NYC Administration for Children's Services & NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Family Pathways to Care

How might we refine referral pathways for families and coordinate social services and mental health services to support healthy child development and well-being?

Partners and Funders

The Project

ACS Prevention and DOHMH Bureau of Children, Youth, and Families (CYF) each contract for services that aim to promote positive child outcomes by strengthening the family unit and parents’ ability to support their children’s development and well-being. These therapeutic and prevention services serve similar populations, sometimes using the same or similar approaches. However, these programs do not always coordinate to ensure that the referral process is streamlined, or that families are being referred to programs that best meet their needs. 

As part of the Collaborative Innovations Initiative, a grant awarded to ACS by the NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, PPL is partnering with ACS and DOHMH to understand how families connect with, and experience therapeutic and prevention services. We will develop strategies to refine referral pathways and improve service coordination. In turn, we aim to improve families’ access to services and impact positive child outcomes. This project also responds to new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the sudden transition to remote prevention and therapeutic services.

Work to Date

In April 2020, we paused the initial phase of work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and understand how both agencies could support providers and families experiencing disruptions in their therapeutic and prevention services due to illness and stay-at-home requirements. We conducted research with caregivers, service providers, and subject matter experts to better understand their experiences providing and receiving telemental health services. Findings from this research and design phase informed the development of NYC Telehealth Tips, a website that provided guidance for providers and families transitioning to remote prevention and therapeutic services. 

In June 2020, we resumed focus on the original project goal and conducted research with caregivers and service provider staff to understand how families access and experience prevention and mental health support services.

What Comes Next

Currently, we are co-designing and testing tools and materials for providers and families that aim to improve families’ service and referral experiences and support improved provider coordination. These tools and materials will be ready to be piloted with providers and families the summer of 2021.

Project Team

Cesay Camara
Nia Holton-Raphael
Erika Lindsey
Natalie Sims headshot
Natalie Sims
Stephanie Yim
Antonia Yunge