Oswego County Department of Social Services


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Information About Services for Adults, Children and Families

Preventive Services for children and families are designed to support families by providing services and resources needed to strengthen the family unit, enable families to remain intact, and avoid unnecessary placement of children in foster care. Families may refer themselves for this service by calling Social Services at 315-963-5445 or 5446.

PINS Diversion Services are any activities or services designed to divert a youth from a PINS petition and/or placement in foster care or non-secure detention. Crisis intervention services and respite services may also be provided. Diversion services may continue as long as the youth is benefiting from the service.

Foster Care Services provide temporary care to children who are unable to remain with their family. Caseworkers provide the services and supports necessary to reunite the family. If a child cannot safely return to his or her family, the agency works to develop a permanent plan for the child, including assisting in developing and maintaining supportive connections and assisting older children to learn skills needed to live independently.

Child Protective Services investigate reports of suspected abuse and maltreatment of children in Oswego County received from the NY State Central Registry for Child Abuse and Maltreatment. Caseworkers assess multiple risk factors and the safety of the children involved to determine if the family needs assistance in order to keep their children safe. Reports of suspected child abuse, neglect or maltreatment should be called in to the State Central Registry at 1-800-342-3720. This hotline is available 24 hours a day.

Family Assessment Response (FAR) Protective Services is an alternate response to a traditional child protective investigation. Reports received from the NY State Central Registry for Child Abuse and Maltreatment may be handled as a FAR case. Child safety is achieved through family engagement and collaborative partnerships.

Protective Services for Adults (PSA) are provided without regard to income to assist people age 18 or older who have physical or mental impairments to the extent that they cannot meet their basis needs for food, clothing, shelter or medical care; are unable to protect themselves from neglect, abuse or hazardous situations; and have no one willing or able to help them in a responsible manner. Referrals may be made by calling 315-963-5339, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Services division guiding principles The child welfare staff at Oswego County Department of Social Services has developed the following set of "guiding principles" which describe the nature of the agency's casework practice with children and families.

  • Services will support the basic dignity of all family members and convey a respect for the capability of families to make decisions for themselves. Services to families will identify and build on the family's existing strengths.
  • The safety of each family member will always be central to any decision made about a family.
  • Services will foster maximum self-determination and self-sufficiency in families.
  • Services will assist and support the caregivers of the family.
  • Service goals and strategies will meet the needs of the family and reduce risk of harm.
  • Service plans will be creative, realistic, mutually developed and clearly defined.
  • The level of intervention will be guided by the principles of least restrictive method and the least restrictive environment.
  • Services will assist families in accessing the resources and services they require to keep their families safe and stable.
  • Adults are presumed capable of making their own decisions unless otherwise determined.
  • Children's Services have an obligation to work for the preservation of the family.
  • Permanency planning will begin immediately upon child welfare intervention.
  • Foster care is a temporary, planned, goal-directed service where protection and nurturing of children is provided.

Children Belong in Families.

Being a parent in today's world is a tough job! Sometimes it is very difficult for parents to fulfill their child-rearing responsibilities. They may need support to do so. The reasons for this are often varied and complex. Everyone at times experiences periods of stress, pain, anxiety, fear or discouragement that interfere with the tasks of parenting.

Factors that may affect parenting include:

  • Poverty with the related problems of unemployment, lack of job opportunities, lack of health care and substandard living conditions;
  • Sudden stress resulting from the death or illness of a spouse or family member;
  • Lack of support systems;
  • Developmental problems of parents struggling to meet their own needs with little time or energy to give their child;
  • Inadequate educational opportunities, literacy or limited intellectual capacity;
  • Difficulty adjusting to marriage, separation or divorce, single parenthood, blended families or children leaving home; or
  • Relocation, unfavorable community conditions.

.Families Should Be Preserved



Schedule for Information Meetings About Foster & Adoptive Parenting

Contact Information:

Child Protective Reports
State Central Registry Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline
1-800-342-3720

Child Preventive Service Referrals
315-963-5445 or 315-963-5446

Director of Services
Christine Patrick
315-963-5396

Child Protective Services Supervisor
Carey Benzing
315-93-5006
Responds to reports received from the State Central Registry for Child Abuse and Maltreatment with an Investigative approach or Family Assessment Response.

Family Services Supervisor
Rachael Pelow
315-963-5352
Child Protective, Child Preventive, and Foster Care Services to Families with Children at Risk of Abuse and Neglect

Youth Services Supervisor
Nancy Wright
315-963-5374
Services to Youth and Their Families at Risk or Involved With the Juvenile Justice System; PINS Diversion Services

Foster and Adoptive Home Development
Patricia Pennock, Sr. Caseworker
315-963-5382
Recruitment, Retention, Training of Foster and Adoptive Families, Pre and Post Adoptive Services, Independent Living Services

Adult Services Supervisor
Leanne Hibbert-LaRock
315-963-5384
Protective Services for Adults, Medicaid Home Care, Financial Management Services, Disabled Client Assistance Program

Agency Switchboard
315-963-5000

Questions about Oswego County Social Services?
or call 315-963-5330.