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Children's Services

The Children's Services [CS] Division collaborates with community agencies and service providers to support families based on their cultural and individual strengths and needs to provide preventive and foster care services.

Children's Services continues its efforts to prevent foster care placement whenever possible, and to achieve the goal of reunifying foster children with their families or with a safe and permanent home for up to 12 months or sooner. When reunification is not possible, the effort is directed toward hastening permanency for the child through adoption.

Erie County Department of Social Services' Children's Services is located at Appletree Business Park, 2875 Union Road, Suite 356, Cheektowaga, NY 14227.

Children's Services Responsibilities:

  • Help children remain safely in their homes through the provision of Preventive Services.
  • Find temporary care for children who must enter foster care, emergency shelters, residential treatment facilities, or be placed with an appropriate relative.
  • Expedite the return home of children from foster care through preventive services.
  • Find permanent homes for children with relatives or adoptive parents when they cannot remain safely in their own homes.
  • Help parents take responsibility for the care and protection of their children.

Preventive Services:

Are 'supportive and rehabilitative services' provided to children and their families for averting out-of-home placement of the child; enabling a child placed in foster care to return home or reducing the likelihood that a child who has been discharged from foster care would return.

Preventive Services include:

  • Case management and planning
  • Caseworker contacts
  • Day care services
  • Homemaker services
  • Housekeeper/Chore services
  • Home management services
  • Clinical services
  • Parent aide services
  • Parent training
  • Transportation services
  • Emergency cash or goods
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Housing services
  • Crisis respite care

Foster Care:

Children's Services provides case planning and case management for families with children in out of home placement. Out of home placement includes regular and therapeutic foster care, residential care and placement with kin. The goal of all services provided is to obtain permanency for children in the shortest time possible.

Information for Non-Parent Caregivers

Closing the Gap Initiative:

The Closing the Gap Schools Initiative is a proactive collaboration among Buffalo Public Schools, community services providers, the United Way, ECDSS; and other State, County and municipal service systems to coordinate services to families of children in the Buffalo Public Schools in order to address barriers to academic achievement.

The Goal:

To identify and address the underlying causes of a child's reduced school performance in an effective, comprehensive manner at the earliest point possible. Currently, six Buffalo Public Schools participate in this collaboration.

A Closing the Gap School integrates health and human services to address the non-academic barriers of children and their families to enhance learning.

Non-Parent Caregivers (Grandparents, Other Relatives, Friends) Caring for Children

Non-parent caregivers, who are caring for children without a parent living in their home, may be eligible for Temporary Assistance. Temporary Assistance for children not living with a parent is often referred to as “non-parent caregiver” or “child-only” grants, and includes Medical Assistance (MA). If the non-parent caregiver wants assistance only for the children, the non-parent caregiver’s income is not used to determine eligibility and there are no Temporary Assistance work requirements for the non-parent caregiver. Non-parent caregivers may apply for temporary assistance at their local social services office.

In addition to financial assistance, non-parent caregivers (also called kinship caregivers) often have a

need for information and assistance related to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly referred to as Food Stamps), the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), custody, guardianship, foster care, adoption, schooling, school enrollment, and other forms of assistance such as child care, social security, respite, case management and service programs.

For information about services and assistance programs please visit the following websites:

The NYS Kinship Navigator’s website offers legal fact sheets, state and local kinship resources, and other information. In addition, the Navigator operates a 24-hour toll free phone line at 1-877-454- 6463. Kinship Specialists are available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Calls received after 4:00 p.m. will be returned the following business day.

The NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)

MyBenefits is an online tool to help you learn about eligibility for financial assistance and other benefit programs. A simple, 10-minute prescreening from any computer with Internet access at any time, determines whether you are likely to qualify for SNAP, HEAP, the Earned Income Tax Credit, child dependent care credits, school lunch and other programs.

The NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) provides contact information and links to the Kinship Caregiver Programs funded through OCFS, as well as a variety of resources for families and staff, including the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (KinGAP), a subsidy program available to kinship caregivers who are foster parents.

Your local Social Services District (SSD) and local area Office for the Aging (OFA) are also resources for information on kinship care.

The Help Me Grow NY initiative is a program aimed at provoding links to resources that aid in parenting and chid development, as well as craete personalized connections and partnerships. Click for more information.