POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro joined local leaders to celebrate refurbishments to the Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services’ (DCFS) main office, located at 60 Market Street in the City of Poughkeepsie, as well as recent milestone accomplishments in service provision.
A newly renovated entrance and reception area, self-serve kiosks and a state-of-the-art fair hearing conference room are among the refurbishments that have been recently completed, all to enhance the customer experience and expedite clients’ transactions.
In addition to utilizing the historic facade of the building, the renovations also provide for improved ADA accessibility, better flow in the reception area, which handled almost 81,000 transactions last year, and digital screens which provide clients current information about DCFS programs and services.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County remains committed to serving our most vulnerable residents, as well as ensuring their interactions with the Department of Community and Family Services are met with empathy, professionalism and compassion. From improvements to infrastructure to technological updates, these renovations to DCFS’ main office will greatly improve the experience of the thousands of clients staff serves here each year, while streamlining the process by which they apply for and receive benefits.”
DCFS staff deliver vital public benefits to more than 1 in 10 Dutchess County residents; in 2018, the department served more than 30,000 unduplicated individuals across all programs – from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to foster care, adoption and child support collection.
Among the recent improvements undertaken by DCFS staff to increase efficiency:
* Two self-service kiosks, which allow clients to submit their own paperwork and track their case online, were introduced January 16, 2019; since then, clients have utilized the kiosks more than 4,000 times, an average of 50 transactions per day.
* As a result of expediting the application and recertification processes for SNAP recipients, the SNAP processing rate improved 8 percent.
* Collection of child support from non-custodial parents has increased 20 percent in the last year, for a total of $2.86 million, up from $2.37 million in 2018.
* Improved communication between parties and the support of local family courts has resulted in the average time for a DCFS-facilitated adoption dropping from an average of 431 days to 100 days – a 77-percent decrease.
* The percent of children in foster care placed with family members – commonly known as kinship placements, which is the preferred method of placement – increased from 20 percent in 2017 to 26 percent, as of December 31, 2018.
Sabrina Jaar Marzouka, DFCS Commissioner said, “Our primary aim is to ensure we can best deliver the high-quality programs and services our customers have come to expect from Dutchess County. Our staff, within every division, are trained to put the client’s best interest at the heart of every encounter. Under County Executive Molinaro’s guidance, and through the hard work of staff and countless improvements and collaborations, our department can be an example of how counties throughout New York State can improve their services.”
In addition to the main office in Poughkeepsie, DCFS maintains satellite offices in Millbrook (Eastern Dutchess Government Center, 131 County House Road) and Beacon (223 Main Street, 1st Floor).