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March 2014Vol. 15, No. 3Permanence and Family Preservation

The best way to ensure permanence for children and youth is to prevent unnecessary removal from home. A pilot program conducted by New York City's Administration for Children's Services (ACS) aims to keep teenagers out of foster care and safely at home by implementing evidence-based, in-home therapies. The evidence-base for these services, however, has been proven in juvenile justice, and ACS is testing their efficacy in child welfare. The pilot is featured in the Winter 2012/2013 issue of Child Welfare Watch.

More than one-third of cases investigated by the city's child protective services and more than one-third of youth placed in the city's foster care system are children 12 years old and older—many of whom age out of care. In the coming months, ACS plans to spend $22 million providing short-term therapies to 3,000 families each year in an effort to reduce the number of older youth entering foster care. Some of the therapy models being implemented by ACS include Family Functional Therapy and Multisystemic Therapy. In the juvenile justice system, these programs helped to keep 1,000 youth with their families in lieu of being sent to a juvenile correctional facility. While ACS has previously provided services to help youth involved with child welfare successfully transition to independent living, this pilot marks a shift in the Administration's ACS approach—preventing children from entering foster care in the first place. 

Child Welfare Watch is a project of the Center for New York City Affairs at Milano the New School for Management and Urban Policy. "Social Workers at the Kitchen Table: New York Aims to Keep Teens Out of Foster Care by Adapting Model Therapies That Have Their Roots — and Evidence of Success — in Juvenile Justice," Child Welfare Watch, Winter 2012/2013, is available on the New School's website: (10 MB)