Erie County Department of Social Services Launches Yearlong Foster Care Initiative with Permanency Summit

Modified: April 21, 2017 2:05pm

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The Erie County Department of Social Services will convene a Permanency Summit on Tuesday, April 25 2017 in Buffalo to bring together local experts to brainstorm and plan ways to improve outcomes for youth in foster care. Included in the program will be Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, Family Court Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin, Erie County Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger, New York State Office of Child and Family Services Assistant Commissioner Lisa Ghartey- Ogundimu, and Cradle Beach CEO Ann-Marie T. Orlowski.

“Foster care is not meant to be a permanent placement for children,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Our community must work collaboratively to find a permanent family for each child in Erie County. This event is devoted to discussing and working through the urgent need for solutions to dismantle the barriers to permanency for children and youth in the child welfare system.”

“The top priority for youth in foster care is permanency - a safe, stable home in which to live and grow including a life-long relationship with a nurturing caregiver. When permanency is not achieved, the youth often reach adulthood with few skills, minimal education, and inadequate preparation for living as productive, independent adults,” said Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger, Ph.D. “The event, held in conjunction with the New York State Office of Child and Family Services and Casey Family Programs, will launch the Department of Social Services Year of Permanency.”

The yearlong endeavor will include a systematic review of long-stay foster care cases in order to identify and resolve systemic delays and bottlenecks. The goal of this initiative is to reduce the number of children in care and achieve permanency for each child, whether through reunification, adoption, or long-term guardianship.

There are currently 740 Erie County youth in foster or adoptive care, including 138 who have been there for 24 or more months. The Department of Social Services is focused on having every child achieve permanency in less than 24 months.

The Summit will be held on April 25, 2017, from 8:15AM – 3:30PM at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.

For more information on the Department of Social Services:

For more information on Permanency: