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Mental Health Services

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Description of Programs & Contacts

Child Abuse Services

  • What Is Child Abuse And Maltreatment?

    Child abuse and maltreatment is when a parent or other person legally responsible for a child’s care causes or creates a risk of harm to a child. The child must be under the age of 18.  Child abuse involves serious physical harm or sexual abuse. Maltreatment (neglect) involves physical, mental or emotional harm.

    Physical abuse is when a parent/caretaker hurts or lets someone else hurt a child physically, or creates a substantial risk that a child will be hurt. There must be a serious injury or a risk of serious injury such as a severe burn, a broken bone, the loss of a body part, an internal injury or death. The injury or risk of injury must not be due to an accident.

    Sexual abuse is when a parent or caretaker commits a sexual offense against a child or allows someone else to do this. Sexual abuse includes both touching and non-touching sexual offenses.

    Examples of touching offenses include: fondling, intercourse, and sodomy (oral or anal sex acts).

    Examples of non-touching offenses include: using a child in a pornographic or sexually explicit video or picture, distributing such a video or picture, or using a child as a prostitute.

    Maltreatment (neglect) is when a parent or caretaker does not provide for a child’s basic needs, where the parent or caretaker has the means or is offered a reasonable way to do so. It also includes a parent or caretaker failing to properly supervise a child or hitting a child too hard. Examples of maltreatment may include: not getting, or waiting too long to get, health care for a child; not giving a child adequate food, shelter, or clothing; not properly looking after a child; misusing drugs/alcohol such that it interferes with their ability to adequately supervise the child; abandoning a child; or not sending a child to school when the child is able to attend school. The parent or caretaker’s actions must cause physical, mental or emotional harm, or a risk that the child will soon be harmed.

    Exposure to Domestic Violence: Witnessed domestic violence occurs when a child sees his or her parents or caregivers use behaviors against each other that make the child feel scared, controlled or intimidated

    What are some indicators of child abuse and maltreatment? You may see signs of child abuse or maltreatment in the way a child looks or in the way a child acts.

    Physical signs can include: a child whose hair, clothing or body is often very dirty; a child whose clothing is too hot or too cold for the season; a child who is not being watched properly; a child who is ill or hurt but is not seeing a doctor; or a child with bruises, burns, cuts, vaginal or rectal bleeding, or with soreness or itching in the genital area.

    Behavioral signs can include: a child who is afraid to go home; a child who does not think well of him- or herself, avoids people, or is very sad; a child who misuses drugs or alcohol, has an eating disorder or hurts him- or herself; a child whose mood or behavior changes a lot without a reason; a child who acts in a sexual manner that is unusual for the child’s age; or a child who often misses school without a good reason.

    Handling Disclosures: Disclosure can be a very difficult process for a child. Children often tell their stories over a period of time. Some never fully disclose what happened.

    • Find a private place to talk.Believe and support them, stay calm and limit the discussion
    • Tell the child it is not his/her fault.
    • Tell them that you are going to call someone that can help
    • Report the situation immediately.


    • Do not allow contact between the child and the offender
    • Do not confront the offender or discuss the incident with the offender (it is better for a trained law enforcement officer to talk with the offender first)!
    • Do not conduct an investigation
  • Who Do I Call If I Think a Child May Be Abused?

    If a child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department.

    As soon as you suspect abuse or maltreatment, you must report your concerns by telephone to the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR). The SCR is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to receive your call.

    The timeliness of your call is vital to the timeliness of intervention by the local department of social services’ Child Protective Services (CPS) unit. You are not required to notify the parents or other persons legally responsible either before or after your call to the SCR. In fact, in some cases, alerting the parent may hinder the local CPS investigation and adversely affect its ability to assess the safety of the children. The telephone numbers to report abuse or maltreatment are:

    Mandated Reporter (800) 635-1522

    Public Hotline (800) 342-3720

    You do not need proof of child abuse or maltreatment to make a report; you only need to think that it has happened or that a child is at risk of being abused or maltreated. Your call to the Child Abuse Hotline is confidential. This means that only certain persons may learn about the information you report. The family you reported will not be told you made the report unless you say it is okay for them to know.

    Law Enforcement Referrals: If a call to the SCR provides information about an immediate threat to a child or a crime committed against a child, but the perpetrator is not a parent or other person legally responsible for the child, the SCR staff will make a Law Enforcement Referral (LER). The relevant information will be recorded and

    transmitted to the New York State Police Information Network or to the New York City Special Victims Liaison Unit. This is not a CPS report, and local CPS will not be involved.

    Mandated Reporter Responsibilities: New York State recognizes that certain professionals are specially equipped to perform the important role of mandated reporter of child abuse and maltreatment. The entire current list can be found in Article 6, Title 6, Section 413 of the New York Social Services Law, which can be accessed online through the New York State Legislature’s Website ( Click on Laws of New York to access Social Services Law.

