Ongoing Children’s Services

Foster Care
Our foster care system addresses the needs of children who are placed in the care and custody of the county Commissioner of Social Services pursuant to  court action relative to child abuse or maltreatment, juvenile delinquency, or persons in need of supervision.

Foster and adoptive parents are special people who open their hearts and homes to children in our community who can no longer stay with their families for a variety of reasons. Our foster homes are a temporary placement and last resort after trying all other options to assure the child’s safety.

Independent Living Services
The Independent Living Services are available to all teens in foster care from the age of 14 years to 21. This is accomplished through intensive casework and participation in group activities. The teens have an opportunity to discover what it is like to take responsibility for themselves and are instructed in strategies designed to assist them with life on their own as adults.

Preventive Services 
Preventive services are designed to strengthen the family’s ability to function more effectively and independently in order to prevent family breakup and to reunite as soon as possible if a breakup is necessary.

The foundation is the belief that the family is, and should continue to be, the central structure around which a caring and self-sufficient society must be built. The family is the best environment for raising children and caring for vulnerable members. Accordingly, the family must be able to provide the necessary nurture, protection, shelter, and education for its members.

For these services, a family means an adult(s) and children under age 18 related by blood, marriage, adoption, or an expression of kinship who function as a family unit.

Preventive Services are supportive and rehabilitative services provided to children and their families for averting out-of-home placement of the child. These services enable a child placed in foster care to return home or reduce the likelihood that a child who has been discharged from foster care will return to foster care. 

Non-parent caregivers, who are caring for children living in their home without their parent, may be eligible for financial assistance or other supports. Additional information is provided here: Know Your Resources: Nonparent Caregiver Benefits (Pub. 5194).

PINS (Person in Need of Supervision)
Each county in New York State must designate a lead agency for PINS diversion services. The law addresses the need for early and effective interventions of alleged PINS youths. It also discourages the placement of PINS youths by requiring local governments and courts to exhaust all community-based preventive alternatives before PINS petitions may be filed. The new law puts responsibility on the parents to also show diligent efforts to stabilize their own family situations through support and linkage to these community-based preventive agencies. PINS (Person in Need of Supervision) Diversion is a short-term and voluntary program. 

A youth may qualify if he/she is exhibiting one or all of the following:

  • Truancy 
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Incorrigible and ungovernable behaviors.

Parents, law enforcement, or school officials may refer to PINS diversion services.

If the youth has not shown an improvement in the behaviors identified once services are attempted and all options are exhausted, the youth may be referred to the Jefferson County Family Court Judge for intervention.

PINS Diversion Brochure

School District Referral For PINS Diversion