Family & Children's Services


Preventive/Foster Care/Adult Services & CPS Units

Our purpose is to empower families to become self-sufficient while ensuring child safety and family preservation.

Preventive Services – The purpose of Preventive Services is to prevent out-of-home placements of children.  Families work with Preventive Services on a voluntary basis or services can be court ordered through Family Court.  A Caseworker is assigned to the family and conducts an assessment to identify service needs and to create a service plan.  Caseworkers work with families to put specific services in place to address the identified issues.  The Department has a specialized Caseworker dedicated to working with single adults, pregnant and/or parenting teens and families who present as homeless in order to assist with obtaining permanent housing and in order to ensure the needs of their children are met.

Foster Care Services – Foster Care is a temporary living situation for children who would be unsafe due to their caretaker’s or their own behavior if they remained in their family homes.  Every effort is made to implement a safe plan that permits the child to remain in the home or with a relative before a foster care placement is considered.  The agency certifies local families to foster children in need of a safe home.  When the needs of children are too challenging to be met in a foster home, children are placed in therapeutic foster homes, group homes or residential centers operated by private agencies. Caseworkers engage families and children to implement plans to move toward reunification or other permanency.

Elmcrest Family Support Program – The Elmcrest Family Support Program provides services to children in foster care and their families which are designed to protect children, reduce trauma, engage families and provide a discharge/permanency plan that can be achieved in the shortest amount of time possible.  The success of this model rests in the ability of Cortland County DSS and Elmcrest to develop and maintain a partnership that has a shared focus and commitment for the best outcomes for children.  An important part of the program is to have specific foster homes that can provide care and services to children first entering foster care.  These homes are available to accept children 24 hours a day/ 365 days a year, are highly flexible, and are open to having multiple appointments during the week. 

PINS (Persons In Need of Supervision) Diversion Services – Probation and a DSS Senior Caseworker collaborate to provide PINS Diversion Services.  Prior to a case being opened, parents who come to the PINS Diversion Office to file a PINS complaint must attend a Pre-PINS Parent Orientation session.  Here the parent learns about PINS Diversion services, the requirements for the program and what other services are available in the community.  Respite Services for up to 21 days can be provided to families as an alternative to actual foster care placement when a brief separation between the youth and parent is necessary. 

Adoption Services – Adoption Services for the Department are provided through a contract with Catholic Charities of Cortland County.  Once a child is legally freed for adoption, the child’s case is transferred to the Adoption Caseworker.  The Caseworker is responsible for working with potential adoptive families, law guardians, attorneys, family and surrogate courts as well as various service providers.  When a family is ready to adopt a child and paperwork is completed, the family’s attorney prepares a petition for adoption that is filed in Surrogate Court.  The matter is then scheduled in Surrogate Court for Finalization.

Child Protective Services – CPS reports are received locally from the State Central Registry (SCR) through the Connections computer system.  The Department is mandated to investigate them and to assess the safety of all the children in the household within 24 hours.  This service is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The Department has 60 days to complete an investigation.  If there is some credible evidence found to support the allegations of the report, then the report is indicated.  An indicated report will stay on file in the system until the youngest child in the household is 28 years of age.  In certain circumstances, the Department ensures children’s safety by putting preventive measures in place or by making referrals for families who need some assistance.  In more serious situations, the Department is legally bound to remove a child from the household and initiate family court proceedings.  This is always a last resort and staff work diligently to engage the family in safety planning to prevent a removal.  If there is no credible evidence to support the allegations, then the report is determined to be unfounded and is sealed and retained for 10 years after receipt of the report.

CCSI Mission Statement:

To provide families and children experiencing multiple and complex needs with a strength based, community system of care that exists to improve the well-being of youth and families in their homes, their schools, and their community.

Coordinated Children's Services Initiative (CCSI) - CCSI works to ensure that families are supported in staying together and that children with emotional and behavioral challenges remain at home and in their communities. CCSI in an innovative approach to working with families who need the help of a variety of service systems. CCSI brings families and service providers in their community together to create a coordinated, comprehensive and strength-based family plan that utilizes multiple systems.

Staff Listing:

Tiffanie Parker - Director of Services

Tim Lockwood -  Director of Services

Robin Alexander – Sr. Case Aide

Laura Centolella – Case Aide

                                                    Starr Lacey – Case Aide                                                    

Wendy Dohanich – Case Aide

Foster Care/ Preventive Services

Allison Veintimilla - Grade B Supervisor

 Maureen Spann - Grade B Supervisor

Jen Hammond – Sr. Caseworker                                   Rochelle Crane – Sr. Caseworker

MaryGail Archer – Sr. Caseworker                                        Colleen Thomas – Caseworker

Wendy Dalton – Caseworker                                                 Christina Slater – Caseworker

Chelsea Hall – Caseworker                                                     Maureen Roberts – Caseworker

Michelle Kennedy – Caseworker                                            Vacant  – Caseworker

Becky VanWagenen – Caseworker

Michaela Sharak – Caseworker

Jennifer Mrozowski – Caseworker

Rachelle Sunderland – Caseworker


Tammy McCall – Grade B Supervisor                              Danielle Kwak – Grade B Supervisor

Lindsey Beckwith – Caseworker                                            Amanda Rainbow – Sr. Caseworker 

Jaime Reed – Caseworker                                                       Linda Stock – Caseworker

Kristen Schad – Caseworker                                                  Bruce Rogers – Caseworker

Renee Weeks – Adoption Caseworker (Catholic Charities)   Paula Williams – Caseworker 

Katrina Cranston – Case Aide                                                Vacant - Caseworker

                                                                                                Livia Hamilton – Community Services Worker

                                                                                             Cindy Edwards – Community Services Worker

Child Protective Services

Colin Cummins - Grade B Supervisor


Marie Rook – Sr. Caseworker                                                 Jodi Griffin - Caseworker

Andrea Sears – Sr. Caseworker                                              Rebecca Petrie – Caseworker

Jordan Perkins – Sr. Caseworker                                            Hugh Reed – Caseworker

Lori Forshee – Caseworker                                                     Ann-Marie Natale – Caseworker

Danielle Hall – Caseworker                                                    Bethanne Barber – Caseworker

Drew Davidson – Caseworker                                                Nicole Koekebacker – Caseworker

Patricia Abrams – Caseworker                                                Shannon Seaward – Caseworker

                                                                                                Danielle Wooldridge – Case Aide             


Christopher Driscoll – Grade B Supervisor

Alma Johnson – Case Aide

                                                         Shannon Westmoreland – Case Aide


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