Westchester offers help to those facing child abuse as families are confined during Covid-19 pandemic

Editor’s note: This press release was provided by the Westchester County Department of Social Services.

(White Plains, NY) – In light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is forcing Westchester County families to remain inside their homes, the Department of Social Services (DSS) wants to remind mandated reporters and residents who are concerned about abuse and neglect situations that help is still available to them. DSS is continuing to initiate investigations immediately following abuse and maltreatment reports from the Statewide Central Register (SCR). The Department is utilizing available technology to make contacts and assess safety both through screening and follow up as needed, including home visits with law enforcement or other emergency responders as necessary. Staff is equipped with specialized protocols and tools to protect their own safety, and the safety of the children and families we serve.

Despite these challenging times, DSS continues to rely on community partners like school personnel (through on-line learning), doctors/medical personnel, hospitals, mental health/social workers, social services providers, child care providers and law enforcement personnel to assist us by making mandated reports. Voluntary reporters (neighbors, relatives and citizens) who are concerned about abuse or maltreatment of children can also confidentially report information to the SCR.  A list of Help Lines is available below.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “During this time of prolonged home isolation, victims of neglect and abuse are at a heightened risk if they are confined inside with their abusers. Members of this vulnerable population need to know that our Department of Social Services is still a resource that remains available to them at all times. I urge anyone who is in need of assistance to reach out for help.”

DSS Commissioner Kevin McGuire said: “Child safety and well-being is paramount, and we continue to take reports, initiate investigations, and work with children and families during this stressful and traumatic period.”

DSS is also working with its community partners to provide services to children, youth and families needing preventive services, and for children requiring placement in foster care.

  • If you suspect abuse or maltreatment, please contact the Statewide toll free number at 1-800-342-3720.
  • If you believe that a child is in immediate danger, please call 911.

The Department also continues to provide essential Adult Protective Services to persons 18 years or older who are at risk of harm due to abuse, neglect or exploitation; or are unable to meet their own needs.

  • To make a referral, please contact our Adult Protective Services Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., at (914) 995-2259.
  • After 4 PM or on weekends, please contact our Emergency Services team at (914) 995-2099.
  • If you believe that an adult is in immediate danger, please call 911.