ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) announced the launch of mobile response units to strengthen children and families at risk of entering the child welfare system. This is part of the expansion of primary prevention work in New York in response to the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).

The mobile response unit strategy helps develop and operate coordinated programs of community-based family support and family preservation services to reduce child maltreatment, address children’s safety and preserve the integrity of the family unit when the family’s needs can be safely and effectively addressed in the home according to the OCFS. The units were procured through funding provided by the state Office of Victim Services, and OCFS covers the operational costs for the counties with FFPSA funding.

The mobile response units are now in four counties around the state: Albany, Monroe, Onondaga and Westchester. They will be staffed by a licensed clinician, a behavioral health specialist, a family peer advocate and/or a domestic violence advocate.

OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole believes it has been long overdue to offer families new approaches that encourage parents to seek help and receive assistance when they need it. The OCFS is hopeful that families will benefit from this approach in collaboration with many community partners.