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Family Assessment Response (FAR)

Chapter 452 of the Laws of 2007 authorized local departments of social services (LDSS), other than in New York City, to apply to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to use a family assessment and services approach for a subset of families that are reported to the Statewide Central Register (SCR) for child maltreatment. The family assessment response (FAR) is a child protective response that 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 focusing on engaging families in informal and formal support services that meet their needs and increases their ability to care for their children.  FAR requires an initial assessment of child safety. If a child is assessed to be in danger, the report may not be handled using a family assessment response. States have found that a family assessment approach is less threatening to and is more engaging of families. It allows the family to have a larger role in determining what services will benefit their children and the LDSS is more likely to be viewed by the family as a helping entity in the future should issues arise that create risk to children.