    When Am I Mandated to Report?Mandated reporters are required to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment when they are presented with a reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment in a situation where a child, parent, or other person legally responsible for the child is before the mandated reporter when the mandated reporter is acting in his or her official or professional capacity.

    Reasonable Cause to Suspect: Reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment means that, based on your rational observations, professional training and experience, you have a suspicion that the parent or other person legally responsible for a child is responsible for harming that child or placing that child in imminent danger of harm. Your suspicion can be as simple as distrusting an explanation for an injury.

  • Immunity From Liability

    If a mandated reporter makes a report with earnest concern for the welfare of a child, he or she is immune from any criminal or civil liability that might result. This is referred to as making a report in “good faith


    Anyone who is mandated to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment—and fails to do so—could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and subject to criminal penalties. Further, mandated reporters can be sued in a civil court for monetary damages for any harm caused by the mandated reporter’s failure to make a report to the SCR.

  • What Happens When I Call The Child Abuse Hotline?

    A hotline employee will answer your call and ask you for information about why you called. Based on the information you provide, the hotline employee will decide whether to take a report of child abuse or maltreatment. It is helpful if you can give information about who the child is and where he or she can be found; the person who you think abused or maltreated the child; and the child’s parent, guardian or other person legally

    responsible for the child. If a report is not taken, the hotline employee will tell you why it could not be taken. If you disagree, you can ask to speak with a supervisor.

    If a report is taken, it will be sent right away to the local Child Protective Service (CPS), where the child resides. A local CPS caseworker will start an investigation within 24 hours. The CPS caseworker must work with the family on any issues that make the child unsafe. If the family does not want to make the changes needed for a child to be safe, CPS may go to court to ask a judge to require the family to make the changes or to remove the child from the home. However, in most cases, CPS can work with the family to protect the child in his or her home. This is done by making a plan with the child’s parent or caretaker to change any unsafe actions, or to get services so that the child will be safe.

  • Prevention Strategies

    Understand the causes and effects of abuse and neglect. If you know a parent who is under stress, encourage them to seek help. To locate a parenting program that can provide guidance and support, call the Prevention Information and Parent Helpline at 1-800-342-7472; a program of

    Twelve Alternatives to Lashing out at Your Child The next time everyday pressures build up to the point where you feel like lashing out — STOP! Try any of these simple alternatives. You’ll feel better… and so will your child. 

  • Advice For New Moms & Dads

    Being a parent is the most difficult, yet most important and satisfying work you will ever do. During the busy and exciting days that make up the first weeks of parenting, remember to take good care of yourself as well as the new baby. Here are some tips on how to survive the early weeks with the new baby:

    Shaken Baby Syndrome (Abusive Head Trauma): Shaken Baby Syndrome refers to injuries to a baby’s brain and body that results from being shaken. Some babies die from these injuries.

    What causes the shaking? Usually a caregiver becomes frustrated with a baby’s crying. The caregiver loses control and shakes the baby.

    Never ever shake a baby

    Make sure that everyone who cares for your child knows not to shake a baby

    Helpful tips to keep your baby safe:

    begin_of_the_skype_highlightingReduce risk. Protect children from sexual abuse

      • Understand that abusers often become friendly with potential victims and their families, enjoying family activities, earning trust, and gaining time alone with children.
    • Think carefully about the safety of any isolated, one-on-one settings. Choose group situations when possible.
      • Think carefully about the safety of situations in which older youth have access to younger children. Make sure that multiple adults are present who can supervise.
      • Set an example by personally avoiding isolated, one-on-one situations with children other than your own.
    • Monitor children’s Internet use. Offenders use the Internet to lure children into physical contact.


      • Drop in unexpectedly when the child is alone with an adult or another youth, even if it a trusted family member.
      • Make sure outings are observable – if not by you, then by others.
      • Ask adults about the specifics of planned activities before the child leaves your care. Notice their ability to be specific.
      • Talk with the child following the activity. Notice the child’s mood and whether he or she can tell you with confidence how the time was spent.
    • Find a way to tell adults who care for children that you and the child are educated about child sexual abuse. Be that direct.


    Age appropriate, open conversations about our bodies, sex, and boundaries gives children a foundation for understanding and developing healthy relationships. It also teaches them that they have the right to say “no.”

    With this foundation in place, they are less vulnerable to people who would violate their boundaries, and are more likely to tell you if abuse occurs.

    • Teach children that it is “against the rules” for adults to act in a sexual way with them, and use examples.
    • Teach them what parts of their bodies others should not touch.
    • Be sure to mention that the abuser might be an adult friend, family member, or older youth.
    • Teach children not to give out personal information while using the Internet, including email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers.
    • Start early and talk often. Use everyday opportunities to talk about sexual abuse.
    • Be proactive. If a child seems uncomfortable, or resistant to being with a particular adult, ask why.
  • Sources & Resources

    • New York State Office of Children & Family Services (Pub. 5056 (07/07 & Pub. 1159 (Rev. 9/2012)

    Darkness to Light:

    CAC of Putnam County: The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Putnam County is a child- and family-focused facility, providing comprehensive, multidisciplinary services to children suspected of being abused.

