FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND COMMISSIONERS MATTINGLY AND FRIEDEN ANNOUNCE LAUNCH OF ‘TUNE IN FOR CHILD SAFETY’ A NEW MANDATORY TRAINING PROGRAM FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS TO IDENTIFY AND REPORT EARLY SIGNS OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
New Web-Based and Interactive Training Helps Child Care Providers Better Protect Children
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg with Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner John B. Mattingly and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH ) Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden today announced the launch of Tune In For Child Safety, a new training resource which, for the first time, provides training for frontline child care center workers on how to identify and report the early signs of child abuse and neglect. The Board of Health recently required all frontline workers to receive training every two years. Previously, only child care center directors were required to be trained. The Tune In for Child Safety web-based and interactive training program is a key accomplishment of the Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Child Welfare and Safety, and was developed so that New York City’s 25,000 child care providers working in the city’s 2,080 child care centers can better protect young children by reporting early signs of child abuse, neglect and maltreatment. Child care workers, who closely interact every day with over 100,000 young children, are legally required to report suspected cases of abuse and neglect to the state’s child abuse hotline, the New York State Central Register (SCR) of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. This training is an integral part of the City’s activities for Child Abuse Prevention Month which begins today. The Mayor and Commissioners were joined at the Nuestros Ninos and Community And Parents Child Care Centers in Brooklyn by OCFS Assistant Commissioner/ NYC Coordinator Digna Sanchez, and Center Executive Directors Miriam Cruz and Kathy Molloy.
“Tune In for Child Safety will now give all child care workers the ability to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect early on, and will provide another critical step in making sure that children are kept safe and protected from those that would harm them,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Since the workers are at the front line of providing care, they can identify early warning signs and put efforts in place to provide the best resources needed for helping children who are at risk remain safe.”
Tune In for Child Safety now allows child care directors the opportunity to provide this training for the first time to their staff, whereas in the past, only center directors received training. The program includes a cablecast on NYC TV Channel 74, streaming video via the program’s web site, accessible at www.nyc.gov, and a DVD, enabling child care centers to tailor the timing and method of training to best suit their needs. The curriculum and web site was developed and produced specifically for the City by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), working with DOHMH. ACS provided specifics on the types of scenarios child care workers in the City encounter most often. The training will enable Center directors and their staff to work through sample situations that include making observations, calling the abuse hotline, and documenting their calls. The New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services provided extensive technical assistance.
“ACS has made substantive changes in our investigatory practices, such as reducing child welfare caseloads to 11.5 per caseworker, hiring retired law enforcement professionals to advise frontline caseworkers, and the establishment of Childstat, based on the successful NYPD Compstat system, as a performance measurement and accountability system for the child welfare system,” said Commissioner Mattingly. “We know that child care workers are some of the most critical frontline observers of young people and their families; we urge them to work with us in ensuring that children are kept safe from harm.”
“Children are this City’s most precious resource,” said Commissioner Frieden. “Tune In for Child Safety will help providers identify the early warning signs of abuse so we can have the best chance of protecting children from harm.”
The launch of this new training was scheduled to coincide with a March 2008 amendment to Article 47 of the New York City Public Health Code, which, for the first time requires all child care providers to take two hours of mandated reporter training every two years in recognizing the signs of child abuse and neglect. The Tune In For Safety broadcasts, which will provide the City’s 25,000 child care providers with invaluable information about child abuse prevention, includes video messages from the Mayor and OCFS Commissioner Gladys Carrion about the important role child care center staff play in protecting the children of our City. The trainings coincide with the ‘Week of the Young Child’ which runs from April 13 to April 19.
The Administration has improved its coordination of all City agencies involved in working with children, such as the Department of Education (DOE), ACS and the New York Police Department (NYPD), as a core element of child safety reforms it began two years ago after the death of Nixzmary Brown. The Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Child Welfare and Safety was formed to coordinate and strengthen the City’s overall response to abuse and neglect. The Task Force has launched over 70 interagency reforms and initiatives over the past two years, including the creation of a 24/7 NYPD hotline for child abuse cases; new DOE protocols which would expedite investigation of chronic student absences; and training for more than 1,900 health care workers at City hospitals about reporting abuse.
In March 2007, OCFS partnered with the City to train approximately 800 directors of New York City child care centers as an initial phase of this mandated reporter training initiative, and remains committed to supporting the program because child care workers are critical partners in helping to identify abuse. “Every day, child care professionals are literally face-to-face with our youngest and most vulnerable children who can’t advocate for themselves,” said OCFS Commissioner Carrion. “We need and rely on these caring individuals to let us know if they suspect a child needs help.”
Child care providers will be able to participate in the Tune In For Child Safety trainings by watching broadcasts on NYC TV Channel 74 starting April 16 at 7 p.m. Web casts are also available on the program’s web site, www.tuneinforchildsafety.org, or by watching the DVD.
As part of April’s public awareness activities, ACS is distributing posters with the slogan, “A Hurt Child is Everyone’s Business”, to City agencies, community organizations and nonprofits, urging the public and mandated reporters to report any suspected cases of abuse and neglect. Members of the public can call 311 and ask to be connected to the abuse hotline; mandated reporters should call 1-800-635-1522. Posters are available by calling the ACS Communications Office at (212) 341-0999.
Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker (212) 788-2958
Sharman Stein (Children's Services)
Jessica Scaperotti (Health and Mental Hygiene)
Ed Borges (OCFS) (518) 473-7793
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