The week of June 7th marks this year’s citywide “Child Protective Specialist Week of Appreciation,” which serves as an opportunity for New Yorkers to recognize and thank the essential workers that keep children safe and families supported. Child protective specialists, or CPS, working for the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), investigate approximately 55,000 reports of child abuse and neglect each year, take action to protect children and help keep families together by providing supportive services.
Despite the NYS Pause, New York City’s CPS have been working on the front lines of the pandemic as they have continued to investigate reports of child abuse and neglect 24/7 in order to help keep children safe. The agency says Commissioner David A. Hansell’s prior focus on expanding the use of mobile technology among frontline workers has put them in the position where they can carry out their core responsibilities for child safety, while protecting public health, by minimizing in-person contact where alternative means are sufficient. CPS utilize tablets while out in the field and have access to ZipCars. Additionally, the agency says it has modified some procedures for health reasons, including by practicing social distancing precautions when meeting with parents.
Now more than ever, the agency says their work has been critical as families have been stressed and socially isolated. In the midst of the pandemic, CPS have continued to provide children and families with concrete resources, like food, diapers, clothing, cribs, and more. In some cases, they have even gone as far as helping children set up remote learning.
When schools across the City closed their doors in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, Latrice Jenkins, a CPS in the Bronx, helped families set up their remote learning and connect children to free online tutoring services. Jenkins says, just recently, she helped a family get new mattresses for their children.
“During COVID-19, I have been telling my clients my line is open seven days a week. I encourage them to text or call even on my days off, so I can get them the resources they need,” said Jenkins.
“It is an especially stressful time to be a parent or caretaker,” she continued. “I have been trying to go above and beyond the normal client/caseworker relationship during this time.”
Throughout the week, ACS says it will be recognizing and thanking CPS across the City, like Jenkins, via social media. For families who need access to specific resources, please visit the agency’s new website, “Coping Through COVID,” by clicking here.