Preventive Services

Strong, capable families are at the heart of every community. Our Preventive Services help communities maintain their quality of life by providing assistance while problems are still manageable. All of our Preventive Services are designed to help parents learn how to be more effective, connect the family with the appropriate resources within their community, and help guide, teach, and heal young people who might otherwise be at risk for placement in out-of-home services.

For more than 25 years, New Directions has been a provider of preventive and Home-Based Crisis Intervention services. Our ability to engage families with practical strategies for coping and growth, such as our “Learn, Use, and Teach,” results in achieving self-reliance and long-term success.

Programs

Family Support +
Niagara Frontier Family Network group meetings are held regularly with free childcare in Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Wheatfield, NY. Each meeting is led by a Family Peer Support Specialist, who is a caregiver of a child with special needs and trained to provide support and advocacy to other caregivers regarding the unique needs of children and adults with special needs.

For up to date information on support group times and locations please contact us or like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Niagara-Frontier-Family-Network-424084394331338/info/?tab=page_info

For more information, contact:
Laura Lloyd, Family Support Coordinator
Phone: 716.433.4487, ext. 493
Email: familysupport@ndyfs.org
Community Crisis Intervention +
Provides short-term services to families with Seriously Emotionally Disturbed (SED) children.

Our Home-Based Crisis Intervention program provides intensive short-term home- and community-based services to families with one or more Seriously Emotionally Disturbed (SED) youth at imminent risk of psychiatric hospitalization or out-of-home placement. We assist families to cope with and prevent crisis situations that lead to psychiatric hospitalization or out-of-home placement. In 2010, 100% of the youth served were diverted from psychiatric hospitalization.

The Home-Based Crisis Intervention program provides referral, linkage, coordination, monitoring, advocacy, social support, and crisis intervention services. This program is supported by the Niagara County Department of Mental Health and the New York State Office of Mental Health.

For more information, contact:
Margaret Donahue, Crisis Coordinator
Phone: 716.535.1745
Email: mdonahue@ndyfs.org
Children's Mobile Crisis Outreach +
Provides on-site assessment and intervention services at homes, schools, and within the community.

In partnership with the Niagara County Department of Mental Health Crisis Services, the Children's Mobile Crisis Outreach team provides on-site assessment and intervention services at homes, schools, and within the community to youth in various stages of crisis. We help prevent psychiatric hospitalization by linking and re-linking youth with necessary services, including Home-Based Crisis Intervention, which provide youth with stability. This program is supported by the Niagara County Department of Mental Health and the New York State Office of Mental Health.

For more information, contact:
Margaret Donohue, Crisis Coordinator
Phone: 716.433.4487, ext. 443
Email: mdonohue@ndyfs.org
Community-Based Treatment +
Providing youth and families with resiliency-based services.

This resiliency-based program serves children, youth, and families who reside in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties. Referrals to this program are made by the Departments of Social Services. Service components include social work counseling, mentoring, and Supervised Visitation Services for residents of Allegany County.

For more information, contact:
Michael Benjamin, Program Supervisor
Phone: 716.945.0399
Email: mbenjamin@ndyfs.org
Community Respite Services +
Provides emergency and planned respite services.

Community Respite Services offers emergency and planned respite services for youth in the Wraparound Program, provided in therapeutic foster homes.

For more information, contact:
Erin Kent, Director of Family Support Services
Phone: 716.839.1392, ext. 204
Email: ekent@ndyfs.org
Partners in Parenting +
Helps parents and guardians prevent the placement of children into foster care.

This intensive program partners with parents or guardians in order to prevent the placement of children in foster care, or to expedite their return from placement. The trauma-focused and family-sensitive approach assists in understanding how parents' own experiences influence their parenting and drives individualized service plans. The Partners in Parenting program serves Niagara County families that are referred by the Niagara County Department of Social Services, primarily through the Child Protective Services division.

For more information, contact:
Amy Lepine, PIP Supervisor
Phone: 716.535.1734
Email: alepine@ndyfs.org
Wraparound Program +
Services designed to prevent out-of-home placements of at-risk youth.

Our primary mission is to divert out-of-home placements of at-risk youth by promoting the family's stability, competence, and self-sufficiency. Utilizing a strength-based and needs-driven process, families are assisted in developing and organizing supports, services, and resources in order to achieve their goals, vision, and independence.

Families are assisted in assembling a Child and Family Team comprised of the youth and family, as well as natural supports, systems, and service providers. The Child and Family Team meet at least once a month to identify a plan of action to address unmet needs, and to develop and implement crisis plans. Services are coordinated through the Child and Family Team process, and the family and youth are assisted in reaching out to natural supports existing in their own communities.

For more information, contact:
Jennifer Wilson, WRAP Supervisor
Phone:716.529.1124
Email: jwilson@ndyfs.org
Erie County Vendor Network for Family Support Services +
Provides mentoring, respite, transportation, and recreation to care coordination agencies.

