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Press Release
March 3, 2008

NYC Children's Services Unveils New Advertising Campaign for Child Protection Caseworkers

Ads in 500 Subway Cars Feature 12 "Real" Caseworkers

Commissioner Mattingly and Campaign CPS Participants
NYC Children's Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly with Child Protective Specialists featured in public advertising campaign ads to recruit Child Protective Specialists.
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services today launched its first large-scale public advertising campaign to recruit Child Protective Specialists, the frontline caseworkers who investigate child abuse and neglect. The campaign was unveiled today at a graduation ceremony held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice for 265 Child Protective Specialists (CPS) who recently completed the training required to become a caseworker.

The recruitment campaign advertisements, titled “We Stand By New York City’s Children,” feature the photographs of 12 current Children’s Services caseworkers and supervisors who work in Field Offices throughout the City. The ads challenge potential applicants to consider whether they have the key attributes necessary to doing the job well, asking: “Are You Smart Enough…Are You Brave Enough…Are You Strong Enough… to be a Child Protection Specialist? The $900,000 campaign comprises advertisements in 500 subway cars starting today, and will also include online advertising on job search websites and some print advertising, in venues to be determined.

Are You Smart Enough? 
View all 12 ads

“There is no more important or difficult job than the one we ask of our child protective staff – to   conduct the investigations and make the decisions necessary to ensure children’s safety,” said Children’s Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly. “We are fortunate in New York City to have a wonderful group of people doing this challenging work. With this campaign, we are hoping to attract excellent caseworkers who will stick with us as we stand by the children of New York City.”

The campaign is designed to ensure that Children’s Services increases the number of candidates who are qualified for the job’s unique challenges. The initiative also includes changes to the application and screening process to attract the applicants most suited to succeed and remain on the job. This includes a yearlong effort to streamline the application process and identify the key skills necessary for the work, such as the ability to communicate effectively, analyze information and make decisions, build trust, and tolerate high stress.

“The best way to keep children safe is to make sure that skilled, caring child protective specialists do an immediate, thorough investigation,” said Jan Flory, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Child Protection who led the recruitment project. “These professionals must have a caseload that’s manageable enough to give them enough time to do the job correctly. But before they even take on this difficult assignment, we will be doing a better job of letting prospective staff know what they’re getting into – and we will be doing more to screen people for the skills they need to succeed.”  

Graduate Representative speakers Latoi Luter (left) of Queens and Shawnae Hyde of Brooklyn with Children’s Services Commissioner John Mattingly after addressing the graduation ceremony for 265 new CPS held on March 3, 2008 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. 
Graduate Representative speakers Latoi Luter (left) of Queens and Shawnae Hyde of Brooklyn with Children’s Services Commissioner John Mattingly after addressing the graduation ceremony for 265 new CPS held on March 3, 2008 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

See more graduation photos

Attracting qualified caseworkers is crucial to filling vacant slots immediately in order to keep caseloads at a manageable level. Currently, the average caseload for the approximately 1,300 caseworkers is 11.5, down from a system-wide average of 22 in March 2006.    

The campaign was designed by Lotas Patton New York, a Manhattan-based advertising agency.

The graduation ceremony today celebrated the completion of training for 265 new Child Protective Specialists. Joining them were two new Investigative Consultants, among the 57 former law enforcement professionals who train alongside CPS and work with them in Field Offices to advise on investigative techniques. The new CPS workers successfully completed a rigorous 6-week program which trained them to protect children from abuse and neglect through comprehensive investigations and child welfare assessments. The training took place at Children’s Services’ James Satterwhite Academy. The starting salary for a CPS is $39,568; after an 18-month period of training and field placement, the salary increases to $45,822.

One of the graduates, designated to address her colleagues, was herself part of the child welfare system. “I was in foster care twice as a child,” said graduate Shawnae Hyde, who is assigned to work in Brooklyn. “As a child in that situation, I remember what it’s like to feel scared, alone, missing your parents.  I felt like no one cared how I felt. I want to be the person that a child can talk to. I think I can do a good job of being there for the children I come into contact with because I know what they’re going through.”

The CPS workers have been deployed to ACS’s 14 field offices throughout the five boroughs. Their assignments were determined by staffing levels and caseloads in each office. In 2007, ACS caseworkers investigated about 63,434 reports of abuse and neglect. 

The new graduating class includes recent college graduates as well as individuals who are making career changes, including some who have previously worked in child welfare and in education. The graduates are ethnically diverse, and come from Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados, Latvia, Haiti, Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as well as from the New York City area and other states.

The graduates received training in child welfare practice, including how to conduct safety and risk assessments, investigate abuse and neglect allegations and work and communicate effectively with families. Once their classroom training ends, 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.

Children’s Services’ James Satterwhite Academy was founded in 1984 and is based at The Children’s Center in Manhattan, with classes also in Jamaica, Queens. The Satterwhite Academy has become a national role model for training 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.

For more information about on how to become a Child Protective Specialist, please visit our CPS career page or call 311.

Contact:
ACS Press Office: (212) 341-0999

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View all 12 ads from the public advertising campaign

 

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