Recognizing the fact that contact between children and families facilitates reunification, the Home established an 800 number to encourage families to phone their children and the staff. The Home also offered families training and therapy, help with daycare, after-school care and tutoring, etc. Many of these families were involved with programs in mental health and substance abuse, food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), all of which were scheduled for reduced funding.
However, a great number of children had no family member to whom they could return. The Children’s Home thus supported treatment foster homes which provided short-term care that did not require commitment levels that deterred either adoptive parents or higher-risk case children. The Home also participated in a coalition of agencies that helped establish a direct-care concentration in Sociology at SUNY New Paltz. These agencies raised funds for tuition assistance and provided fieldwork placement for students.
In 1992, the Children’s Home received national accreditation, affirming that it meets the very highest standards in children’s services.
The 1990s was a period of reduced state and federal services. In 1993, fees covered only 86% of the Home’s $3 million budget. In past decades, needs were identified, then resources found. However, in the 1990s, available resources were determined first, and then allocated to those in need. Social service policy dictated that community service alternatives be exhausted before referral to group care, with the result that many children had several unsuccessful placements before even reaching the Children’s Home.