FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN'S SERVICES COMMISSIONER MATTINGLY ANNOUNCE CHILD PROTECTION PLAN
Improvements Include the Creation of ChildStat to Ensure High Risk Cases of Child Abuse and Neglect Receive Greater Supervision
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Administration for Children's Services (ACS) Commissioner John B. Mattingly today announced that ACS will institute a new system for collecting and examining information to better recognize children at high risk and apply a more rigorous standard during investigations so that signs of danger are not missed or ignored, as they were in the case of 7-year old Nixzmary Brown. These and other improvements being adopted at ACS are the result of Mayor Bloomberg's charge to Commissioner Mattingly to create a comprehensive work plan with measurable goals and objectives detailing the ways that ACS will more effectively meet its core mandate to protect vulnerable children. The agency's plan, Safeguarding Our Children: NYC's Child Protection Plan 2006, is designed to provide clear methods for making the most effective use of the $16 million investment Mayor Bloomberg pledged to the agency in January. These new initiatives build on the improvements Mayor Bloomberg announced in January, including the hiring of more child welfare professionals, the creation of clear lines of accountability at the senior management level at ACS and introduction of new investigative techniques to frontline child welfare professionals.
"This New York City Child Protection Plan affirms our Administration's commitment to bringing to bear our expertise and resources to protect vulnerable children," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We have a responsibility to learn the lessons from Nixzmary's tragic death and apply them so that we do everything possible to keep other vulnerable children safe. We are going to give ACS a new set of instruments to measure potential danger to children. The most important of these will be known as 'ChildStat' which will be similar in methodology to the NYPD 's highly successful CompStat. In addition, we are going to take a number of steps to improve the quality of ACS investigations, and ACS will now be far more aggressive in pursuing every opportunity to improve child safety."
"ACS is determined to build the strongest child protection workforce in the country," said Commissioner Mattingly. "Being a child protection worker is one of the toughest jobs in America. These dedicated individuals protect our most valuable resource - our children. With this Action Plan, we will be taking our system to the next level, building a system that fully supports these workers and empowers them to do the work required to make sound decisions for each individual child."
The 2006 New York City Child Protection Plan primarily focuses on the adoption of initiatives that will dramatically re-engineer ACS data collection, thoroughly upgrade ACS's investigatory practices, and underscore the principal that safety must be the primary focus of the entire spectrum of the City's child welfare services.
Improved data collection at ACS entails the implementation of "ChildStat" which will enable ACS to do data-driven tracking and analysis of its investigations. ACS will develop criteria for identifying the cases that are particularly high-risk, and these cases will receive intensive supervisory attention.
Improving the quality of investigation at ACS will include establishing a "leadership academy" for ACS managers; redesigning the operations of the agency's field offices to make better, more efficient use of information technology; and reducing the amount of time that child protective services workers spend in the office and increase their presence in the field. And as Mayor Bloomberg announced in January, ACS will deploy experienced law enforcement investigators to field offices.
Strengthening and reinforcing the agency's central principal to protect vulnerable children means that ACS will now be far more aggressive in pursuing every opportunity to improve child safety. To accomplish this, ACS will for the first time assign its child protective teams to specific, geographically defined parts of the community. Creating these "Neighborhood Safety Teams" will give supervisors and line workers a more intimate and detailed knowledge of the areas in which they work and also create a better defined system for holding case workers accountable for keeping children safe in those areas.
Making parents accountable for the safety of their children is also an important element of this plan. ACS will achieve this by doubling the size of the agency's "family oversight" staff which provides ongoing supervision of families that need help. By hiring an additional 250 experienced child protective professionals ACS can more closely monitor and regularly reassess the safety of children at risk.
Additionally, ACS will more rigorously scrutinize the performance of the preventive services organizations that it has contracts with, and also identify and fund new community-based partnerships for child safety.
The 2006 New York City Child Protection Plan will also place experienced law enforcement investigators in field offices to coordinate with local police and district attorneys, and provide specialized consultation to child protective workers. These investigative experts will join consultants in the areas of domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health.
Since January, ACS has taken the following additional actions:
ACS will continue to work collaboratively with other City agencies to achieve the goals of the 2006 Action Plan. ACS typically works cooperatively with a variety of other areas of government to administer child protective programs and initiatives including with the NYPD, the Department of Education, the Health and Hospitals Corporation, the Human Resources Administration and the State Office of Children and Family Services, and Family Court. The timeline for most of the new initiatives begins immediately and the work will take between six months to one year to complete.
Stu Loeser / Paul Elliott (212) 788-2958
Sheila Stainback (Children's Services)
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