Last week, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), Chair of the Oversight, Analysis, and Investigation Committee, joined with Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton) Chair of the Children and Families Committee, to hold the first in a series of roundtables regarding best practices within the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). The first roundtable focused specifically on the Statewide Central Register (SCR) for Child Abuse and Maltreatment, which handles every call of child abuse and neglect throughout the state via four separate 24 hour hotlines. The trained child protective personnel at SCR are responsible for coordinating the response for each child with law enforcement and any and all social services that may be needed.
The first roundtable consisted of multiple experts in the field of child protective services from various corners of the state including New York City and Buffalo, as well as children’s advocates, members of the non-profit social service sector and representatives from the foster care industry. The roundtable covered the baseline operation of the States Central Registry to look for inefficiencies or gaps in both the law and regulations governing the SCR. However, the discussion turned to potential implementation of streamlined technology to be used by the SCR, the legalities and consequences of a policy shift to recording all calls to the registry, as well as coordination between law enforcement and social service providers.
The next roundtable, to be held on November 19th, will address enhancing Child Protective Services (CPS) investigations. Concentrating on how to further assist caseworkers by providing them with the proper information and support, the observations and ideas expressed in the second roundtable will provide insight into the organizational guidelines of CPS caseworkers, and will seek to address the issue of balance between suitable investigations and protecting the caseworkers own protection and security.
“Children that need protective services are the most vulnerable persons in the state,” Hevesi said. “These roundtables allow us to understand how OCFS conducts its operations, and how we can work together to provide the best protection and care for children in need.”