Program Areas | Families and Communities

New York City Administration for Children’s Services: Development of Procedures for Assessing Support Service Needs and Allocating Resources

The New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS), a vast and complex agency, bears the enormous weight of protecting thousands of New York City children at risk for abuse and neglect. Since 2001, Metis Associates has provided a wide range of research, analysis, and technical assistance services for ACS to improve its child-welfare services.

One of the largest projects that Metis completed for ACS was the development of a rational and empirical procedure for assessing preventive and family-support service needs across New York City's 59 community districts. Metis obtained and analyzed a wide variety of needs-related indicators, such as income, housing, education, and crime, to demonstrate which communities were in need of greater resources. The model that Metis developed continues to help ACS allocate funds and services to community districts. Metis was then asked by ACS to analyze the geographic distribution of home languages spoken in New York City to help ACS better target staff resources throughout the city. Metis also served as the evaluator for ACS's collaborative program with the Bellevue Hospital Center Department of Psychiatry to determine whether the efforts of their joint mental health team had been successful in reducing the number of visits to the psychiatric emergency room.

From 2007 to 2010, Metis engaged in a significant project for the ACS Division of Child Protection, which investigates reports of abuse and neglect, to facilitate and develop a framework for self-evaluation. Metis staff built the division's logic model and provided coaching and support to the Queens and citywide self-evaluation teams, helping them use data to understand the connections among their strategies, activities, and outcomes.

Metis is currently evaluating ACS's Youth Financial Empowerment program, which helps teenagers and young adults who are aging out of foster care to develop financial literacy skills. In 2011 Metis began to work with another ACS program, Stability and Recovery for Families, a model designed to strengthen collaboration and coordination among approximately 100 agencies that care for children and families affected by substance abuse and mental illness. Metis is using sample family case records from five agencies to compare the effect of the new model with the previous one, looking for evidence of improved screening, assessment, timely referrals, and retention of families in chemical-dependency and mental health treatment provider programs. Metis is also looking at improvements in the rates of child maltreatment and foster care placement within this program.