Frequently Asked Questions Directory

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Below is a description of the different agency divisions, contact information and links to frequently asked questions.


OCFS administers the New York State Adoption Service (NYSAS) which provides information and assistance to local social services districts and voluntary agencies that provide many direct adoption services. NYSAS oversees and approves legal and financial assistance portions of completed adoptions. In addition, NYSAS reviews voluntary agencies applying to be involved in the adoption process. OCFS oversees the New York State Adoption Services program to better assure that children awaiting adoption are provided safe and permanent homes in a timely manner.

Frequently Asked Adoption Questions
Phone: (800) 345-KIDS

Adoption Subsidy Information

Child Day Care Services

The provision of adequate child care is essential to keeping New York families active in the labor force. OCFS supports a comprehensive system to provide quality child care is affordable, accessible and available in New York State. The agency regulates and inspects child care providers, funds the establishment of new child care programs, assists providers in improving the quality of care, helps families locate child care through a statewide network of resource and referral services, and helps low-income families obtain child care through subsidies paid directly to them or their child care provider.

Frequently Asked Child Day Care Questions
Phone: (518) 474-9454

Child Protective Services / State Central Register

OCFS regulates and monitors the local social services districts, which provide child protective services at the local level. The agency also maintains a State Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR), sometimes referred to as the "Child Abuse Hotline." The SCR operates 24 hours a day. It is responsible for handling phone calls from the general public reporting alleged incidents of child abuse, neglect and maltreatment.

Additionally, the SCR provides clearances of prospective employees of child care organizations, foster care agencies, and others who come in contact with children. The courts also seek clearance for prospective adoptive parents and other legal guardians.

Frequently Asked Child Protective Service Questions
Phone: (518) 474-9607 / Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-342-3720

Flexible Fund for Family Service

For many years, counties have requested more flexibility and local discretion in the expenditure of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. Recognizing that needs vary in New York State - a rural, small county might have very different needs from those in New York City - Governor Pataki has proposed in his 2005-06 Executive Budget a new Flexible Fund for Family Services (FFFS).

To help gain a better understanding of the FFFS, staff from the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) developed a set of Questions and Answers that are posted on all three State agencies' websites.

Flexible Fund for Family Services (FFFS) Questions

Foster Care

Foster care in New York State is administered by a network of agencies which are empowered by law to temporarily care for and place children who are unable to remain in their own homes until a more permanent situation is arranged. OCFS is responsible for approving, inspecting, supervising and monitoring voluntary authorized agencies.

Frequently Asked Foster Care Questions
Phone: (800) 345-KIDS

Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth

OCFS operates 18 accredited juvenile residential facilities statewide for more than 1358 youth remanded to the agency's custody and care from the family and criminal courts. The extensive rehabilitative services provided to youth in residential care includes counseling, health, education and employment services as well as programs for youth with special needs. Through its Aftercare Program, the agency provides post-residential counseling and supervision for youth returning to the community. During their period of residential placement, the Family Advocacy Bureau works with the family and youth to provide services and transition assistance.

Frequently Asked Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth Questions
Phone: (518) 486-7029

Native American Services

Native American Services (NAS) serves as a liaison between local social service districts and tribal groups/Indian Nations regarding the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act. NAS may help obtain tribal identity and supports the importance of cultural identity for Native American children in foster or adoptive homes.

Frequently Asked Native American Services Questions
Phone: (716) 847-3123

Office of the Ombudsman (OOTO)

The Office of the Ombudsman (OOTO) is part of the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). The role of OOTO is to help protect the legal rights of youth who reside at certain sites.

Frequently Asked Ombudsman Questions


Recent Reforms Related to Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS)

Frequently Asked PINS Questions

Protective Services for Adults

The Bureau of Adult Services supervises and regulates local social services districts in their administration of Protective Services for Adults (PSA), Residential Placement Services for Adults, and other adult services. PSA is a system of services to impaired elderly and other adults, 18 years of age or older, who are at risk of, or are experiencing, abuse, neglect or exploitation by others or who are neglecting their own needs.

Services are provided by the local social services departments to impaired adults to support their ability to live in the community. The Bureau also certifies Family Type Homes for Adults (FTHA's) a community based, long-term, residential care program for up to four individuals in a family setting.

Frequently Asked Protective Services for Adults Questions
Phone: Call your County Department of Social Services

Regulatory Agenda

Section 202-d of the State Administrative Procedure Act requires the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to develop a list of regulations that the agency is considering for proposal or modification. This list, called a regulatory agenda, is updated every six months, and is published in January and June by the Department of State in the State Register. The public is welcome to send written comments on the OCFS regulatory agenda to the contact person listed on the regulatory agenda portion of this website.

Frequently Asked Regulatory Agenda Questions

Requesting Records from OCFS Under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

Under the New York Freedom of Information Law, citizens have a right to inspect many OCFS records not included on our web.

Information on FOIL Requests

Services for Legally Blind Persons

The Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) is responsible for the administration of services to legally blind residents by ameliorating the disability imposed by visual impairments and enhancing individual employability. Through its district offices, NYSCB provides and arranges for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, mobility training, and informational and referral services.

NYSCB also assists eligible individuals with job training and placement as well as independent living skills.

Commission for the Blind FAQ
Phone: (518) 473-1801

Youth Development

The Office of Children and Family Services is dedicated to the positive development of children, youth, and families in New York State. The OCFS Office of Youth Development works closely with county and municipal youth bureaus and community-based organizations to ensure that local youth development services are available to New York State's young people by providing them with the opportunities and assets/skills to become healthy, productive adults.

Close to Home FAQ
Detention Services FAQ
Supervision and Treatment FAQ
Phone: (518) 473-8455 / (518) 402-3739

Additional Contact Information

For information on the Abandoned Infant Protection Act:

Child Abuse Hotline:

Day Care Complaint Line:

English-Speaking Domestic Violence Hotline:

Línea de Emergencia en Español sobre la Violencia Doméstica:

For information about children available for adoption and other children's programs:

Bureau of Training

For general information not covered by these numbers:
1-518-473-7793 or e-mail OCFS