Today, the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) released key findings from its annual “ACS Prevention Family Experience Survey,” showing strong satisfaction with services. Approximately 94% of survey participants reported being happy with the services their families were receiving through ACS contracted providers. Additionally, 91% of survey participants reported that they would go to their prevention provider for help in the future.
ACS’s prevention services are designed to support families to overcome barriers they may face that ultimately help keep their children safely at home and in their communities. Through a network of community-based providers across NYC, over 15,000 families and 31,000 children receive prevention services each year. Survey participants reported receiving services like family counseling, mental health counseling, and support with their children’s education and/or daycare. ACS’s prevention services continuum also includes domestic violence services, as well as support in accessing more concrete resources like clothing, food, furniture, and government services like SSI and SNAP.
“It is of the utmost importance that New York City offers high-quality services and supports to families so that they have what they need to thrive,” said Commissioner Jess Dannhauser. “We are thrilled to see, as shown in this recent survey, that the vast majority of families were happy with the services they received through ACS and would go to their trusted prevention provider for additional support in the future. ACS will continue to spread the word about these free, voluntary services as well as find innovative ways to hear from families who have participated in prevention services to further improve our offerings.”
ACS’s nationally recognized continuum of prevention services has safely reduced the use of foster care placements. There were over 20,000 New York City children in foster care 20 years ago, and nearly 12,000 a decade ago. Today, there are fewer than 6,500 New York City children in foster care – a historic low. Additionally, each year, as fewer children enter foster care, families that participate in prevention services continue to have strong results. More specifically, among families with the greatest level of need, children were far less likely to experience maltreatment or a foster care placement if they participated in prevention services. Families that completed child welfare prevention in 2021 were half as likely to have an indicated investigation within one year, compared to families that were referred to prevention but did not participate. Families that completed child welfare prevention in 2021 were almost three times less likely to have a child placed in foster care within one year, compared to families that were referred to prevention but did not participate.
In collaboration with provider agencies, the annual “ACS Prevention Family Experience Survey” was offered to families receiving prevention services. Thirty-nine percent of families receiving prevention services during the point in time of survey administration chose to participate in the survey. The survey included questions about household demographics, the type and quality of services received, interactions with case planners, and suggestions for improvements. Findings from the survey will continue to inform further program and practice improvements.
- The vast majority of survey participants were satisfied with the quality of services they received. For example, 94% of participants agree that they are happy with the prevention services their families received; 93% of participants agree services are helping them achieve their goals; 91% of survey participants agree that they would go to their prevention provider for help in the future; and 90% of participants agree that they would recommend services to a friend and/or family member.
- A large majority of survey participants (90%) said the referral to prevention services from ACS was helpful for their families. The continuum of prevention services programs aims to meet the varying needs of families. Families can expect services to be free, trauma informed, and culturally responsive while also having flexible hours to accommodate families’ schedules.
- The great majority of survey participants were satisfied with the work of their case planners. Case planners are the primary staff members at the ACS-contracted prevention provider agencies with whom service recipients interact. They are crucial to the work as they deliver services directly to parents/caregivers, children, young people, and families. 97% of participants reported that they trust their case planner; 96% felt safe telling their case planner about their family; and 96% feel listened to when setting goals for their family as part of their work with the case planner.
Findings from this year’s Prevention Family Experience Survey will continue to inform further program and practice improvements. Many survey participants asked that ACS give families more information on prevention services. Most recently, ACS re-organized its website to include a dedicated “For Families” section. This section of the website offers a more user-friendly way for New Yorkers to understand and access ACS services. The page also has a dedicated URL: nyc.gov/ForFamilies, that we have been promoting widely. Additionally, we have been taking steps to increase awareness of the ACS prevention support line at 212-676-7667, including by educating staff who work most closely with children about the types of services families can receive by calling this number.
To read the full Prevention Family Experience Survey, please visit here.