    A multidisciplinary team (MDT) of child protective service workers, law enforcement investigators, prosecutors, medical care providers, victim advocates and therapists work together to provide all necessary services in one place.

    Our Goals:

    • Reduce trauma to the child
    • Provide family with support and assistance
    • Promote thorough investigations and hold offenders accountable
    • Improve communication and information sharing between MDT members

    For further information, contact the Child Advocacy Center at 845-808-1400 |

Alcohol & Substance Abuse

  • Alcohol

    Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are due to many interconnected factors, including genetics, how you were raised, your social environment, and your emotional health.


    Repeatedly neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of your drinking. For example, performing poorly at work, flunking classes, neglecting your kids, or skipping out on commitments because you’re hung over.

    Using alcohol in situations where it’s physically dangerous, such as drinking and driving, operating machinery while intoxicated, or mixing alcohol with prescription medication against doctor’s orders.

    Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of your drinking. For example, getting arrested for driving under the influence or for drunk and disorderly conduct.

    Continuing to drink even though your alcohol use is causing problems in your relationships. Getting drunk with your buddies, for example, even though you know your wife will be very upset, or fighting with your family because they dislike how you act when you drink.

    Drinking as a way to relax or de-stress. Many drinking problems start when people use alcohol to self-soothe and relieve stress. Getting drunk after every stressful day, for example, or reaching for a bottle every time you have an argument with your spouse or boss.

  • Helping A Loved One

    If someone you love has a drinking problem, you may be struggling with a number of painful emotions, including shame, fear, anger, and self-blame. The problem may be so overwhelming that it seems easier to ignore it and pretend that nothing is wrong. But in the long run denying it will be more damaging to you, other family members, and the person with the drinking problem.


    Don’t attempt to punish, threaten, bribe, or preach.

    Don’t try to be a martyr. Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs.

    Don’t cover up or make excuses for the alcoholic or problem drinker or shield them from the realistic consequences of their behavior.

    Don’t take over their responsibilities, leaving them with no sense of importance or dignity.

    Don’t hide or dump bottles, throw out drugs, or shelter them from situations where alcohol is present.

    Don’t argue with the person when they are impaired.

    Don’t try to drink along with the problem drinker.

    Above all, don’t feel guilty or responsible for another’s behavior.

    Adapted from: National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information

    You cannot force someone you love to stop abusing alcohol. As much as you may want to, and as hard as it is to watch, you cannot make someone stop drinking. The choice is up to them.

    Don’t expect the person to stop drinking and stay sober without help. Your loved one will need treatment, support, and new coping skills to overcome a serious drinking problem.

    Recovery is an ongoing process. Recovery is a bumpy road, requiring time and patience. An alcoholic will not magically become a different person once sober. And the problems that led to the alcohol abuse in the first place will have to be faced.

  • When Your Teen Has A Drinking Problem

    Discovering your child is drinking can generate fear, confusion, and anger in parents. It’s important to remain calm when confronting your teen, and only do so when everyone is sober. Explain your concerns and make it clear that your concern comes from a place of love. It’s important that your teen feels you are supportive. 
Five steps parents can take:

    Lay down rules and consequences: Your teen should understand that drinking alcohol comes with specific consequences. But don’t make hollow threats or set rules that you cannot enforce. Make sure your spouse agrees with the rules and is prepared to enforce them.

    Monitor your teen’s activity: Know where your teen goes and who he or she hangs out with. Remove or lock away alcohol from your home and routinely check potential hiding places for alcohol—in backpacks, under the bed, between clothes in a drawer, for example. Explain to your teen that this lack of privacy is a consequence of him or her having been caught using alcohol.

    Encourage other interests and social activities. Expose your teen to healthy hobbies and activities, such as team sports, Scouts, and afterschool clubs.

    Talk to your child about underlying issues. Drinking can be the result of other problems. Is your child having trouble fitting in? Has there been a recent major change, like a move or divorce, which is causing stress?

    Get outside help: You don’t have to go it alone. Teenagers often rebel against their parents but if they hear the same information from a different authority figure, they may be more inclined to listen. Try seeking help from a sports coach, family doctor, therapist, or counselor.

  • Drugs


    Drug abusers often try to conceal their symptoms and downplay their problem. If you’re worried that a friend or family member might be abusing drugs, look for the following warning signs:

    Physical warning signs of drug abuse

    Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual

    Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.

