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This entry was published on 2023-01-06
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SECTION 458-O
Differential response programs for children under twelve
Social Services (SOS) CHAPTER 55, ARTICLE 6, TITLE 12-A
§ 458-o. Differential response programs for children under twelve. 1.
Each local social services district, upon the approval of the office of
children and family services, shall establish a program that implements
differential responses to provide services to children under twelve
years of age, who do not fall under the definition of juvenile
delinquent pursuant to subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (a) of
subdivision one of section 301.2 of the family court act and whose
behavior, but for their age, would bring them within the jurisdiction of
the family court pursuant to article three of the family court act. Such
programs shall establish and utilize appropriate assessments and
services for youth, in order to help reduce future interaction with the
juvenile justice and/or child welfare systems. Such assessments shall be
used to determine what, if any, services are needed, and such services
shall utilize the least restrictive intervention protocols available.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the
provisions of this section shall apply only to those cases involving
children under twelve years of age, who do not fall under the definition
of juvenile delinquent pursuant to subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (a)
of subdivision one of section 301.2 of the family court act and whose
behavior, but for their age, would bring them within the jurisdiction of
the family court pursuant to article three of the family court act.

2. To establish a differential response program, each local social
services district, as part of their district-wide child welfare services
plan, as defined in section four hundred nine-d of this article, shall
include a plan to serve the youth described in subdivision one of this
section while utilizing certain criteria to be promulgated in regulation
by the office of children and family services including but not limited
to the following:

(a) the types of assessment to determine whether services are
necessary, services and interventions to be provided to children and
families included in the differential response program for such children
and a description of how the services will be offered. Such services
shall include, but not be limited to, those services set forth in
section four hundred nine-a of this article and section four hundred
fifty-eight-m of this article;

(b) a description of the process to be followed for planning and
monitoring the services provided under the differential responses;

(c) a description of how the differential response program will
enhance the ability of the district to reduce future interactions with
the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, ensure the safety and
well-being of such children, and ways to ensure such program addresses
adverse impacts on minority communities;

(d) a description of the training that will be provided to district
and any non-district staff to be used in the differential response
program including, but not limited to, a description of the training set
forth in section eight hundred forty of the executive law for police
officers whose main responsibilities are juveniles and the laws
pertaining thereto; and

(e) a description of any additional funding that may be utilized to
enhance the differential response program.

3. (a) All records created as part of the differential response
program for children described in subdivision one of this section shall
include, but not be limited to, the initial and any subsequent reasons
why a differential response is recommended for a child, documentation of
all services offered and accepted by such child and their family, the
plan for supportive services for the child and their family, and all
evaluations and assessments of the child's progress.

(b) Records created under the differential response program for the
children described in subdivision one of this section shall be
maintained for five years after a child is referred to a local social
services district for intervention as described in this section or until
the child reaches the age of twelve, whichever is sooner.

(c) All reports assigned to, and records created under, the
differential response program, including but not limited to reports made
or written as well as any other information obtained or photographs
taken concerning such reports or records shall be confidential, shall be
made available only to an entity listed below which has been involved in
the particular youth's service delivery, and shall not be redisclosed,
except as authorized pursuant to subparagraph (vi) of this paragraph,
utilizing non-identifying aggregated information. Such entities shall
include:

(i) staff of the office of children and family services and persons
designated by the office of children and family services;

(ii) the social services district responsible for the differential
response program for children described in subdivision one of this
section;

(iii) a community-based agency that has a contract with the social
services district to carry out activities for the district under the
differential response program;

(iv) a provider of services under the differential response program;

(v) the child, or to their parent or legal guardian, and the attorney
for the child; and

(vi) the office of children and family services and social services
districts for the sole purpose of preparing the report required pursuant
to subdivision five of this section.

4. Expenditures by a social services district pursuant to this section
shall be reimbursable from the annual appropriations available for
social services district expenditures for child welfare services which
shall include, but not be limited to, preventive services provided
pursuant to section four hundred nine-a of this article, funding for
family support services programs as set forth in section four hundred
fifty-eight-n of this article and supervision and treatment services for
juveniles program as set forth in section five hundred twenty-nine-b of
the executive law. Nothing shall preclude a social services district
from seeking private funds for support of their differential response
programs.

5. The office of children and family services shall report on the
differential response programs established pursuant to this section,
including the local social services district's efforts to reduce future
interactions with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, how
the local social services districts are ensuring the safety and
well-being of such children, and how the program is addressing adverse
impacts on minority communities, on an annual basis beginning one year
from the start of every local social services district's differential
response program.