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PR- 093-06
March 29, 2006


Mayor's Taskforce Leads Major Reform For Improved Communications across Agencies and the Adoption of Clear Accountability In the Investigation of Cases of Abuse

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs today announced a series of new policies and procedures being implemented by the Administration for Children Services (ACS), the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the Department of Education (DOE) as a result of an examination completed by the Mayor's Inter-agency Taskforce on Child Welfare and Safety.  In January 2006, Mayor Bloomberg initiated a citywide review of agencies that interact with children to examine the effectiveness of the City's child protection and child safety systems in the wake of the death of 7-year old Nixzmary Brown.  The new initiatives being adopted by ACS, NYPD and DOE will establish clearer guidelines for identifying early instances of potential child abuse and neglect, and improve the coordination of agencies with responsibilities for responding and investigating the most severe cases of abuse and neglect.  Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Gibbs were joined by ACS Commissioner John B. Mattingly, Police Commissioner Raymond W.  Kelly, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein in announcing continued policy and procedural improvements to City agencies that interact with children.  The implementation of the Taskforce's recommendations will begin immediately and are scheduled for full adoption within three months.  The Taskforce's detailed analysis and the initiatives that are being implemented by various City agencies are available at  

"Effective coordination between ACS, the NYPD, and the Department of Education is absolutely critical in protecting our children," said Mayor Bloomberg.   "The reforms that we're announcing today will dramatically strengthen the partnership between these agencies and ensure that we take advantage of every possible opportunity to help a child in danger.  We have already begun implementing these reforms and in the months ahead, we will continue to work to improve interagency coordination and assess other areas of City government that directly touch our children's lives."

The key initiatives that are being implemented are: 

  • The first ever appointment of an NYPD supervisor in the rank of Lieutenant to work full-time at ACS headquarters, which will help improve inter-agency communications between the NYPD and ACS. 

  • Schools Chancellor Klein is revising DOE regulations to further detail the formal standards by which mandated reporters, including school administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, and social workers are to report cases of excessive absences
     by a child which might be an early indicator of abuse and neglect.

  • ACS is adopting new regulations that will clearly mandate child protective specialists to seek entry orders when they are denied access to the residence of a child suspected to be at risk.  These ACS regulations will also establish mandates that will direct child protection specialists to seek court orders for removal of a child when there is reasonable cause to believe that a child may be abused or neglected, as well as guide child welfare personnel in seeking general assistance from local Police Officers. 

"These reforms will greatly reinforce Children's Services' ability to protect children by strengthening coordination with our partners in child safety at the NYPD and the DOE," said Commissioner Mattingly. "These new procedures and initiatives will enable us to quickly identify potential abuse and neglect, improve our investigations, and ensure that everything possible is being done to protect New York City's children." 

Tightening Policies and Procedures for Department of Education 

  • DOE is adopting specific time frames for investigating excessive student absences in order to more effectively identify children at risk.  

  • DOE policies will now inform mandated reporters that they are not required to prove "actual educational harm" to a student before filing a report for unexplained, excessive absence.   

  • ACS and DOE will increase the frequency with which information is shared on open investigations to enable ACS to gather more information on students, and ACS will better inform DOE of the status of investigations.   

  • DOE will use designated reporters at each school as primary contact between local schools and ACS field offices, and similar liaisons are being established at every ACS field office to facilitate communications with local school officials.   

  • ACS will seek to have the State Central Registry obtain additional contact information from mandated, and other, reporters to enable investigators to contact reporters once they have departed their place of work during business hours.   

"School personnel are often a key link in the system to prevent child abuse and neglect," said Schools Chancellor Klein.  "We want all of our staff to be fully aware of their roles and the procedures for working with ACS and other agencies.  We appreciate the work of Deputy Mayor Gibbs and the Taskforce and we stand ready to make every policy and process improvement in the name of protecting our students."

"Nothing resonates more personally or powerfully with a police officer than a call to help a child in danger," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.  "As a Department, we are eager to share our experience and know-how with ACS to assist it in its mission of helping some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers."

Tightening Policies and Procedures for the Police Department

  • The Taskforce examination of the protocols and communications between ACS and the NYPD is leading to the redesign of the system for initiating, documenting and tracking response by either agency to the most severe cases of abuse and neglect or the initiation by either ACS or NYPD of an Instant Response Team (IRT).     

  • The appointment of a full-time NYPD liaison in the supervisory rank of Lieutenant who will work at ACS headquarters will serve as the NYPD's first point of contact within ACS to facilitate improved coordination between agency officials.  

  • To centralize communications for more efficient agency coordination, the NYPD will create one central phone number at the Police Department to accommodate ACS requests for law enforcement assistance.   

  • Since requests for law enforcement assistance will be made through the central telephone number, child protective service workers will no longer be required to report to a precinct to obtain assistance and calls activating an IRT will be transferred from that central telephone number to Detective Bureau personnel 24 hours, 7-days a week.

  • There will be greater collaboration between agency trainers, and ACS caseworkers will attend the NYPD's Special Victims Child Abuse Investigation course.  

For more than a month and under the direction of Deputy Mayor Gibbs, the Mayor's Inter-Agency Task Force on Child Welfare and Safety has conducted an extensive outreach efforts including: interviewing over one hundred people from all levels within the City's child welfare system, education department and law enforcement; conducting field visits to ACS field offices, District Attorney Child Abuse Bureaus, NYPD Special Victims Unit, Child Advocacy Centers and regional school offices; conducting case file reviews of IRT cases; reviewing training materials, videos, handbooks and other materials used by agencies to train their employees in the areas evaluated; and reviewing current  agency internal policies, procedures and protocols, as well as state and City regulations and guidelines impacting the areas evaluated.  


Stu Loeser / Paul Elliott   (212) 788-2958

Sharman Stein/Sheila Stainback   (Administration for Children Services)
(212) 341-0999

David Cantor   (Department of Education)
(212) 374-5141

Paul Browne   (Police)
(646) 610-6700

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