Child & Family Services
The Schenectady County Children & Families Services Office is responsible for overseeing a wide range of programs and services for at-risk families and children. The aim of the department is to keep families together whenever possible within the community, to help the family survive as a unit, and to promote normal development and growth.
The goal for every child is a legally permanent home that gives a child a sense of safety, security and the opportunity to form healthy attachments to adults and a sense of belonging in a family. The office receives assistance from and collaborates with the court and legal networks, advocacy groups, home care providers, and other agencies to achieve these ends.
What is Child Protective Services?
Schenectady County Child Protective Services is responsible for investigating allegations of the abuse or maltreatment of children that are directly caused by the actions of the child’s parent or caretaker or are allowed to happen to the child by the parent or caretaker.
How is a report of child abuse or neglect made?
In New York State all reports of abuse or maltreatment are received by the State Central Register which is located in Albany via a special telephone hotline which can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The phone number to make a report is 1-800-342-3720. Calls are accepted both from the general public, who are able to remain anonymous, and from certain professionals who by law are designated as mandated reporters. Reports of abuse or maltreatment may be made for children from birth up to their 18th birthday. Each county has its own Child Protective Services Department. In order for Schenectady County to begin an investigation, a report must be made to and accepted by the New York State Central Registry.
How is a report investigated?
The investigation of a report is a fact-finding process which includes interviewing, observing, and information gathering. Its purpose is to protect the child, determine the validity of the allegations, evaluate any condition of abuse or maltreatment that was not reported, and determine the services necessary to ensure the protection of the child and reduce the degree of future risk to the child. Allegations fall into the four categories described below, which illustrate examples but are not all inclusive. The investigation includes an evaluation of all children in the home, whether or not they are actually named in the report. The final step in an investigation is the determination of whether the report is "indicated" or "unfounded". If some credible evidence of abuse or maltreatment exists, the report is indicated and the family is offered appropriate services. If no credible evidence of abuse or maltreatment is found, the report is unfounded and sealed. The final decision must be made within 60 days.
What is physical abuse?
Physical abuse takes place when a child is hit, punched, slapped, whipped, beaten, or burned, and injuries such as abrasions, bruises, lacerations, bleeding, burns, or fractures occur. The physical injury is not accidental and it causes or creates a substantial risk of death , or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
What is neglect?
Neglect takes place when a parent who is financially able, or offered financial means or other means to meet a child’s health and safety needs, does not provide basic care such as food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, medication, or adequate supervision.
What is emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse takes place when a parent or caretaker’s pattern of behavior has a harmful effect on the child’s emotional health or well being. The effect can be observed in the child’s abnormal performance or behavior and there is substantial impairment to the child’s ability to function normally due to the parent or caretaker’s conduct. For example, a child who is repeatedly isolated, frightened, embarrassed, belittled, or threatened manifests symptoms of impact such as aggressive or self-destructive behavior, inability to think and reason, inability to speak and use language appropriately, extreme passive behavior, extreme social withdrawal, psychosomatic symptoms, or severe anxiety. A mental health professional should assess the child to determine that the child’s impairment is causally linked to the acts or omissions of the parent or caretaker.
What is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse takes place when a child is touched by a parent or caretaker for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire; when the child is encouraged or forced to touch the parent or caretaker for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire; when a child is engaged or attempted to be engaged in sexual intercourse; forced or encouraged to engage in sexual activity with other children or adults; exposed to sexual activity or exhibitionism for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of another; permitted to engage in sexual activity which is not developmentally appropriate and results in the emotional impairment of the child; or used in a sexual performance such as a photograph or video tape.
How are sexual abuse cases handled?
Schenectady County has created a multidisciplinary team to handle all sexual abuse cases called into the New York State Child Abuse Registry. This team is comprised of experienced child protective workers and trained police investigators who jointly respond to each child sexual abuse case. This multi-disciplined response to allegations of child sexual abuse has been very successful in the effort to protect children and bring the perpetrators to justice.
When and where should I call?
Schenectady County receives and begins investigating reports of abuse or maltreatment 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The New York State Central Register hotline 1-800-342-3720 transmits all reports to the Schenectady County Department of Social Services, 388 Broadway, Schenectady, NY 12305. For information weekdays, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, call 518-388-4273; or weekends and holidays reports are received by Emergency Services which can be reached at our after-hours number.
Children and Families
Sex Offender Protection Act of 2005
Since its inception in 1996, the Sex Offenders Registry Act has sought to protect the public from known sex offenders by ensuring that local law enforcement agencies are informed of the names and addresses of all sex offenders living within their jurisdiction, and that pertinent information about these offenders is available to the public. In keeping with the Schenectady County Legislature's mission of protecting the community, we have provided a link to the NYS Sex Offender Registry.
Director of Children and Family Services
Schenectady, NY 12305
518-388-4273 - Child Protective
518-388-4736 - Main Office