OHEL Childrenâs Home and Family Services Inc. is a recognized leader in the social services industry. One of the most highly regulated of services, OHEL practices and services receive comprehensive oversight by over ten city, state, and federal regulatory agencies. While OHEL serves thousands every day, our paramount focus is always ensuring that the safety and best interests of each client is always secured. The integrity of OHELâs commitment to service excellence, provided in a dignified, professional and confidential manner, lies at the heart of OHELâs mission. OHELâs continued success rests upon the stellar reputation of the organization which is best achieved through a policy of utmost transparency.
Are OHELâs Programs and Services Audited?
Why Is OHEL Sometimes a Recipient of Negative Publicity?
What is the Difference Between âRegulatory Inquiriesâ Leveled by Government Agencies towards OHEL and âInvestigative Inquiriesâ Made by News Reporters?
Does OHEL encourage reporting alleged abuse to NY State-Central Register (SCR) or Law Enforcement?
What Have Been Some of the Unique Challenges OHEL has Faced?
What has OHEL Done in the Community?
Does OHEL Treat Victims of Child Sexual Abuse?
Q: Are OHELâs Programs and Services Audited?
OHEL services and programs are constantly regulated by a myriad of city, state and federal agencies. As such, OHELâs practices are rigorously and routinely audited by numerous government agencies â programmatically, financially and administratively. These audits, both scheduled and un-announced, are conducted to ensure OHELâs compliance with a plethora of laws and regulations.
Q: Why Is OHEL Sometimes a Recipient of Negative Publicity?
OHEL is not a manufacturer of light bulbs. We work on the front line, affecting the lives of children and families by addressing diverse and complex social ills and human failings which are too often characterized by difficult and tragically broken family relationships.
By example, in a case of domestic violence, many in a family may see OHEL as a rescuer of a woman and her children who were abused, while another may see OHEL as a âhome-wrecker.â OHEL proactively goes to wherever the need is, and not necessarily where a particular service is welcomed.Â By example, in raising awareness of child sexual abuse, one community may welcome OHELâs presence as a means to raise awareness, while others may feel that OHEL is unnecessarily exposing children to âun-kosherâ issues.Â OHEL is a large multi-faceted organization, but sans a âbig-brotherâ mentality.Â By example, many will see strength in experience, numbers and services, while some may see an institutionalized bureaucracy.Â OHEL is a highly regarded organization but certainly not flawlessÂ OHEL does not see itself as perfect. Social services is not a science and arguments can be made for different approaches in complex situations. However, some may view OHEL as impervious to change or self-criticism.Â These unique dynamics can often yield irrational emotions and reactions that are committed to print, and yet are not based on facts but often driven by personal agendas.
Given that OHEL staff a) routinely work in complex and not clear-cut situations that affect the lives of thousands of children and families and b) receives significant government funding as part of its annual budget, it is expected that OHEL is consistently under the spot light.Â By law, OHEL must and does provide uninhibited access to all patient and procedural records to government regulatory auditors. However, as regards non-governmental inquiries, OHEL is prohibited from providing such equivalent patient data to any non-agency staff or contractors. This specifically pertains to compliance with HIPPA Client Confidentiality Policies and New York State Client Confidentiality Policies. Consequentially, given the law, OHEL is extremely limited in what it can say. By example, OHEL can never confirm or deny whether an individual is or was a client, let alone discuss aspects of his/her case. This legal prohibition to comment is at times spun by some in the media as âan avoidance by OHELâ to confront an issue or, at worst, an admission of wrong doing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Maintaining client confidentiality is fundamental, as it should be with all social service agencies. Bear in mind of course, that clients would not come to OHEL if they did not trust our integrity.
Q: Does OHEL encourage reporting alleged abuse to NY State-Central Register (SCR) or Law Enforcement?Â
Yes. As our public record attests to in print, radio and television, OHEL has been consistently outspoken for decades in communicating that the best prevention against child sexual abuse is a) Reporting alleged abuse to the police and b) the prosecution of alleged offenders.
OHEL Mandated Reporting Policies
NY State Office of Children & Family Services Letter about OHEL: Letter One
NY State Office of Children & Family Services Letter about OHEL: LetterÂ Two
OHEL News Article about Child Sexual Abuse
Q: What Have Been Some of the Unique Challenges OHEL has Faced?Â
Today, due to the efforts of OHEL and other organizations, victim advocates, the media and others, there is a relatively increased communal awareness of the prevalence of child sexual abuse and greater receptivity to reporting alleged abuse to law enforcement authorities. While the community still has much to address, there has been positive change.Â A decade ago, however, things were quite different.Â Many victims and/or their families, for a number of reasons, both personal and communal, chose not to notify the law enforcement authorities about an alleged offender. Additionally, there was a general denial, at least in some circles, that the problem existed at all.Â In light of this disturbing reality, OHEL sought to proactively change community perceptions and attitudes.
Q: What has OHEL Done in the Community?Â
For over a decade OHEL has tirelessly has sought to both a) increase communal awareness of the prevalence of child sexual abuse and b) increase the receptivity to reporting alleged abuse to law enforcement authorities. OHELâs on-going efforts have included:
Treatment of Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Over a Decade of Outspoken Articles and Op-Ed Pieces
Community-Wide Awareness Evenings
Clinical Workshops for Professionals
Consultations to Schools and Communities
Appearance on Radio Shows
Partner in âKol Tzedekâ with other organizations, an initiative of Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes
DVD âIgnorance is Not Blissâ â giving voice to victims of child sexual abuse
David Mandel, CEO of OHEL and Dr. David Pelcovitz co-edited the book âBreaking the Silence: Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Communityâ
DVD âUnwanted Touchâ - the most important conversation you can have with your child
Q: Does OHEL Treat Victims of Child Sexual Abuse?Â
Yes. For over a decade OHEL has provided critical support services to victims of child sexual abuse and OHELâs Trauma Specialists work tirelessly in this highly specialized area of mental health services
Dr. Krueger and Dr. Kaplan Report: Independent Report on OHEL Services and Practices in Area of Child Sexual Abuse
Resume of Dr. Krueger
Resume of Dr. Kaplan
NY State Office of Children & Family Services Letter about OHEL: Letter One
NY State Office of Children & Family Services Letter about OHEL: Letter Two
OHEL ARTICLES ON ABUSE
January 2014 - OHEL Quietly Protects ChildrenÂ From Abuse
April 2012 - Eliminate legal layer of abuse
December 2011 - NY Daily News, Seeing Something, but saying Nothing
November 2011 - CBS NY, David Mandel, CEO of OHEL and other Community Leaders Pushing To Report Sex Abuse Crimes
November 2011 - A National Policy On Reporting Sexual Abuse
August 26, 2011 - The Jewish Press, Sexual Abuse: Prevent, Police, Prosecute
March, 2011 - OHEL Responds to Jewish Week Article by Hella Winston
May 1, 2009 - Five Towns Jewish Times: Sexual Abuse Legislation and A Proposed Strategy for Reform
May 2009 - The Jewish Week, OHEL calls for greater collective responsibility and resolute action in preventing child sexual abuse.
May 19, 2000 - The Jewish Press, One Victim is More Than Enough
September 3, 1999 - The Jewish Press, Secrets!