ACS and Domestic Violence
ACS policy is guided by a team of domestic violence specialists and a Domestic Violence strategic plan. ACS’s current policy is:
- failure to protect a child from wtinessing domestic violence does not in and of itself constitute neglect.
- any decision to remove a child must be weighed against the possible psychological harm caused by removal.
This means that in order to remove a child from the home, there must be another safety factor endangering the child (such as abuse or neglect of the child specifically).
These two key elements are the result of a 2004 NYS Court decision known as the Nicholson Decision. For more information about this case, click here.
ACS is not working alone on domestic violence as it relates to children and families. The child welfare, domestic violence, and law enforcement and other communities have teamed up to support families in new ways. Some of the initiatives underway include:
- Case names – in March 2005, ACS revised its policy on assigning case names for child welfare cases. In the past, the case name was the mother. Now, the policy is the case name is that of the alleged subject of the report. This means that sometimes fathers or other perpetrators are now listed as the assigned case name.
- Police liaisons/investigative Consultants – ACS has hired retiired NY Police Department detectives to work in each field office to help with Domestic Incident Reports and other domestic violence issues.
- Clinical Consultation Teams – field office based experts in domestic violence who provide consultation and referrals on specific cases.
- Training – there has been extensive training through CONNECT (Family Violence Prevention Project) and the Community Empowerment Project to ensure that ongoing training and technical assistance is available to preventive and foster agencies and other community-based organizations throughout NYC.
- Screening and assessment tools for child protective staff have been developed and updated. Staff have been trained to use these new tools, which includes safety planning assessitance and referrals to appropriate community resources.
For more information on ACS’s work in the area of domestic violence, click here. Or if you would like to know more about what New York City is doing about domestic violence work, contact the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.