Workers and services are available to all of Erie County's care coordination agencies through our Vendor Network for Family Support Services. We provide mentoring, hourly respite, transportation, and recreation. Specialized services include substance abuse assessment and counseling, psychological assessment, psychiatric assessment, and individual and family therapy.

For more information, contact:
Erin Kent, Director of Family Support Services
Phone: 716.839.1392, ext. 204
Email: ekent@ndyfs.org
Family Assessment Response +
Family Assessment Response (https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/cps/assessmentResponse.asp)

A Differential Response to a CPS Investigation:
Family Assessment Response (FAR) is New York State’s alternative Child Protective response to some reports of child maltreatment. FAR does not require an investigation and determination of allegations and individual culpability for families reported to the SCR. It is an alternative approach to providing protection to children by engaging families in an assessment of child safety and of family needs, in finding solutions to family problems and in identifying informal and formal supports to meet their needs and increase their ability to care for their children.

In the New Directions FAR program, our staff complete an extensive, state-mandated training to carry out servicing these CPS cases and partner with families to create solutions while assessing for safety and risk. Referrals for this program come through Niagara County Department of Social Services – CPS.

Family Assessment Response: Another Road to Safety
Family Assessment Response (FAR) is New York State’s alternative Child Protective response to some reports of child maltreatment. FAR does not require an investigation and determination of allegations and individual culpability for families reported to the SCR. It is an alternative approach to providing protection to children by engaging families in an assessment of child safety and of family needs, in finding solutions to family problems and in identifying informal and formal supports to meet their needs and increase their ability to care for their children.

Safety is Always First:
Those CPS programs that use FAR do not use it for every CPS report. FAR can only be used where caseworkers see that there is no immediate danger to children and where there are no allegations of serious child abuse. Each social services district develops its own specific criteria for using FAR. Child protective services will continue to use traditional investigations for serious reports of child abuse and neglect and where children are in imminent risk of harm. But investigations are not necessary for many struggling families who want what is best for their children.

The FAR Philosophy:
With FAR, caseworkers work in partnership with families to address problems that could affect child safety. There is no CPS “investigation” and there is no determination of whether maltreatment occurred. There is no blame.
FAR is based on the belief that parents love their children and want them to be safe. Sometimes parents need help to make that happen. FAR can provide that help. The FAR approach is family centered and family-led. It builds on families’ strengths and responds to their individual needs. The approach is solution-focused. That means it is designed to connect families with the services that they need to strengthen and support their families and to prevent future involvement with the child welfare system.

The FAR Approach
Participation in FAR is voluntary. When a caseworker offers to respond to a CPS report with FAR, the subject (that is the person who the report says engaged in child maltreatment or neglect) can always choose to have the CPS respond with a traditional investigation instead.

Maintaining Child Safety:
Although the FAR approach is unlike an investigative approach, FAR is still a child protective response, and caseworkers must always protect child safety first and foremost. Caseworker and family are both constantly assessing safety and risk for the family’s children. If, while working with a family, a FAR caseworker had serious concerns about the immediate safety of a child, the child protective service would have to open an investigation and stop using FAR.


For more information, contact:
Amanda Brittin, Family Engagement Supervisor
Phone: (716) 535-1724
Email: abrittin@ndyfs.org
Erie County Preventive Service +
Provides in-home support and services to safely keep children with their families.

Erie County Preventive Services works with families who have been referred by Erie County Department of Social Services. A Preventive Service Coordinator works with the entire family to help the family identify strengths, goals, and needs. The primary purpose of the program is to help keep children safe and at home with their families. Based on the situation, the Preventive Service Coordinator links families with community resources and provides in-home support and services. The Program offers two levels of support: Traditional and Intensive. The Traditional program works with families for approximately 6 months. The Intensive program is short term (around 30 days) and meets with families every day.

For more information, contact:
Destinie Jones, Program Manager
Phone: 716.833.2657 x222
Email: djones@ndyfs.org
Family Engagement +
Empowers Families to Come Together to Create Solutions

Family Engagement Facilitators partner with families in this voluntary process designed to help restore decision making power to parents and guardians when children are at-risk of not being able to reside/are currently not residing with their parents/guardians. This program has integrated the Family Group Decision Making Model in its practice. Referrals for this program come through Niagara County Department of Social Services. There are two types of tracts this program has been designed for.

Family Group Conferencing – The purpose is for the Facilitator to provide a structured family meeting where family members, supportive friends and family, and service providers come together to create a plan focused on the well-being and safety of the children.

Family Finding – The purpose is for the Facilitator to partner with family to identify possible temporary and permanent supports for the family while the children are currently not able to reside with the parent/guardians.

For more information, contact:
Amanda Brittin, Family Engagement Supervisor
Phone: (716) 535-1724
Email: abrittin@ndyfs.org