    Sudden weight loss or weight gain

    Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits

    Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing

    Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination

    Behavioral signs of drug abuse

      • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
      • Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
      • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
      • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
    • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)

    Psychological warning signs of drug abuse

      • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
      • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
      • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
      • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
    • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason


    Marijuana: Glassy, red eyes; loud talking, inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness; loss of interest, motivation; weight gain or loss.

    Depressants (including Xanax, Valium, GHB): Contracted pupils; drunk-like; difficulty concentrating; clumsiness; poor judgment; slurred speech; sleepiness.

    Stimulants (including amphetamines, cocaine, crystal meth): Dilated pupils; hyperactivity; euphoria; irritability; anxiety; excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times; may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping; weight loss; dry mouth and nose.

    Inhalants (glues, aerosols, vapors): Watery eyes; impaired vision, memory and thought; secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth; headaches and nausea; appearance of intoxication; drowsiness; poor muscle control; changes in appetite; anxiety; irritability; lots of cans/aerosols in the trash.

    Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP): Dilated pupils; bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations; mood swings; detachment from people; absorption with self or other objects, slurred speech; confusion.

    Heroin: Contracted pupils; no response of pupils to light; needle marks; sleeping at unusual times; sweating; vomiting; coughing, sniffling; twitching; loss of appetite.


    While experimenting with drugs doesn’t automatically lead to drug abuse, early use is a risk factor for developing more serious drug abuse and addiction. Risk of drug abuse also increases greatly during times of transition, such as changing schools, moving, or divorce. The challenge for parents is to distinguish between the normal, often volatile, ups and downs of the teen years and the red flags of substance abuse. These include:

    Having bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils; using eye drops to try to mask these signs

    Skipping class; declining grades; suddenly getting into trouble at school

    Missing money, valuables, or prescriptions

    Acting uncharacteristically isolated, withdrawn, angry, or depressed

    Dropping one group of friends for another; being secretive about the new peer group

    Loss of interest in old hobbies; lying about new interests and activities

    Demanding more privacy; locking doors; avoiding eye contact; sneaking around

  • Substance Abuse Prevention

    Each year, drug abuse and addiction cost taxpayers nearly $534 billion in preventable health care, law enforcement, crime, and other costs. The best approach to reducing the tremendous toll substance abuse exacts from individuals, families, and communities is to prevent the damage before it occurs. Over 20 years of research demonstrates that prevention interventions designed and tested to reduce risk and enhance protective factors can help children at every step along their developmental path, from early childhood into young adulthood.

    Alcohol and substance abuse prevention is an ongoing process with each new generation of parents, children, educators and community leaders. Effective prevention helps reduce violence, teen pregnancy, high school dropout rates, HIV/AIDS infection and many other related issues. By maintaining public awareness of the truth and dangers of drugs, prevention has a positive effect on children, teens, families, businesses and communities.

    There are currently two prevention providers in Putnam County that strive to carry out substance abuse prevention efforts. They are:


    67 Gleneida Avenue

    Carmel, NY 10512

    Contact: Kristin E. McConnell, Executive Director



    1808 Route Six

    Carmel, NY 10512

    Contact: Diane E. Russo, Executive Director


    There is also a community Drug Free Communities prevention coalition in Putnam County. They are:


    67 Gleneida Avenue

    Carmel, NY 10512

    Contact: Elaine Santos, Coalition Coordinator


Domestic Violence

  • What is Domestic Violence

    Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by a partner in an intimate relationship in order to gain and maintain power and control in a relationship. Traditionally, domestic violence has had a narrow definition, and someone was considered a victim of domestic violence only if the perpetrator was related to him/her by blood or by marriage.  However, with the new Expanded Access law, enacted in 2008, that definition has expanded to include all current or former intimate partners, regardless of whether they are married or have a child in common. This means same-sex couples and dating couples (including teens) have access to domestic violence victim resources (such as Orders of Protection).
    There are several different types of abuse:

    • Physical Abuse
      Physical abuse involves contact designed to inflict pain, suffering, punishment, or harm. This can include, but is not limited to, hitting, punching, kicking, shoving, strangling, throwing things at the partner, stabbing.
    • Emotional and Verbal Abuse
      Emotional abuse and verbal abuse involves acts designed to intimidate, humiliate, and belittle the victim. These can include, but are not limited to name-calling, criticizing, demeaning and insulting the victim, and withholding affection, making the victim feel unloved or unwanted.
    • Isolation
      Isolation is a form of abuse where the perpetrator cuts off the victim from family, friends, or resources. The victim will not be allowed to go out with friends, visit family, or have access to a car to get around. This ensures that the victim has to rely on the perpetrator and will be reluctant to leave or ask for help.
    • Financial Abuse
      Financial abuse involves keeping the victim financially dependent on the perpetrator. This can include, but is not limited to, not allowing the victim to keep a job, restricting access to bank accounts or credit cards, withholding basic necessities, and making the victim account for all spending. Like isolation, this ensures that the victim is dependent on the perpetrator and feels like he/she won’t be able to make it on his/her own.
    • Sexual Abuse
      Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, minimizing your feelings about sex, rape, and withholding sex and affection. Sexual abuse is yet another tool perpetrators use to humiliate and control their victims.
    • The Cycle of Violence
      While the abuse may not always be constant, domestic violence, and its cycle, is always happening. There are three phases to the cycle: the tension building phase, the acute abuse phase, and the honeymoon phase. In the tension building phase, the perpetrator begins to show anger and pick fights. Verbal abuse begins, and the victim tries to ease the situation by giving in to the perpetrator and becoming compliant; trying to keep the peace. In the acute abuse phase, the tension has peaked and there has been some form of significant violence.  In the honeymoon phase, the perpetrator is loving and apologetic. There is generosity and kindness; possibly gifts. The perpetrator assures the victim that the abuse will never happen again.

