Date Issued: November 3, 2014
- All Providers of OASAS Licensed Treatment Services
- Local Governmental Units (LGUs)
This Local Services Bulletin has been developed to inform providers of the requirements of Chapter 596 of the Laws of 1999. This Act amended the Mental Hygiene Law to give priority for admission to alcoholism and substance abuse treatment facilities and programs for persons whose children have been placed in, or are in jeopardy of being placed in, foster care.
NYS Mental Hygiene Law Section 19.21(b)
Mental Hygiene Law Section 19.21(b) gives the Commissioner of OASAS the authority to establish standards applicable to providers of alcoholism and substance abuse services. This new statute requires the Commissioner to provide for priority of admission for persons whose children have been placed in foster care or are in jeopardy of being so placed.
Many studies have demonstrated that parental abuse of alcohol and/or other substances is one of the major contributing factors to the removal of children from their homes and placement of them in foster care. Too frequently, this family rift leads to a series of negative life outcomes for the child and continues the cycle of failure by the parent. Consequently, there has been a growing movement in New York State and nationally to promote collaboration between the alcohol and drug treatment system and the child welfare system. This need has become even more urgent with the enactment of the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA).
ADMISSION PRIORITY REQUIREMENTS
In addition to existing federal priorities for admission to alcoholism and substance abuse treatment programs funded by OASAS, New York State law now requires that priority for admission to alcoholism and substance abuse treatment facilities be given to persons whose children have been placed in foster care or are in jeopardy of being so placed pursuant to Article Ten of the Family Court Act or Article Six of the Social Services Law.
If a provider receives a referral of a parent whose child is in foster care or who is in jeopardy of such placement, and the referral cannot be accommodated, the provider shall make an appropriate referral, consult with OASAS, and/or consult counsel. All efforts to refer the individual to another appropriate provider must be documented.
OASAS believes that compliance with this state law will help expedite the timely referral and treatment of some of New York's most vulnerable families. This information should be shared with all program staff.
SOURCE(S) OF FURTHER INFORMATION
If you require further clarification of the issues detailed in this Bulletin, please contact the OASAS Treatment Bureau at (518) 457-7077.