Placement Diversion – Chenango & Cortland Counties

The Placement Diversion Program provides comprehensive home-based intervention services to families who have children that are at-risk of out-of-home placement. The primary purpose of the program is to identify and intervene in the patterns of family behavior resulted in a PINS petition, Family Court involvement or Preventive Services. Program staff works with families and other service providers to remove the risks to placement and provide the supports that families need in maintaining long-term stability.

Families are eligible for the program when they have a child who has not yet reached their 18th birthday and are determined to be at-risk for foster care, detention or an institutional level of placement due to either being the subject of a PINS petition, being the subject of JD charges, having needs for supervision that cannot be met by the child’s caretaker without the aid of intensive services, or because the child has been in out-of-home care and risks re-placement due to reoccurrence of problem behavior. The family must demonstrate an interest and capacity to benefit from intensive home-based services.

Families are referred to the program by either county Department of Social Services, Department of Probation, schools in the County or other mental health providers in the community.

Once a family has been referred for services, they are contacted for a pre-admission assessment by one of the program’s therapists to determine whether these services can meet the family’s needs. Because services are voluntary at this point, the family can decide if they want to continue with the admission process.

Prior to admission into the program, the child’s DSS caseworker, probation officer, school teacher/principal and previous service providers are also contacted to provide relevant history and a current status report.

Once a family is admitted into the program, a preventive services case is opened with DSS (if one is not already open).

Program History

Placement Diversion Services were developed at the request of and in collaboration with the County Department of Social Services. The goal of placement diversion services is to reduce long-term residential placements for children who are the subject of JD/PINS behaviors.


Once a family is admitted into PDS, an assessment is conducted to determine the family’s strengths and current support systems and goals are developed to prevent placement. Family therapy is provided based on the identified goals. Sessions are provided within the family’s home and include all members of the family. Case management services are provided to coordinate services with other providers and to provide support to families as needed. Individual counseling is available to children or parents based on the identified goals. After-hours crisis services are available to families between the hours of 5 pm and 9 am weekdays and 24 hours on weekends and holidays.

It is the belief within PDS that home is the best place for changes within the entire family system to occur. The program is interested in helping families remove the risks to placement rather than removing their child from the home. The program seeks to provide opportunities to families to experiment with how to do things differently. Completion of this process is not when a family has solved every problem, but rather when they have had sufficient practice and have developed support systems that allow them to feel confident about taking on the day-to-day challenges in their home.

Placement Diversion Services is staffed by three master’s level therapists and a program supervisor. Opportunities for graduate level internships are available.