Child Protective Services investigates, assesses and protects children when there is a suspicion of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Caseworkers monitor and arrange for necessary rehabilitative services to families in need.
Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotline: 1 (800) 342-3720
Teaming is a work model where a team of caseworkers rather than one individual is responsible for a case. Group decision making is a hallmark of the teaming model. All workers contribute to case decisions. While one worker may be assigned a task, all workers are aware of case progress and can cover for each other at any time. Workers feel supported in case activity and families always have a worker available to them. The model requires solid operating agreements, respect for other’s point of view and support from agency leadership. Click here to view a PowerPoint presentation (converted to PDF) from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute Webinar, which describes the implementation of Teaming in NYS and Albany County: "National Child Welfare Workforce Institute Teaming Webinar"
Prevention Services are provided to families with children "at risk" of foster care placement. The goal of Prevention Services is to insure the safety of the child and seek to preserve, support and strengthen the family unit by:
- Preventing child abuse and neglect
- Reducing the number of placements into foster care for children receiving prevention services
- Promoting the optimal health, well being and development of children.
- Healthy Families is a home-visiting program that supports expectant and new parents with the changes and needs of their family that begin prenatally or shortly after the birth of the child. The services are voluntary and free of charge.
Foster Care Services provide children/youth with a temporary home in the community. Foster Care settings vary in level and intensity depending on the needs of the child. Foster Care services consist of needs assessments, arrangements and placement for children under the age of 18. Specialized services place an emphasis on permanency and provide reasonable and diligent efforts to reunite families.
Adolescent Services is located in Albany County Family Court at 30 Clinton Avenue, Albany.
All PINS (Persons In Need of Supervision) and JD (Juvenile Delinquency) cases that appear in Court are monitored by this Unit. When ordered by the Court, arrangements are made for alternative to detention programs, detention, assessments and foster care placements. Youth receive case management services when placed in foster care. This includes providing the life skills necessary so that the youth can be successfully reunited with their families. Adolescent Services also serves as an information and services satellite for DCYF as a liaison to the Court, and referrals for services are arranged when appropriate.
Foster Home Finding Services recruits, trains and certifies prospective foster and adoptive parents for children in foster care placement.
Adoption Services assists children who have no permanent guardian to become adopted. The Foster Home Finding and Adoption Unit provides support to children and the adoptive parents until the adoption is finalized.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster/adoptive parent, please contact the Foster Home Finding and Adoption Unit at (518) 447-7515.
The Independent Living Program provides services for youth residing in foster care and have a discharge goal of independent living because reunification and adoption are no longer viable alternatives, or in instances where youth have a different discharge goal but are otherwise appropriate for Independent Living Services.
Children’s Services Practice Initiatives to Support Families
There are a number of practices which are utilized to support families and their children. Some of these initiatives are listed below:
Bridges to Health (B2H)
Bridges to Health Waiver Program is a program which serves vulnerable children who have been placed in foster care.
These children suffer from mental health concerns, developmental delays, and/or chronic medical conditions.
Bridges to Health supports children in foster care in the least restrictive home or community setting and provides opportunity for improving health and well -being of children served, and supporting permanency planning.
The Bridges to Health Waiver recognizes these children's special circumstances in several ways:
- The family network that will be able to be served along with the child can involve multiple families simultaneously, e.g. foster parents, biological parents, pre-adoptive parents.
- A child can qualify for a waiver only while in foster care. However, once in the waiver the child can generally retain the service until age 21. as long as they meet waiver eligibility. To enhance their opportunities for successful reunifications and placements, the service can follow the participant home, into adoption, to lower levels of foster care and into adulthood.
- Many foster children have multiple disabilities which no single system serves well. The waiver serves three eligibility groups in foster care, so that cross-system issues can be better integrated.
- Agencies which provide services to children in the waiver are experienced in serving children with various needs and disabilities.
- Waiver plans are written to be specific to the needs of the child being served. These plans are written to maintain the child in his/her home community and to link the child and family to appropriate services.
Child Advocacy Center
The mission of the Child Advocacy Center is to minimize trauma to children while providing a coordinated approach to the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child sexual abuse and physical abuse, and to maximize the effects of interventions for children and their families.
The Child Advocacy Center is housed at the Albany County Children's Center, which is a child-friendly place where community partners are co-located to most effectively support families.
Family Team Meeting
Family team meetings (FTM) engage and empower families to take an active role in making decisions and developing plans that protect their children from enduring further abuse and neglect. The evidence informed practice fosters cooperation, collaboration, and communication between professionals and families by recognizing that the families are the experts on their own children.
The FTM facilitator encourages and guides the family members and their supports to make decisions to keep their children safe.
The FTM process also provides families with skills and resources that they can use in the future, decreasing their involvement with the Child Protective System.
Family to Family
Recognizing that care of the child is the essential component of foster care, family to family meetings are being implemented whereby a family of origin and the foster family will have the opportunity to meet and discuss all aspects of the child's care ranging from medical concerns to what is the child's favorite toy.
It is an opportunity to remind all that they are a team working to support the family and child toward safe family reunification or permanency.
They are typically individuals who have gained a unique set of skills and knowledge based on their personal experience in advocating for their own children who have been involved in one or more formal service systems.
Parent Partners engage families and offer them support, encouragement, information and advocacy to most effectively navigate services within the system of care in Albany County.
Such successful outreach, engagement and support often safely reduces the need for higher levels of care, including out of home placement.
Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotline: 1 (800) 342-3720