April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Modified: April 15, 2016 9:43am

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EC Social Services’ Department to Host “Building a Community, Building Hope” Event at Central Library

ERIE COUNTY, NY— The Erie County Department of Social Services (“ECDSS”) has announced that it will host a special event on Friday, April 22, 2016 to commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. “Building a Community, Building Hope” will feature opening remarks from Commissioner of Social Services Al Dirschberger followed by panel discussions on expanded ECDSS efforts to broaden the scope and expertise of service planning and provision through the use of collaborations with community partners. These collaborations have developed into relationships that now either bring staff from outside agencies on-site at ECDSS or send ECDSS staff into the community, benefitting residents needing services by strengthening connections between ECDSS and its partners.

“Across the spectrum, we are working with community agencies and partners to strengthen our collective ability to identify issues and address them as quickly as possible. This program will provide an inside perspective on the positive changes happening at ECDSS and how we are developing relationships that are crucial to providing better service to our residents,” said Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger. “Our partners represent numerous agencies from across the health and human services field and bring extensive experience in dealing with issues surrounding child welfare, and I look forward to a robust discussion on the many ways that we are working closely today to protect our children.”

Currently, ECDSS has three community agencies participating in a collocation relationship in their offices at 478 Main Street. These include Child and Family Services, which assigns two domestic violence advocates there; Mid-Erie Behavioral Health, which assigns two mental health and substance abuse specialists to the site; and the International Institute of Buffalo, which assigns a Safe Harbor representative at the site to address issues of human trafficking. In addition, ECDSS currently has Child Protective Services (“CPS”) workers assigned to Children’s, Sisters, and Mercy Hospitals as well as at the Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center. CPS workers are also assigned to every public school district in Erie County except the Buffalo Public Schools, which utilize the Say Yes program.

Dirschberger added, “These critical partnerships were not in place until recently, and the effects they are having are already being noticed. There is better communication, better follow up, and a clearer idea of how processes work. Across the county, we are strengthening the protective supports around our children with the help of our partners and are truly building a community by building hope.”

ECDSS has three child welfare divisions including Child Protective Services, Children’s Services, and Adoption/Homefinding. Speakers at the panel discussion will represent the fields of domestic violence, mental health/substance abuse, human trafficking, and the hospital and school communities and will discuss their experiences with collocation and partnering with ECDSS’ child welfare divisions. The event is free and open to the public.


“Building a Community, Building Hope” event:

When:      12:30 – 2:00 PM, Friday, April 22 2016

Where:    Buffalo & Erie County Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo NY

                            (in the  Ring of Knowledge area)

The event is free and open to the public.


For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/