Established in 1953 as a residential treatment facility, Astor Services for Children & Families has evolved into a community based, non-profit organization that provides children’s mental health services, child welfare services, and early childhood development programs in New York State’s Mid-Hudson Valley region and the Bronx at 46 locations. Our mission is to provide behavioral and educational services offering children the opportunity to meet life’s challenges, pursue their dreams, and reach their full potential. Since 1974, Astor has been accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC). Astor was one of the first behavioral health service organizations to receive this level of accreditation, and remains one of the few in New York State to hold TJC accreditation today.
Through a wide variety of premier quality education and mental health services, Astor provides support for preschoolers, children with behavioral and emotional health problems, children at risk of placement in foster care, and families that need assistance in developing the skills necessary to raise their children in an environment filled with increasing challenges. The agency serves over 10,000 children each year throughout Dutchess County and the Bronx, through its prevention, early childhood, special education, behavioral health and residential treatment programs, and is the primary Bridges to Health, case management, and waiver provider in Dutchess County.
New York State’s goal to implement a Statewide, CANS-NY Training and Technical Assistance Institute is fully in keeping with Astor Services’ long-term commitment to using the CANS to transform practice and measure outcomes. Astor has been a lead provider in the use of the CANS, as the Agency adopted the original CANS-Mental Health for treatment planning and outcomes measurement in all of our behavioral health programs in 2003. In 2001, we incorporated its use in an innovative, TANF Family Group Conference grant and Mental Health Juvenile Justice grant. Our work using the CANS to drive Evidence Based Program implementation led to the agency being short-listed for the Joint Commission’s prestigious Ernest J. Codman Award (given to organizations for effective use of data in health care improvement) in 2008. The agency has followed New York State’s evolution with the CANS, and we now use the most current CANS-NY Comprehensive as our TCOM tool, having dedicated a full time staff to its effective use in service planning and outcomes evaluation since 2010. It is Astor’s assertion that, through the enhanced training and coaching, Care Managers will be equipped to use the CANS-NY as it was truly intended to be used: as a collaborative, transparent, service planning tool that can be used to measure and respond to outcomes at the individual, program, and agency level.
Astor Services for Children and Families is excited to be a part of the Institute’s Provider Collaborative, contributing to more meaningful and effective use of the CANS-NY throughout New York State. Astor works closely with Institute leadership to provide training, coaching, and technical assistance relationships with CANS-NY users in Hudson Valley region of the State. Dr. Mary Nichols serves as the regional lead and is currently the Director of Clinical Outcomes, CANS & TCOM at Astor. Dr. Mary Nichols completed a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology at the University of Hartford in 2012. She currently holds a license to practice as a Psychologist in New York State. In her current position as Director of Clinical Outcomes, CANS & TCOM, she facilitates ongoing support for improving clinical use of the CANS-NY and the reporting of outcomes data at the agency. If you would like more information about support resources in this region, feel free to contact her.