Hard-to-Place / Hard-to-Serve Unit


The Council is authorized by law (under powers and duties of the Council, Social Services Law section 483-b) to work with state and local agencies and parents to identify and resolve interagency issues and jurisdictional disputes that impede access to services for children and youth who are hard-to-place and hard-to-serve because of their multiple disabilities. The primary objectives in resolving these cases are: to ensure that individual children receive the most appropriate community-based or residential services; to minimize delays in arranging services; to resolve service disputes; and to facilitate the development of specific services and programs to best meet the needs of children and youth, particularly those with non-traditional and complex needs. 

Role of the Council on Children and Families

The Council’s Interagency Coordination and Case Resolution Bureau becomes involved in a referral only after available program options and dispute resolution procedures have been exhausted at the local and regional levels. If there is no hard-to-place/hard-to-serve committee or network within a county, referrals of hard-to-place or hard-to-serve cases can be made directly to the Council.

Council staff:

  • work closely with agencies on system reform efforts that lead to improved service delivery;
  • monitor the frequency and severity of cases referred for resolution to determine policy or program implications requiring interagency state-level intervention;
  • track the reliance and utilization of in-state and out-of-state residential placements by localities and school districts in New York State; and
  • maintain a database system on hard-to-place/hard-to-serve referrals.

How to Make a Referral

The agent making a referral on behalf of a child must provide the Council with the following:

  • a completed Hard to Place Unit Intake Form and a signed Release of Information Form;
  • a description of the barriers encountered in attempting to provide appropriate services or placement;
  • a record of the efforts that have been made by the referral source or others to secure services and/or placements for the child; and
  • background information on the child's special needs.

A referral containing all of the information mentioned above may be submitted to:

Regina Canuso, Coordinator, Hard-to-Place/Hard-to-Serve Unit 

Kathleen Rivers, Assistant Coordinator, Hard-to-Place/Hard-to-Serve Unit

Interagency Coordination and Case Resolution Bureau
NYS Council on Children and Families
52 Washington Street
West Building, Suite 99
Rensselaer, NY 12144

Telephone: 518-473-3652
Fax: 518-473-2570
e-mail: regina.canuso@ccf.ny.gov; kathleen.rivers@ccf.ny.gov