    It Is Still Abuse If . . .
    The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television or heard other women talk about. There isn’t a “better” or “worse” form of physical abuse; you can be severely injured as a result  of being pushed, for example. The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship. Studies indicate that if your spouse/partner has injured you once, it is likely he will continue to physically assault you.The physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, and to make decisions. It is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for not being assaulted!

    There has not been any physical violence. Many women are emotionally and verbally assaulted. This can be as equally frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand.
    Source: Breaking the Silence: a Handbook for Victims of Violence in Nebraska

    The most important thing to remember about domestic violence is it is NEVER the victim’s fault!

  • Services


    If you are currently experiencing a life threatening emergency please call 911.
    If you are a victim of Sexual Assault or any other related crime(s) and want or need assistance please call our

    24 hour Crisis Hotline at 845-628-2166
    or our Main Office at 845-628-9284


    IIf you are currently experiencing a life threatening emergency please call 911.

    If you are a victim of Sexual Assault or any other related crime(s) and want or need assistance please call our
    24 hour Crisis Hotline at 845-628-2166
    or our Main Office at 845-628-9284


    Domestic Violence Support Group
    Year Round, drop-in group for women who have experienced or are experiencing physical, verbal or emotional abuse. Mondays from 7:00 p.m.-8:15 p.m. (child care provided)

    Women in Transition Group
    Year Round, group for women going through a separation or divorce. Intake required to join this group, must call for an intake appointment 845-628-9284  Group is held Tuesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    (child care provided)

    Empowerment Group
    Offered Fall, Spring, & Summer; A growth oriented group to address women’s concerns including self-esteem, boundaries, goal setting, stress management & effective communication. Must call to register 845-628-9284   Group is held Thursdays from 6:30-7:45 at the Women’s Resource Center. (child care available) Spring group TBA.

    Teen Support Group
    Offered Fall, Spring, & Summer; For girls ages 13& 14. Topics cover healthy relationships/dating, friendships, self esteem, conflict resolution, being assertive. Intake required to join this group, must call for an intake appointment 845-628-9284. Group is held Tuesday evenings from 6:00 to 7:15 p.m. at the WRC main office. Spring group TBA.

    Pre-Teen Support Group
    Offered Fall, Spring, & Summer; Group for pre-teens ages 10-12 living with domestic violence, separation or divorce issues in their family. Topics include friendships, conflict-resolution, bulling, self-esteem, and coping and communication skills. Intake required to join this group, must call for an intake appointment 845-628-9284.   Spring group TBA.
    Children’s Support Group
    Offered Fall, Spring, & Summer; for children age’s 8-9-living with domestic violence and family change, a growth oriented program to address children’s concerns. Intake required to join this group, must call for an intake appointment 845-628-9284. Spring group TBA. Group is held from Monday evenings from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the WRC main office.
    Adult Survivors of Sexual Trauma
    Offered Fall and Spring; a group  for women who have experienced sexual assault or rape. Intake required to join this group, must call for an intake appointment 845-628-9284. Fall group Monday’s at 7:30p.m. beginning September 30th, 2013 runs for 10 weeks.
    Legal Clinic
    Offered Monthly;Meet with an attorney to discuss and Review of NYS laws on Divorce, custody, orders of protection and support/advocacy answers. this workshop is for individuals who are starting or maybe starting the initial process of a divorce, support, custody or order of protection and have not yet retained an attorney. Registration is required, to register call 845-628-9284.  Next workshop March 11, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
    Volunteer Training
    Offered Fall and Spring; With the support of our volunteers, we are able to provide the necessary services to our clients that support their needs. Our program requires that interested adult volunteers be over the age of 18 to be trained to work with our staff and clients. Volunteers will receive training on cultural diversity, gender and power, sexual and domestic violence dynamics, advocacy skills, and much more!
    Registration is required, to register call 845-628-9284.  Spring Trainings TBA. Training run every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00p.m. to 8:30p.m. for 8 weeks. To learn more about the volunteer training and volunteering for WRC call 845-628-9284


