Press release from governor.ny.gov.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York State is awarding grants totaling up to $12 million through February 28, 2026, to fund family opportunity centers, which are community-based or school-based programs that provide services that strengthen families and improve the safety and well-being of children and families.
"Families are in need of community-based services that support parents and caregivers in raising healthy and happy children and reduce the stress that often leads to a decrease in the entire family's well-being," Governor Hochul said. "I am proud to fund family opportunity centers, which are proven programs that support diverse families across New York State, and we will continue to take concrete actions to support families and help reduce child abuse and neglect, strengthen family stability, and enhance child development."
"As a parent, it breaks my heart that there are children among us experiencing child abuse and mistreatment in New York State," said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. "It is incumbent upon us to ensure the safety of our children by making resources available to families that will help prevent abuse and help us work together as a community to raise happy, healthy children."
The initiative is a collaboration between the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and the State Education Department (SED). OCFS will administer the grants, made available through State funds and the federal Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) program included in the American Rescue Plan. This historic partnership between OCFS and SED reflects the agencies' shared goals to strengthen families and eliminate silos to better coordinate services. FOCs are an enhancement to the family resource center model (FRC) designed to strengthen families, increase their protective factors, support parent and children's mental health, support improved educational outcomes and enhance the well-being of children. FOC programs will offer a wide range of prevention services that will include formal and informal parenting, building social connections, improving child success in school, meeting families' concrete needs and overcoming barriers to mental health and/or substance use disorder services if needed. Families will have access to these valuable services within their own communities in easily accessible and welcoming locations.
The grant funding is designed to implement primary prevention services and to support community-based and school-based programs to increase school and family support resources and increase protective factors that reduce the risk of child abuse/maltreatment and improve educational outcomes for students.
Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Research shows that the existence of family resource centers in a community contributed to a 45 percent reduction in cases of child abuse and neglect. Investing in prevention can also reduce the need for more costly intervention services down the road resulting from abuse and maltreatment. As the number of adverse childhood experiences increase, the risk for numerous long-term health problems increases significantly. We are very pleased to offer these family opportunity centers."
State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, "It's time to rethink how we provide family support services and do it in a comprehensive and collaborative way that serves the whole child, whole family, and whole community. Working together, our agencies will create an opportunity for connected responses that are effective and culturally competent, and provide welcoming spaces for all."
Eligible applicants for the SED funding must be New York State public school districts with a 2019-20 economically disadvantaged student rate above the state average that propose to serve middle and junior high school students and their families. Eligible applicants for the OCFS CBCAP funding must be community-based, faith-based or school-based organizations that are not-for-profit organizations and/or public agencies that propose to serve one or more of the following counties: Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Suffolk, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westchester, Wyoming and Yates.