Children’s Aid Preventive Services: Helping NYC Children and Families Stay Together

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Recently, Children’s Aid Preventive Services received a new contract awarded by New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). We interviewed Alirio Guerrero, Director of Preventive Services to find out more information about it and Preventive Services.

Hi Alirio, can you start by telling me a little but about yourself and your background?

I joined Children’s Aid in 1997. Prior to that, I worked for a community-based child welfare organization on the Lower East Side. I started my career right out of college at DYFS – the New Jersey State-run child welfare agency before pursuing Masters in Social Work and coming to work in NYC. My experience with child welfare and my passion for family work led to the current focus of our preventive service programs which is to provide the basic case work and as well as a clinical approach using a family systems model. I learned about this through a 5-year training program I completed at Ackerman Institute for the Family.

You’ve had a long and focused history in child welfare! Now can you explain what preventive services are?

Preventive Services is a program contracted by the New York City Administration for Children's Services to prevent foster care placement of children who are at risk of abuse and/or neglect in their homes. Through our contract with ACS we provide a wide array of supportive and therapeutic services to help parents provide a safe home for their children.

Who is eligible for these services?

Any parent or legal guardian of children under age 18 in the home with difficulties that could potentially place the children at risk of foster care placement are eligible for Preventive Services. Many of our referrals come from ACS following a child protective investigation or from community agencies when risk in a home has been identified. However, families may also refer themselves to the program when they feel in need of additional support to keep their home stable.

What exactly will the new contract allow you and your team to do?

Our new contract with ACS will allow us to maintain the programming we currently provide in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. In addition, we will be able to expand the program into Staten Island to provide another layer of service to the CAS programs already operating in that borough.

How do our readers find out more, or get these services?

To find out more about Preventive Services, contact the Director, Alirio Guerrero (917) 207-5500 or email Aliriog@childrensaidsociety.org To make a referral, call or email the program supervisors located at each site. Manhattan: (212) 987-4873 or email Michellea@childrensaidsociety.org Bronx: (718) 716-7531 or email Metab@childrensaidsociety.org Staten Island: stay tuned.....we'll be up and running by April 2011!

What’s the latest news at Preventive Services?

This is a very exciting time for the program. We recently found out that the RFP we presented to ACS for our new contract was ranked the best in New York City in 7 out of the 9 community districts that we targeted. We are so proud that all of the hard work we put into the RFP process has been recognized. I’m also happy to announce that I have been invited by World Vision to be one of the keynote speakers at the International Symposium on Child Protection in Taiwan in March 2011. I will be speaking on the subject of Preventive Services for Children and Families at Risk. I am thrilled to be able to share the experience and knowledge I’ve gained in my work here at CAS with an international audience.

We want to thank Alirio for giving us this great information and remind that you can find out more about Preventive Services on our website here.