    If you are currently experiencing a life threatening emergency please call 911.
    If you are a victim of Bullying, Dating Violence, Stalking, Human Trafficking or a Internet/Cell Phone related crime or any other related crime(s) and want or need assistance please call our
    24 hour Crisis Hotline at 845-628-2166
    or our Main Office at 845-628-9284


    If you are currently experiencing a life threatening emergency please call 911.
    If you want or need advocacy and/or other supports please call our

    24 hour Crisis Hotline at 845-628-2166
    or our Main Office at 845-628-9284
    Website Putnam County Women’s Resource Center –

  • Community Education/Outreach

    The Community Education and Outreach program provides the community with information and resources about domestic and sexual violence. To accomplish this goal, the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center has two community educators, who are able to create presentations, attend conferences, and sit on informational panels.
    These educators provide unique trainings, workshops, and presentations to a variety of organizations and local schools. These presentations and workshops can be developed to satisfy the needs of the school or organization while covering a wide range of topics that are appropriate for the target audience


    • Dating Violence Prevention
    • Acquaintance Rape
    • Drug-facilitated sexual assault
    • Sexual Harassment/Stalking
    • Gender Stereotyping

    High School

    • Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships
    • Dating Violence
    • Gender Stereotyping
    • Sexual Harassment
    • Social Network/Texting Harassment
    • Stalking
    • Diversity Skills
    • Staff Development/Training


    • Dating Violence Prevention
    • Acquaintance Rape
    • Drug-facilitated sexual assault
    • Sexual Harassment/Stalking
    • Gender Stereotyping

    High School

    • Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships
    • Dating Violence
    • Gender Stereotyping
    • Sexual Harassment
    • Social Network/Texting Harassment
    • Stalking
    • Diversity Skills
    • Staff Development/Training

    Non-School Presentations

    • Unhealthy Relationships
    • Dating Violence
    • Gender Stereotyping
    • Sexual Harassment
    • Social Network/Texting Harassment
    • Stalking
    • Diversity Skills
    • Staff Development/Training

    If you’re interested in learning more about the program or to set up a training at your location contact:
    call 845-628-9284

  • Mental Health Services

    Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.  That would represent approximately 25,000 residents in Putnam County.

    Fortunately, mental illness-like diabetes and heart disease-can be successfully managed with the proper treatment.  Recovery is possible and you are not alone!

    Categories of Major Mental Illnesses:

    • Depression: severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes.
    • Bi-Polar Disorder: also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or persistent depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes—from extreme highs (e.g., mania) to extreme lows (e.g., depression).
    • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year,1 causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated.  They include: panic disorder; obsessive compulsive disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; social phobia; and generalized anxiety disorder.
    • Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that has affected people throughout history.  People with the disorder may hear voices other people don’t hear.  They may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm the.  This can terrify people with the illness and make them withdrawn or extremely agitated.
    • Eating Disorders:   The three main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.


    To learn more about symptoms that are specific to a particular mental illness, visit  or contact your local MHA at (845) 278-7600

    The following are signs that your loved one may want to speak to a medical or mental health professional.


    In Adults:

    • Confused thinking
    • Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
    • Feelings of extreme highs and lows
    • Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
    • Social withdrawal
    • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
    • Strong feelings of anger
    • Delusions or hallucinations
    • Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
    • Suicidal thoughts
    • Denial of obvious problems
    • Numerous unexplained physical ailments
    • Substance abuse


    In older children and pre-adolescents:

    • Substance abuse
    • Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
    • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
    • Excessive complaints of physical ailments
    • Defiance of authority, truancy, theft, and/or vandalism
    • Intense fear of weight gain
    • Prolonged negative mood, often accompanied by poor appetite or thoughts of death
    • Frequent outbursts of anger


    In younger children:

    • Changes in school performance
    • Poor grades despite strong efforts
    • Excessive worry or anxiety (i.e. refusing to go to bed or school)
    • Hyperactivity
    • Persistent nightmares
    • Persistent disobedience or aggression
    • Frequent temper tantrums


    Getting Help:The first step to getting appropriate treatment is to visit a doctor or mental health specialist. Certain medications, and some medical conditions such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. A doctor can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. If the doctor can find no medical condition that may be causing the symptoms, the next step is a psychological evaluation.

    The doctor may refer you to a mental health professional, who should discuss with you any family history of depression or other mental disorder, and get a complete history of your symptoms. You should discuss when your symptoms started, how long they have lasted, how severe they are, and whether they have occurred before and if so, how they were treated. The mental health professional may also ask if you are using alcohol or drugs, and if you are thinking about death or suicide.

    Once diagnosed, a person with depression can be treated in several ways. The most common treatments are medication and psychotherapy.


