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Introducing Family First in New York State: A resource for local districts

Redlich Horwitz Foundation (RHF) is pleased to offer this newsletter to support local districts of social services in their implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) in New York State. We hope this newsletter will be a resource to share tools, guidance, and news related to Family First. 


Upcoming Learning Series

Look out for more virtual learning series coming later this summer and in autumn:

  • Protecting Your Child Welfare Budget During Covid-19 Reductions, Part Two: If You Must Cut, What to Cut, will provide county leaders with real tools to evaluate the effectiveness of services, programs and processes to minimize the impact of cuts on children and families.

  • Kinship and Foster Family Recruitment, Support and Education: A three-part series featuring practical advice from counties who are implementing best practices in recruiting, supporting, and educating their kinship and foster family caregivers.

  • Leading from the Middle in Child Welfare: A two-part series on using data for day-to-day management, and adaptive leadership and managing culture change.


In Case You Missed It: New ADM on Emergency Foster Boarding Homes and Expanded Waiver Authority

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) issued a new Administrative Directive (ADM) that releases the standardized forms that must be used to complete the expedited home studies to approve emergency foster boarding homes (FBHs).

The ADM also reiterates OCFS regulations that allow LDSSs to approve kin as emergency foster homes, including required timeframes for completion of the Statewide Central Register (SCR), Staff Exclusion List (SEL) and criminal background checks; and foster parent pre-service training during the emergency approval process. It also expands non-safety, non-statutory waiver authority.

Share Your Thoughts With OCFS!

As child welfare jurisdictions across our state respond to the Covid-19 epidemic, they were given flexibilities that have enabled timelier, more streamlined work. They have also encountered statutes, regulations and ADMs that have gotten in the way of being responsive.

As the state moves toward reopening, we are collecting feedback from counties on what temporary policies they would like to see stay active after reopening, as well as existing requirements that are hindering your work. We will be synthesizing your answers and sharing them on your behalf!

I hope you enjoyed this inaugural newsletter! If you have any suggestions for how to make this newsletter more responsive to your needs, please email me, Jessie Rothkuo, directly via this email. And please visit to learn more about our ongoing support of Family First implementation statewide. On the Tools & Resources page, you’ll find a lot of helpful materials, including a new series of custodial options templates that can be customized with your county’s information, as well as a brief paper on crisis response models for family-based settings.


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