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|Jack Deacy / Jennifer Falk (ACS)||212-341-0999|
Declaring New York City a leader in children's services and child protection nationwide, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today opened a two-day conference sponsored by the City's Administration for Children's Services (ACS) that will focus on past and future reform efforts in children's services.
"Over the past five years, ACS has achieved a record of reform and results that rivals any in this administration and I think that it will prove to be one of our most lasting legacies," Mayor Giuliani said in remarks delivered at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel. "Because of your hard work and dedication -- coupled with the leadership of (Commissioner) Nick Scoppetta -- New York City is now a leader in children's services and child protection, a model that is studied by other cities around the nation."
The conference, "Realizing Reform: The Future of Children's Services in NYC", is bringing together more than 500 representatives of the City's child care and child welfare communities, including staff from ACS, contract agencies, other City and State agencies, the Family Court, the District Attorneys and parents and children. During the conference they will review the reform effort of the past five years and draft a blueprint for further reform efforts over the next five years.
ACS Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said: "By creating ACS as an independent
agency, and by providing the financial resources and political commitment, Mayor
Giuliani created the atmosphere in which reform could
flourish. Now that it has, we owe it to the children and families who benefit from it our own commitment to ensure that reform will continue. That's what our work at this conference is all about: making sure that our progress is made permanent."
The Mayor pointed to several of ACS' major accomplishments, including: a record 20,075 adoptions during the past six years; the dramatic reduction in the City's foster care population to today's level of 31,000; the equally impressive reduction in a caseworker's caseload from 28 in 1996 to about 13 currently. He also praised ACS's use of technology to track and measure their own performance and those of the contract agencies.
"At ACS, the spirit of accountability and innovation has replaced the old, reactive strategies that weren't working," Mayor Giuliani said. "For the first time, information is being collected and analyzed throughout the system. While ACS caseworkers did not have computers five years ago, they are now using technology to track and measure performance. Technology is the tool that is allowing us to institutionalize accountability"
Following the death of six-year-old Elisa Izquierdo in 1995 at the hands of
her mother, Mayor Giuliani established ACS by executive order in January 1996
as the City's first independent agency dedicated solely to the well being of
the City's children and families.
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