Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Services in New York State
The Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA) is a membership association of more than 100 nonprofit agencies which provide the majority of child welfare and juvenile justice services in New York State.
In partnership with local social service districts and the State Office of Children and Family Services, COFCCA members offer a broad array of programs and services designed to ensure the safety and security of children who are at risk of parental abuse or neglect, provide rehabilitative services to youth involved with the juvenile justice system, and extend support and counseling to families in crisis.
Through preventive services, COFCCA member agencies provide the support, guidance, and oversight necessary for vulnerable children to remain safely at home with their families as they work through issues and problems that have brought them to the attention of the child welfare system. Every year, COFCCA member agencies help strengthen thousands of families so they are able to safely care for their children at home. In those cases where it is not possible for children to remain safely at home, COFCCA member agencies offer care and security through 24-hour-per-day/7-day-per-week foster family care as well as a range of residential programs.
Our members provide out-of-home care for almost 20,000 children and youth across the state. The majority of these children have been placed in foster care because they are at continuing risk of parental abuse or neglect. Others are young people facing their own severe emotional and behavioral challenges, who are placed by the family courts.
COFCCA member agencies provide out-of-home care through a continuum of services which allows levels of support and supervision appropriate to the specific emotional and behavioral needs of the individual child. These include foster family homes (including kinship foster care), therapeutic foster homes, regular and specialized group homes, residential treatment centers, and supervised independent living programs. COFCCA member agencies are responsible for meeting all of the needs of children entrusted to their care; including medical and mental health care as well as ensuring that they receive an appropriate education.
A primary goal of our members’ child welfare services is to safely reunite children with their families as quickly as possible. When reunification is not possible, our members strive to find loving adoptive homes. COFCCA agencies are the primary providers of adoption services in New York State, including the recruitment of potential adoptive homes, pre-adoptive placements, finalization of adoptions, and post adoption services. Every year COFCCA members help to finalize hundreds of adoptions.
COFCCA member agencies provide much of the community-based services to youth in the juvenile justice system, including evidence based programs to divert at-risk youth from entering the juvenile justice system, to prevent youths’ deeper involvement into the system (e.g. placement or higher levels of placement), and supportive services following discharge from placement (aftercare) to prevent re-arrests and return to the juvenile justice system. Our member agencies also provide residential treatment services for about half of adjudicated juvenile delinquents who are in the legal custody of the OCFS Commissioner, who are removed from their communities by the Family Court, but do not need a locked facility. Consistent with the intent of the juvenile justice reform efforts in NYS, COFCCA member agencies are well positioned to serve youth who are not assessed as dangerous to themselves or to others in the community.
COFCCA member agencies provide child welfare and juvenile justice services through professionally trained, highly experienced and deeply committed teams of social workers, child care workers, case aides, therapists, parent and youth advocates, psychologists, nurses, direct care professionals, and support staff. In addition, most residential treatment centers have fully certified campus schools.
Our members provide child welfare and juvenile justice services through contracts with county Department of Social Services, school districts, NYC Administration for Children’s Services, and with the state agencies. Our members’ services comply with state and federal regulations as well as “best practice” standards as recognized and promulgated by national experts and accrediting bodies in the child welfare and juvenile justice fields.*
COFCCA members routinely supplement public funding through their own private fundraising efforts to ensure the provision of high quality child welfare services.