    If you know someone who is depressed, it affects you too. The most important thing you can do is help your friend or relative get a diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage your loved one to stay in treatment, or to seek different treatment if no improvement occurs after 6 to 8 weeks.

    To help your friend or relative

    • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
    • Talk to him or her, and listen carefully.
    • Never dismiss feelings, but point out realities and offer hope.
    • Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your loved one’s therapist or doctor.
    • Invite your loved one out for walks, outings and other activities. Keep trying if he or she declines, but don’t push him or her to take on too much too soon.
    • Provide assistance in getting to the doctor’s appointments.
    • Remind your loved one that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.


    If you have depression, you may feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. It may be extremely difficult to take any action to help yourself. But as you begin to recognize your depression and begin treatment, you will start to feel better.

    To Help Yourself

    • Do not wait too long to get evaluated or treated. There is research showing the longer one waits, the greater the impairment can be down the road. Try to see a professional as soon as possible.
    • Try to be active and exercise. Go to a movie, a ballgame, or another event or activity that you once enjoyed.
    • Set realistic goals for yourself.
    • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can.
    • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
    • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly “snap out of” your depression. Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.
    • Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced or changing jobs, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
    • Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.
    • Continue to educate yourself about depression.

    Everything didn’t get better overnight, but I find myself more able to enjoy life and my children.


    If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your family doctor. Others who can help are listed below.


    Putnam County Crisis Hotline 845-225-1222

    Putnam County Information & Referral 211

  • Office for people with Disabilities

    A Developmental Disability is a disability of a person which is (1) attributable to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neurological impairment, autism or familial dysautonomia; (2) originates before the age of 22; (3) is expected to continue indefinitely; and (4) constitutes a substantial handicap to a person’s ability to function normally in society.  (A substantial handicapping condition is determined by administration of an approved adaptive behavior assessment scales administered and interpreted by a qualified professional.) Eligibility for services is determined by the Developmental Disabilities Regional Office (DDRO) of the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).  In order to determine eligibility, the DDRO requires information about a person’s disability including (1) a psychological report which includes an assessment of intellectual functioning (IQ) and a standardized assessment of adaptive behavior; (2) a recent general medical report and for conditions other than Intellectual Disability, a medical or specialty report that includes health status and diagnostic findings to support the diagnosis; and (3) a social/developmental history, psychosocial report or other report that shows that a person became disabled before age 22.  In some cases, the DDRO may require additional information to determine eligibility. Eligibility must be officially determined by NYS OPWDD in order to access the services they provide. The NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities provides a variety of supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.  OPWDD works with a network of not-for-profit providers to deliver services to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.  Services include residential services, day/employment services, and family and individual supports.  Examples of family and individual supports are clinic services, in-home care, senior services and service coordination.


    Putnam County Department of Mental Health’s Developmental Disabilities Coordinator is available to help individuals and families connect with the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities by providing information, referral and assistance with the eligibility application. Medley Broege, Developmental Disabilities Coordinator Putnam County Department of Mental Health 110 Old Route 6, Building 3 Carmel, NY 10512 845-808-1641 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   NYS OPWDD Taconic DDRO 1620 Route 22 Brewster, NY 10509 845-279-2905   PARC (Putnam ARC) 31 International Boulevard Brewster, NY 10509 845-278-7272   Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association 40 Jon Barrett Road Patterson, NY 12563 845-878-9078

    Careers for People with Disabilities
    401 Columbus Avenue, 2nd FloorValhalla, New York    10595(914) 741-8500Fax:  741-6901Christina Comish-Lauria, Executive Director

    Hudson Valley Community Services
    Robin Hill Corporate ParkPatterson, New York    12563(845) 878-9078Fax:  878-3203Howard Yager, Executive Director


Medical Assistance Programs

The Medical Assistance unit covers a number of programs that many people refer to as “Medicaid”.  These health care programs are for people who cannot pay for their medical care.  There are several ways that you can be eligible for Medicaid.  Medicaid depends on your age, income, health, sometimes your resources and other requirements.  The Medicaid Programs that are available include programs for adults and special programs for children.

Community Medicaid Program

There are several types of Community Medicaid:

  1. Medicare Savings Program – This program assists qualifying individuals with help in paying their Medicare premium, co-insurance and deductible amount.
  2. Child Health Plus A –  Medical coverage for children up to age 19.
  3. SSI Related – For adults who are aged, certified blind or certified disabled and can be either fully eligible  or eligible with a spend down.
  4. Adults – Single/childless couples (ages 21 to 65) may be eligible for Medicaid
    but should apply to the health exchange.
    Medicaid for adults living  with their dependent children can also be eligible for full Medicaid or with a spend down.

Chronic Care

This is a Medicaid program that may help pay for the costs for someone who is in institutional care or a home and community based waiver services program.  (There is a very extensive information gathering process that is required for determining eligibility for this program.)

