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Kathy Hochul, Governor
Sheila J. Poole, Commissioner
November 2016 — Vol. 11, No. 7
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OCFS Providing Consumer Service Through New Child Care Search Tool

   OCFS now offers those seeking quality child care a way to find out more about providers and any potential enforcement history. A new feature on the agency's website adds even more information to what was already a comprehensive, searchable database of child care providers.
   Acting OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole says, “With just a few clicks, parents can research child care options on our website and can check to see if their child care provider is subject to an enforcement action by OCFS.”
   The user-friendly database lists child care programs that are found to be operating without the required license or registration and also child care providers who have had their license applications denied, revoked or suspended. It is a valuable addition to one of the most stringent and comprehensive oversight systems of inspection and enforcement in the country. OCFS Deputy Commissioner for Child Care Services Janice Molnar says, “Child care providers who compromise children’s safety will be identified, appropriate action will be taken and the information will be made available to parents, to help them find safe and nurturing child care environments.”
   There are approximately 20,000 child care programs in New York State, with 11,000 of them located in New York City. OCFS oversees 9,000 Family Day Care, Group Family Day Care, and School-Age Child Care programs in the five boroughs and approximately 9,000 day care programs in the rest of the state. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regulate an additional 2,000 Child Care Centers in New York City.
 

NYSCB Once Again Increases Employment of Blind New Yorkers

   The NYS Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) has a long history of achieving - and often surpassing - its target in employment placements for our consumers. “With 483 placements this year, NYSCB has performed better than ever,” says Associate Commissioner Brian S. Daniels, “and we are proud of and gratified by our success.” Placements in the last year are up 2.75 percent from the previous year.
   A number of factors contribute to this success: most importantly, the dedication and skill of the dozens of vocational rehabilitation counselors who work diligently, creatively, and tirelessly to help legally blind New Yorkers overcome their challenges in preparing for and entering the workforce. New York State’s model for service delivery allows us to partner with nonprofit vision services providers to leverage the resources and support available to our consumers as they work toward independence.
   There are many steps in bringing a consumer case to successful closure. Each consumer’s needs are different and must be accurately identified and addressed. This can mean counselors working together with specialized staff at partner agencies to provide extra attention to developing travel skills, expert advice on selecting the right college or trade school or facilitating training on how to effectively use the latest technology. Still, even the best-prepared consumer cannot work unless there is an employer willing to offer a job. To that end, many NYSCB counselors work to identify and conduct outreach to potential employers, educating them about the value of hiring a blind employee. Once an employer offers a position to a NYSCB consumer, staff members help the employer in making the hire successful by providing ongoing support and recommendations for necessary accommodations and training for their current staff. Job developers and placement staff from the agencies we partner with are a crucial part of the team.
Employment remains the greatest hurdle for people with vision loss. NYSCB is ready to assist them in clearing that hurdle.    “NYSCB will continue to strive to surpass our goals in the coming year by recommitting ourselves to our consumers and their independence,” said Commissioner Daniels.

OCFS Researcher to Present HFNY Study Results at Summit

   On November 15, 2016, OCFS’s Kristen Kirkland, Ph.D. will present results from the Healthy Families New York (HFNY) research study at the Sixth National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs, in Arlington, VA. The summit runs from November 15th to November 16th and will bring together researchers, advocates, policymakers, and practitioners from across the nation to address key issues in the home visiting field and to exchange ideas about best practices and lessons learned.
“I’m looking forward to showcasing the results from HFNY and bringing back new approaches and ideas for improving HFNY home visiting practices,” Dr. Kirkland says.
   The HFNY research study is the longest-running evaluation of a Healthy Families America (HFA) home visiting program and is widely-regarded in the home visiting field. Dr. Kirkland will be presenting as part of a panel in a session called Timing of Key Outcomes for Early Home Visiting Programs: What Happens When? Two other panel members will present results from evaluations of HFA programs in Massachusetts and Oregon.
   The HFNY research study is a longitudinal randomized controlled trial (RCT), considered to be the gold standard of research designs, and is in its 15th year of collecting data. To date, the RCT has demonstrated that HFNY has both immediate and lasting positive impacts on families, including:


• Improved birth outcomes and child health and development;
• Reduced child abuse and neglect;
• Improved educational outcomes;
• Increased parenting competencies; and
• Cost savings for some families.

   
 The study began as a collaboration between OCFS and SUNY Albany’s Center for Human Services Research in 2000 to evaluate the effectiveness of the HFNY home visiting program. Women who met the eligibility criteria for HFNY were randomly assigned to either an intervention group that was offered HFNY services or a control group that was given information and referrals to other appropriate services. Interviews were conducted with 1,173 women in the HFNY and control groups at study enrollment; at the time of the child’s birth; and at the time of the child’s first, second, third, and seventh birthdays. Data were also collected from child welfare, vital statistics and public assistance administrative records, the HFNY Management Information System, and videotaped observations of parent-child interactions. The target children were also interviewed when they were seven years old and their first grade school records were requested from their schools. A 15-year follow-up study is currently under way. In-depth interviews with mothers and their now adolescent children are being conducted and administrative data will be obtained from child welfare, public assistance and the juvenile justice/criminal justice systems. Academic records will also be requested directly from school districts.

