call proper authorities.

For more information regarding preventive services available in their neighborhood, parents and caregivers can call 311 and ask for the Prevention and Parent Helpline or call directly at 1-800-342-7472. For more information about ACS, please visit our website:

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services protects New York City’s children from abuse and neglect. Along with our community partners, Children’s Services provides neighborhood-based services to help ensure children grow up in safe, permanent homes with strong families. Formed in 1996, the agency oversees the City’s programs of child protection, foster care, preventive services, adoption, Child Care and Head Start. If parents are interested in enrolling in an ACS Child Care or Head Start program, please call 311. For general information on our services, please call, 1-877-KIDSNYC (543-7692).

ACS Press Office: (212) 341-0999


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