Children and Families SPOA

Children & Families SPOA

What is Children & Families SPOA

The Single Point of Access (SPOA) process brings representatives from important county service providers together with families to provide support and assistance to families with children in distress. The primary goals of SPOA is to 1) maintain children in the community and reduce out of home placement, 2) help transition children in placement back into the community and 3) increase access to community resources. These goals are accomplished by connecting children and their families to mental health resources, case management services, parent advocates, and social service prevention programs, to name a few.

Making a SPOA Referral

A SPOA referral can come from a variety of different sources: mental health, school, case management, social services, etc. The Universal SPOA Referral Form contains referral information, risk assessment, and release of information. In addition, all SPOA referrals will require a completed CANS-NY assessment. Once completed the referral form and CANS-NY assessment can be sent to Greene County Mental Health Center, attention Deborah Johnson. Once you get a call back with your SPOA date it is the responsibility of the referring party to contact the family, the school and any other participants that should attend the SPOA.

SPOA Universal Referral Form

CANS NY rating sheet

CANS-New-York Manual

CANS Training – Webiste


The following is a list of services your child may be referred to. Please note ALL of these services are completely voluntary.

Case Management

Intensive Case Managers and Supportive Case Managers are social work professionals who meet in the home with the parent/guardians and the child and help facilitate important community supports to families with children in distress. This may include but not limited to:

  • Linking families to community assistance programs
  • Linking families to community recreation and arts programs
  • Linking families with other treatment providers as needed by the child
  • Help families and school systems coordinate educational and behavioral goals
  • Help families set and initiate positive life goals for their child

Home and Community Based Waiver

The highest level of service available and provides intensive wrap around services to children diagnosed with severe emotional disturbances between the ages of 5-17. The Waiver program provides children and families with strength based individualized care coordination, respite, skill-building, intensive in-home, crisis response and family support services. Services are designed to assist the family with increasing safety within the home and community, as well as reducing the need for hospitalizations and out-of home placements.

Parent Advocate

Our parent advocate offers parent-to-parent support from someone who is familiar with parenting a challenging child and who can help the family understand and navigate through local community resources and systems.


Respite services provide a needed break for the family, easing family stress and providing the child with other positive adult interaction. This day or overnight care is provided either in the home or out-of-the home by trained workers.

Prevention Services

Prevention services through the Department of Social Services offer in-home parenting.

Kinship Care

Supports are available in the community for relatives caring for other family member’s children.

Victim Assistance

For children who have been the victim of abuse, this program provides counseling and therapy, advocacy, accompaniments, information and referrals. Services are available for recent or past victimizations.

Residential Treatment Facility (RTF)

For youth requiring a higher level of treatment, the SPOA committee screens potential candidates before review by the state.

Community Mental Health

Individual and family counseling and medication management services are available through the community mental health clinic.

Who Participates in the SPOA Process

  • Mental Health Association of Columbia and Greene County
  • Greene County Mental Health
  • Greene County Youth Bureau
  • Greene County Department of Social Services
  • Greene County School Districts
  • Parsons Home and Community Based Waiver Program
  • Ulster Greene ARC *
  • Greene County Probation Department*
  • Northeast Parent and Child Society*

*Participation as needed

If you need more information on the children’s SPOA process please contact:

Heather Buffa, RN MSN, SPOA Coordinator
Greene County Mental Health
905 Greene County Office Building
Cairo, NY 12413

Phone: 518.622.9163, ext 7150

Fax: 518.622.8592