Guidelines to Identify Caregivers for Unaccompanied Children Due to Hospitalization of Primary Caregiver

April 22, 2020

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) issued the attached guidelines for hospital staff that identify a child or children requiring supervision when a parent(s) or primary caregiver is about to be hospitalized or is hospitalized due to the COVID-19 emergency. Immediate steps include:

  1. Identify potential temporary caregivers for the child or children
  2. Only call the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR) after all reasonable efforts to identify appropriate temporary caregivers are unsuccessful

Requirements remain in effect for mandated reporters to call the SCR if there is reasonable cause to suspect a child has been abused or maltreated.

Identify Potential Temporary Caregivers

Parents and children should be asked for the names and contact information of other parents, relatives, and other known adults (including but not limited to grandparents, uncles/aunts, neighbors, and/or family friends) who may be available to temporarily care for the children. If the parent and children are unable to provide the names or contact information for anyone able to provide temporary care and supervision of the child(ren), hospital staff should contact the following:

  • If the family resides in a New York City Department of Homeless Services-operated family shelter, the hospital social worker should ask the parent for contact information for the shelter director or social worker, and contact them to inquire about emergency contacts or contact information for other family members
  • If one or more of the children is a New York City public school student, contact Sara Shumway, Executive Director of Student Information Systems for the New York City Department of Education, at (347) 459-2646

Call SCR

A report to the SCR about children whose caregivers are hospitalized due to COVID-19 should be the last resort, and only made after reasonable efforts to identify an alternative option have been unsuccessful.

Please see ACS guidelines for additional details and contact Alison Burke if you require assistance.

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