General Eligibility Guidelines

There are many factors and various types of documentation requirements involved in making a determination of eligibility for Medicaid programs.  If you need health care coverage, contact your local Department of Social Services.  If you do not qualify for some programs, a worker may be able to assist you or know of another option to help you with your medical care costs.

Mental Health Services

Putnam County Mental Health Services

  • Reviews services and local facilities for those residents of Putnam County who require Mental Health, Alcoholism & Substance Abuse, or Developmentally Disabled Services
  • Determines the needs of these populations in Putnam
  • And, encourages programs of prevention, diagnosis, care, treatment, social and vocational rehabilitation, special education and training, consultation, and public education on these services.

Other services include

  • Developing a program of local services for Putnam, establishing long-range goals of the local government in its programs for the residents of Putnam County who require Mental Health, Alcoholism & Substance Abuse or Developmentally Disabled Services; and developing intermediate range plans and forecasts, listing priorities and estimated costs.
  • Directing and administering the development of a local comprehensive plan for those residents who require Mental Health, Alcoholism & Substance Abuse or Developmentally Disabled Services in Putnam, which shall be submitted to New York State and used, in part, to formulate a statewide comprehensive plan for services.
  • Seeking to assure that under the goals and the plans required, all population groups are adequately covered, and sufficient services are available for residents who require Mental Health, Alcoholism & Substance Abuse or Developmentally Disabled Services. Also, that there is coordination and cooperation among local providers of services, that the local program is integrated and coordinated with the programs of the Department, and that there is continuity of care among all providers of services.

NY Doc Submit

NYDocSubmit is a mobile application that allows certain applicants and recipients in Putnam County to take pictures of their documents and submit them to their local district office using their Apple iOS or Android phone or tablet. There is no need for the individual to take time off from work, stand in line or travel to the district office to drop off documents.

Important: NYDocSubmit is not monitored for emergencies and is not to be used to submit an application or to submit a periodic report.

Which Social Services programs does NYDocSubmit support?

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
  • Temporary Assistance (TA)
  • Medicaid

What technology support is available for

The Office of Information Technology Services (OITS) Service Desk supports NYDocSubmit.

Service Desk contact information:
Phone: (844) 891-1786
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What type of documents can be submitted using NYDocSubmit?

  • Identification
  • Citizenship Status
  • Proof of Income
  • Medical Documentation
  • Proof of Household
  • Residence
  • Resources
  • Shelter/Utilities
  • SSN or proof of a SSN application
  • Other Documentation

What is needed to use NYDocSubmit?

  1. An Apple iOS or Android phone or tablet with a working camera and data or Wi-Fi connectivity.
  2. Go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  3. Search for “NYDocSubmit” (one word).
  4. Click on GET or INSTALL.
  5. An existing or new ID from gov ID.

Note: The NYDocSubmit requires individuals to use the latest version of the application to successfully upload document images.

What type of documents should not be submitted using NYDocSubmit?

NYDocSubmit should not be used to submit sensitive information, such as:

  • Child Protective Services (CPS) case information or to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment.
  • Documents that contain HIV information.
  • Domestic violence information.
  • Addresses that must remain confidential to safeguard any member of an applicant’s or recipient’s household.

How to submit document images using NYDocSubmit?

  1. Select preferred language.
  2. Search and select Westchester to submit documents.
  3. Select one Program Area (SNAP, TA, HEAP or MA)
  4. Select Document Category.
  5. Capture the image of the document. Images will be subject to review and validation by the district.
  6. Enter identifying and contact information:
    • Name
    • Phone
  7. Enter submission details (at least one field is required):
    • Social Security Number (SSN)
    • Client Identification Number (CIN)
    • Case Number
    • Date of Birth
  8. Confirm or edit the information and submission details.
  9. Submit the document.
  10. A confirmation screen will appear following a successful upload (i.e., no “receipt” will be sent).
  11. The individual should wait to receive the confirmation screen before submitting another document or closing the application, e.g., “swipe the screen.”

S.P.O.A. Application

The Department of Community Mental Health established the Single Point of Access (SPOA) to remove barriers to successful community living for adults with serious mental illness. The goal of the SPOA is to ensure service access to high-need individuals while increasing integration and community tenure.

Recipients can access residential, case management, and Assertive Community Treatment (AOT) services through the SPOA application. Upon submission of the application and appropriate supporting documentation, each request for service is reviewed at the housing and/or case management SPOA meeting.  A service provider is assigned based on the type, level and availability of the service requested.


Contact Us

Michael J. Piazza, Jr. | Commisioner

  • Address:

    110 Old Route 6
    Carmel, NY 10512

  • Phone:

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.  That would represent approximately 25,000 residents in Putnam County.

Fortunately, mental illness-like diabetes and heart disease-can be successfully managed with the proper treatment.  Recovery is possible and you are not alone!

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Putnam County Office Building

40 Gleneida Avenue
Carmel, New York 10512

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