Monday, March 1

Young New Yorkers in foster care will have a better chance to thrive


Young New Yorkers in foster care will have a better chance to thrive

CANOPY’s approach will build on the distinctive strengths of youth.

Photo: Mariela Lombard / El Diario NY

NEW YORK.- The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) of New York City announced this Thursday an initiative to promote the creation of opportunities for young people over 14 years of age who are in the foster system and suffer from complex mental and behavioral health conditions, as a result of which, they have faced cases before the juvenile or criminal justice systems.

The program CANOPY (CreAtiNg OPportunitIes for Youth) is promoted by several city and state agencies, among them, more than the ACS, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the State Office for Children and Family Services (OCFS).

“Some of the youth we care for in the New York City foster care system have unique and complex needs, and we are committed to ensuring that they receive the services they need. This new collaborative approach with our city and state partners will help us better support these young people, ”said the Commissioner of the ACS, David A. Hansell.

The four commissioners of the aforementioned agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that establishes an inter-institutional team, as well as protocols to implement this initiative whose objective will be to provide better support and improve the results of youth in the foster care system. ; the team will include an expert with experience in the child welfare system.

“Every young New Yorker deserves a chance to prosper. CANOPY’s interagency approach will build on the inherent strengths of youth. Our department is proud to be a partner in this important effort, ”said the Dr. Dave Chokshi, DOHMH Commissioner.

The Dr. Ann Sullivan, Commissioner of the State Office of Mental Health He called the new initiative “innovative” in that it “will give OMH the opportunity to work together with other agencies that serve New York youth to find the best way to support them on their journey to adulthood.”

Meanwhile, Sheila J. Poole, OCFS Commissioner she said she was very pleased to be part of the CANOPY initiative.

“This model is very promising for these young people who will benefit from the coordination of multiple systems and the support of the interlocutors of the participating agencies.”

CANOPY objectives

Through a statement, the four agencies involved revealed that the CANOPY initiative will build on the strengths of young people and provide services necessary to improve their safety, well-being, education and job outcomes. Likewise, it will seek to reduce the need for residential services and help young people return home safely to their families or achieve a permanent family through adoption or kinship guardianship; and reduce the risk of incarceration and other adverse outcomes.

The program will have a single streamlined referral process to provide consultation and support to foster care agencies for youth with the most complex needs.

Additionally, there will be a centralized clearinghouse that provides a cultivated array of resources for foster care agencies to use in developing services tailored to the needs of youth and families.

The OMH for its part will have a specialized program of eight beds, called REFOCUS, designed to help stabilize youth in crisis in foster care. This program will open this spring and will be operated by Heartshare Human Services of New York.

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