Modified: April 20, 2020 4:51pm

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The Erie County Department of Social Services (“ECDSS”) today announced the receipt of a COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund grant from the Redlich Horowitz Foundation. The Department will use the award to support the provision of services to Child Welfare-involved families while protecting staff and clients from the transmission of COVID-19. This $40,000 grant will allow ECDSS to innovate in assessing safety and well-being, contacting families so that permanency is not delayed, and ensuring foster youth continue their education without interruption.


ECDSS will use the grant funds to purchase the technology necessary to create a technology bank of laptops and tablet computers. Staff will be able to use these technological supports during the COVID-19 emergency to:


•          Facilitate virtual home visits to assess the safety and well-being of families,

•          Facilitate virtual sibling visits,

•          Facilitate virtual parent-child supervised visitation,

•          Provide virtual training for foster/kinship parents to expedite home certification,

•          Facilitate support groups for birth, foster/kinship parents, and for older youth in foster care,

•          Assist youth or clients in need of technology for tele-health services and other clinical services, and  

•          Assist youth in need of technology for educational purposes such as structured learning, continuity of learning, or virtual learning.


“The funds from the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund grant will allow ECDSS to ensure the safety of Erie County children while also protecting the health and safety of our essential staff,” said Marie Cannon, Social Services Commissioner. “Redlich Horowitz Foundation has been a partner of ECDSS for many years. We value their partnership and continued support for the families of Erie County.”


“This crisis has been especially difficult for children in the child welfare system,” added Catie Gavin, Social Services First Deputy Commissioner for Family Wellness. “Thanks to the generosity of the Redlich Horowitz Foundation, these children will be better able to be connected to their families, friends, and community supports.”


Founded in 1986, the Redlich Horowitz Foundation works to accelerate transformation in New York’s child welfare system to keep children, youth, and families supported and thriving. The Redlich Horowitz COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund was established to award funds to organizations seeking to purchase software, hardware and cellular service to give tele-communication capacity to youth, families of origin and foster families to support family-based placements, family connection, reunification and permanency in a time of physical distancing.





For more information:


On the Department of Social Services, visit


On the Redlich Horowitz Foundation, visit




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