AFFCNY Announces a New Post Adoption Support Program to Help Rockland County Families

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, Welcomes the Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Program for Everyone (AGAPE) to Rockland County
August 22, 2017

Rockland County, New York – The Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York (AFFCNY) and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, today announced the opening of the new AGAPE office in Rockland County. AGAPE helps post-adoptive and post-guardianship families through the unique challenges they face following an adoption or guardianship.

AGAPE is open to adoptive families and relatives who have guardianship of children. The program offers supportive services and resources such as parent trainings, support groups for both parents and youth, peer mentoring, navigation for cross-system needs, therapeutic services referrals and counseling free of charge.

Today’s opening gave families, the community and auxiliary organizations the opportunity to learn about AGAPE and the complex issues that many adoptive and foster families may face. State legislators, the County Executive, representatives from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and the local Department of Social Services (DSS) as well as AFFCNY staff and the families they serve were in attendance.

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D- Suffern) stated:

“Adoption, foster care and kinship caregiving have increasingly become part of our everyday lives, woven into the fabric of our families and communities. Choosing to bring a child into a family changes that family’s identity, how they perceive themselves and who they are. AFFCNY’s guiding principle is that adoptive and guardianship families should have access to a wide range of supportive services they may need when they need them. That principle is what powers the (AGAPE) program. I am thrilled that AFFCNY and (AGAPE) have found a new home here with us in Rockland County.”

Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland Westchester) stated about today’s opening:

"Opening this center will help families throughout the region provide a stable environment for children to grow and thrive in. Investing in in resources that will help children and families will help the community in a number of different ways. I look forward to working with this program and seeing their positive impact in Rockland County."

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Clarkstown) said:

“This new, local office of Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Program for Everyone (AGAPE) is certainly a very welcome and necessary addition to our community. Adoptive families and relatives who have guardianship of children will now have a space they can access that is dedicated to providing critical resources and support services. These folks are too often left to face the unique challenges of adoption or guardianship alone and this Rockland office will help to fill that gap and offer essential support. I’d like to thank the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), the Rockland County Department of Social Services (DDS), the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York (AFFCNY) and Assemblywoman Jaffee for her work as Chair of Children and Families in this opening.”

Assemblyman Karl A. Brabenec (R- Orange Rockland) stated:

"The Post Adoption Support program is a tremendous resource for adopted families and those relatives that have guardianship responsibilities. As a big advocate for adoptees and their families, I am positive that this program will be able to assist many to gain the resources they need in order to live productive and successful lives. I'm extremely proud to have this program located right here in beautiful Rockland County."

Rockland County Executive, Ed Day has said:

"Nothing can be more important than doing our utmost for our young people whose circumstances in life may place them at risk. Bringing the AGAPE program here to Rockland is a significant step in support of that concept, and will align our efforts to assist our young people and their families lead more productive, peaceful and happy lives. My compliments to Assemblywoman Jaffe for her efforts.”

Barbara Gavin, Director of Social Services for Rockland County, is quoted as saying:

“Rockland County is excited about our new partnership with AGAPE. The program helps to fortify our promise of a “Forever Home” to children and youth who were adopted or changed Guardians. It also helps to fulfill a gap in trauma-based services that was not previously available to these families.”

Judge Sherri Eisenpress has stated:

“It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. As a Family Court Judge, I have had the opportunity to see that firsthand. I am delighted to join with the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York in partnership with Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, and their partners to celebrate the opening of the AGAPE office which will provide much needed supportive services, resources and referrals to families who have adopted through foster care or private adoption or assumed guardianship of a child in need, and look forward to working closely with our partners in this venture.”

Acting OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole stated:

“OCFS is delighted to reaffirm Governor Cuomo’s commitment to providing post-adoptive and post-guardianship services in Rockland County and beyond, to keep families together and to promote the well-being of children. While growing families are joyous, they can also come with challenges. This RPRC will provide vital interventions and services to help families navigate the adjustment period after a child has been adopted or a family has received legal guardianship of the children in their care.”

As stated by AFFCNY Executive Director, Richard Heyl de Ortiz:

“AGAPE is a continuum of the Coalition’s work over the past six decades to support and empower adoptive, foster and kinship families. Parents and caregivers are the primary supports for children, many of whom have been traumatized or have special needs. We are grateful for the vision and support of the Office of Children and Family Services and feel privileged to be among those providing services as part of the Regional Permanency Resource Centers initiative.”

The new AGAPE office hours are Mondays and Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. More information and referral forms can be found at the AFFCNY Web site.