 The HFNY home visiting program promotes parent-child bonding and attachment by matching parents with knowledgeable and caring workers who provide information and support during pregnancy and early childhood. Services include helping families access community resources and services, educating families on parenting and child development, connecting families with medical providers, and assessing children for developmental delays.
Additional information about the HFNY program and the results of the study can be found at: www.healthyfamiliesnewyork.org.

Goshen Barbershop Program First of Its Kind

   The youth and staff at Goshen Secure Center are excited to have initiated something new that can inspire residents there - providing barbering skills to create a potential career opportunity.
   "Barbering is a trade that is high in demand," says Facility Director Bobby Ray Smith. "With commitment, one can easily transition into the work force in their communities."
   It's a three-month certification program that gives residents something to strive toward. The 150-hour training program provides a barber's fundamental skill set and nurtures the growth and development of each participant. The focus is on barbering but while the residents are learning those skills they are also learning to become productive professionals. Students are shown hair cutting techniques, how to perform proper sterilization and sanitation, safety procedures, hygiene and nutrition. They also delve into proper work ethics and attire, barber theory, taxes and finance, licensing and entrepreneurship and the history of hair art.
"As we continue to solicit more meaningful enhancement programs for our youth, the barbering program has set the bar high in regards to what’s next," Smith says.
   Each month, Goshen will be host an Enhancement Program Showcase, where vendors from the surrounding area come in to present their programs to Goshen's Directors Leadership Youth Council. Youth will select the programs they deem most meaningful for themselves and their peers.

Aquaponic Program at Industry Inspires Visitors

 The ideas that drive Industry Residential Center's ever-expanding program involving aquaponic and hydroponic agriculture could lead to similar projects in Vietnam. On October 12, visitor Son Nguyen had a look at the program. Nguyen is well-versed in the subject matter, having created an online university, and playing a role in humanitarian and ministry work around the world. His main goal is to teach Vietnamese men and women how to raise their own fish and grow their own food using this innovative technology. The hope is to help people avoid having to travel into the jungle for food.
   "Mr. Nguyen and I thoroughly discussed the best way that aquaponics could be utilized by the tribes in Vietnam," says Julie Geng, director of vocational programs at Industry. "The whole aquaponics team hopes that Son’s program prospers and will help as many people as the aquaponics program has here at Industry."
   Mr. Nguyen’s visit showed residents and Ms. Geng how important this program can be in places all over the world. Geng expects the many local aquaponic and hydroponic farms will provide good-paying jobs and opportunities for the youth at Industry.
   Aquaponics is essentially the combining of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the growing of plants without soil) where fish and plants grow together in an integrated system. Fish waste becomes a food source for the plants; the plants become a filter for the water environment where the fish grow. Microbes (nitrifying bacteria) and worms convert ammonia from the fish waste into nitrites and turn the solids into food for the plants. 

On November 14, the founder of a program called Water for South Sudan is scheduled to visit. Salva Dut is expected to take ideas from Industry back to South Sudan and assist families in getting healthy food into their daily diet.

Finger Lakes Residential Center Grill Program

   For the fourth year, staff and youth at Finger Lakes Residential Center successfully completed a BBQ grill refurbishing project. Vocational Instructor Jay Cook says Taughannock Falls State Park Manager John VanVallen and Assistant Manager William Hughes were once again extremely supportive of the work done by the FLRC youth. "We had a great summer and met our goal of refurbishing 21 grills,"  Cook says. "Taughannock Park supplied the materials and Finger Lakes youth and I supplied the labor."

 

   As a result the park, on 750 acres in Ulysses in Tomkins County, gets almost-like-new grills at a fraction of the cost of replacing them. It's a cost-effective project for the facility and provides the youth in our care real-world work experience and transferable job skills, all while giving back to the local community and fellow New Yorkers who use visit the park and use the grills. Over the course of the program, FLRC has helped in restoring 58 grills.

 

 

   In the process of rebuilding, the students use air chisels, angle grinders, a plasma cutter, a MIG Welder and occasionally a cutting torch. From bulk sheets of steel, students fabricate replacement parts, which requires them to use critical thinking, problem- solving skills, and measuring and design considerations. Safety, personal responsibility, teamwork and pride in workmanship is stressed in all areas of the project. Cook says the students are truly proud of the end result.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York State Child Welfare Program Webinar

On November 22 from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m, OCFS will host a webinar to update key stakeholders on priority child welfare programs and strategic initiatives for improving safety, permanency and well-being outcomes. An agenda and call-in information will be disseminated prior to the webinar. Please hold the date and feel free to share this information with your partners.

For further information, please contact Tara Carson at Tara.Carson@ocfs.ny.gov.