Children and Family Services
The Rockland County draft 2014-2016 Child and Family Services Plan is now available for public comment. The County's Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Youth Bureau are required by statute to develop and submit to New York State a local multi-year plan for the provision of services and the allocation of resources, including the required Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) Diversion Plan that is developed by DSS, the Youth Bureau and the Department of Probation.
Copies of the draft plan are available by calling Irene Clark at (845) 364-3304 or by clicking on the Draft 2014 Child and Family Services Plan Update (File 1) and Draft 2014 Child and Family Services Plan Update (File 2).
The public and providers of services are invited to comment on the draft Plan until March 21, 2014 in a letter addressed to Commissioner Susan Sherwood, Rockland County Department of Social Services, 50 Sanatorium Road-Building L, Pomona, NY 10970.
Children and Family Services provides preventive and protective services to children, adults and families in their time of need, always with the goal of keeping families intact.
Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS/JD)
This program is a partnership with the Rockland County Probation Department, the Mental Health Association, Rockland County Youth Bureau, BOCES, and the Rockland County Departments of Social Services and Mental Health. The program assists families with children of all ages, with the main focus on the adolescent child. Probation and Information Rockland are the main points of entry for Pre-PINS diversion services. The PINS Preventive Unit assists youth who are truant; acting out in the home, school or community; and who may be involved with drugs or alcohol.
PINS Preventive Caseworkers assess the family's service needs and together with the family, develop a mutually agreed upon plan to prevent out-of-home placement. Services are voluntary, except when ordered by Family Court.
The Teen Parenting Unit provides case management services to adolescents up to the age of twenty-one who are pregnant, parenting and/or at risk for pregnancy. The goals of these school-based intervention programs are to prevent foster care and enable adolescents to complete their education and become self-sufficient adults.
Child Protective Services: Investigative and Family Assessment Response (FAR)
Child Protective Services (CPS) is responsible for investigating and/or assessing safety on all reports of suspected child abuse and/or maltreatment of children under the age of 18. Reports of child abuse or neglect are made by calling the New York State Central Registry at 1-800-342-3720; these confidential calls may be made anonymously. CPS responds to new reports seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
In May of 2011, Rockland County began an alternate response to certain Child Protective cases. When DSS workers receive a report of suspected neglect, they conduct a careful evaluation to determine if the case warrants a CPS investigation or a family engagement and assessment. Family Assessment Response (FAR) is designed to work with the family to provide needed supports, services and resources focusing on the child's safety and the family's needs, as well as their strengths. It also avoids labeling parents as "child abusers."
When a child's safety cannot be assessed or the FAR track is deemed not appropriate, a CPS investigation of the allegations is conducted. CPS investigative Caseworkers may seek the intervention of the Family Court for Orders of Protection, court-ordered services for families, and/or authorization to place a child in foster care. Criminal action can be concurrent in cases of abuse.
FAR Caseworkers assess for child safety without having to prove or disprove the allegations. Workers engage families to identify their needs and provide support, services and resources to meet each family's unique circumstances. This partnership connects families to resources within their community or works to strengthen their informal support systems, while reducing risk to the child.
For tips on keeping your baby safe at night, click on:
Safe Sleep Top 10 and What Does a Safe Sleeping Environment Look Like.
Foster Care & Adoption
The Foster Care Unit is responsible for providing safe and loving homes for children who are temporarily removed from their birth families. Foster Care Caseworkers work with birth parents, children and foster parents with the goal of reunification of children with their birth families. Caseworkers also work with group homes and residential treatment centers that provide services for children who need a higher level of structure. Specialized services are provided for youth between the ages of 14 and 21 to connect them with a significant adult resource and prepare them for independence.
The Adoption Unit works with children who cannot be reunited with birth parents. Children are then either adopted by their present foster parents or placed in suitable adoptive homes. Adoption is finalized through Family Court.
Post-adoption services are vital to adoptive families. Resources and information about post-adoption services can be found on the New York State Office for Children and Family Services website.
Family Services (Formerly Preventive Services)
Family Services' staff provide in-home assessments, casework counseling, and case management services to Rockland County children and their families without regard to income. The goal is to strengthen families to prevent disruption and subsequent placement of children into foster care. Services are voluntary except when ordered by Family Court in cases of abuse, neglect, or custody matters.