In the News
Aug 19, 2019
Cayuga Centers in the News
Protecting children is our mission. As the largest foster home agency for unaccompanied migrant children, we deal with large numbers of children who have already been through a traumatic experience. We are dedicated to providing a safe environment for them while we work to reunite them with family in the United States.
In the last year alone, we have provided nearly six thousand children with a place in a Spanish-speaking foster family specifically trained in dealing with trauma. Under these circumstances, complaints sometimes arise. We have never had a complaint against us upheld after independent investigation.
Every complaint is treated seriously. Complaints of a serious or sexual nature are reported immediately to the US Office for Refugee Resettlement and to New York State's Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. The Central Register is an independent body which decides whether to refer to Child Protective Services, the Office of Children and Family Services and/or the NYPD for investigation.
Our staff are all mandated reporters. They are extensively trained in listening to children, and detecting signs of maltreatment. We also demand the same high standards of our foster parents. Sometimes the complaints we deal with refer to incidents which occurred in home country or prior to the child's arrival at Cayuga Centers. In those cases, the incident is reported to the relevant authorities.
We believe that the needs of traumatized children are better served in foster families than in dormitories. Whatever the setting, providers must ensure policies and procedures around child protection are in place. We believe our child protection culture is robust, but we are always looking to improve. We welcome and invite scrutiny from independent agencies, and we are constantly revisiting our policies to strengthen our child protection.
Edward Myers Hayes
President and CEO, Cayuga Centers
Although we cannot comment on individual cases, it may be helpful to give an outline of our procedure should a complaint be made:
The incident must be reported within two hours to ORR and the NY State Central Registry.
The child is given an immediate assessment by medical staff and a therapist.
The foster home is immediately suspended.
Children in the home are rehoused. No child will be placed there until the home is cleared following a rigorous investigation.
Cayuga Centers fully cooperates with Child Protective Services, ORR, NY State OCFS, NYPD and any other agency during the course of an investigation.
Cayuga Centers foster homes are licensed and inspected by New York State.