“We often work with families at the most vulnerable times of their lives, so we want to make sure that the children are safe and secure,” said ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell, before cutting the ribbon to the newly-renovated facilities. “Kids can use this space to play games, do homework or whatever they need to do while they’re here.”
The nursery will serve two main functions. First, parents can drop off their children at the nursery when meeting with case workers on site at the Queens Child Protection Office.
Additionally, the nursery will be used by children who have been removed from their homes due to safety concerns and are in need of medical clearances before being placed with a foster family.
“The new nursery and medical intake center at Queens Child Protection Office will create a safe space for children to play while their parents meet with caseworkers,” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi. “This new facility will offer additional support to those who have experienced trauma and allow ACS the best possible care to their clients.”
Annually, ACS child protective specialists investigate over 60,000 cases of child abuse and neglect. Out of those investigations, over 600 children end up at the Archer Avenue nursery.
“Before we place a child in foster care, we want to make sure children go through a full medical clearance,” Hansell said. “We want to make sure the children have not experienced any physical harm and it is also very important for us to make sure they are healthy enough to be placed in a home where there are other children.”
The intake process, from the time the child enters the nursery through the end, takes about an hour. In some cases, children who require more medical attention are typically taken off-site for treatment.
ACS is committed to keeping families together, and the next best option is for the child to be placed with close family such as grandparents, aunts or uncles. But when certain circumstances prevent either from happening, the new Archer Avenue nursery is now equipped with new technologies to take care of them.
Upgrades to the nursery include a vital sign monitor, an Automated External Defalcator (AED), an examination table, blood pressure monitors and a mobile weighing cart.
“Southeast Queens welcomes ACS in providing such critical and complex yet necessary services,” said Councilman I. Daneek Miller, “and we look forward to being a partner in efforts to create a better quality of life for our most vulnerable.”
The Archer Avenue nursery is one of three ACS nurseries across the city. The others are located in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Children in Manhattan are seen by professionals at the Children’s Center.
“Putting this together was a team effort across ACS from Dr. Mendoza and his office of Child and Family Health, our administration, our community partnerships program for securing donations and our child-protective staff at our Archer Avenue office,” said Hansell. “This newly renovated nursery offers high-quality medical services in a comfortable environment for children who have experienced trauma, so that they can begin on their path toward healing.”