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Parent Advocate/Initial Child Safety Conference Initiative Releases its Concept Paper

The NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) is currently in the process of re-procuring its contracts for the ACS Parent Advocate / Initial Child Safety Conference Initiative. The Concept Paper, developed in anticipation of an early 2022 Request for Proposals, is now public.

Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Comments are due by December 3, 2021, at 5 PM, and can be submitted to: ParentAdvocateOOA-CP@acs.nyc.gov.

The Parent Advocacy Initiative is a peer support program in which parents with prior experience in the child welfare system offer advocacy and support to parents currently involved in the child welfare system. In New York City, Parent Advocates participate in Initial Child Safety Conferences, meetings in which family members and child protective specialists (CPS) at ACS discuss safety concerns in the home and identify the best safety plan for the child.

The just-released Concept Paper was developed with extensive stakeholder input. The anticipated enhancements to the program model are also informed by empirical research, including a study recently published in the Children and Youth Services Review - "Outcomes of the Parent Advocacy Initiative in Child Safety Conferences: Placement and Repeat Maltreatment." The study revealed that, with the Parent Advocacy Initiative in place, ACS saw a significant increase in the conference attendance by parents in comparison with the past; a reduction in child removals; and an increased use of kinship care for children who had to be removed due to safety concerns.