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Guidance

Essentials for Navigating Multiple Systems

What is a human service agency?

How do I find out what they do?

Human Services agencies are helping agencies. They sometimes work with individuals, or groups such as families or communities, to alleviate stress, find stability, and help individuals function at their best. There are many professions which fall under the umbrella of the human services. They range from vocational counselors, to child welfare case workers, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), and many more. Human service agencies also provide access to needed resources, like nutritional assistance, housing assistance, or evaluations. Use this section to learn more about human service agencies.

What is a human service agency?

Good Things to Know

The Multiple Systems Navigator has a listing of Agencies and Organizations Simply type a keyword in the search box related to the information you’re seeking. Agencies and organizations will be displayed if they contain the word that you entered. You can search for and agency by name or acronym, e.g., SED or Education Department.

Home page image showing link to agencies/organizations
Agency and Organization search box


You can find additional agencies and organizations using our mapping tool. This tool contains a lot of program and contact information for agencies and programs.

mapping tool

Things You Can Do

Think about the types of support that would help you or your child. List keywords that relate to your problem, such as: addiction, challenging behavior, disabilities, or jobs. Use these keywords in the Multiple Systems Navigator Agencies/Organizations tab to find agencies that assist with this type of problem. You can also type them in the search box which will search Agencies and Organizations, Navigator Resources as well as Terms and Acronyms containing your search term or phrase.

Global site search


Each agency page provides a description of the agency, a listing of the resources and/or program information we have included on our site and services offered, as well as contact information and a website link. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an agency—they are there to help!

Agency page


Keep a journal or record of what you learn – you can use one of our recommended journaling tools.

If you have a care coordinator, ask them questions about agencies to help understand if what they do is right for your need.

Talk to other parents, peers, and advocates about their experiences and tap into their expertise.

Things Others Can Do

Call 211 (or 311 if you live in NYC). They have up-to-date information on agencies in your area.

NY Connects staff can help link you to long-term services and supports, such as home care, transportation and meals. Their goal is to help individuals live as independently as they wish, while meeting medical, social and functional needs that arise from aging or disability. NY Connects helps individuals, families, caregivers, and professionals.

When you call an agency, they may make a referral, or assist you with an intake process. They might offer to meet to give you more information, or visit your house. If the agency isn’t right for your needs, they may give you suggestions, like helpful websites, or connect you to other helpful people or groups.

Best Sources for More Guidance

Families Together in New York State Parent Advisors - Families Together in NYS (FTNYS) is a statewide, parent-governed, non-profit organization, that grew out of the efforts of many people who were concerned about children’s mental health services in New York State and across the nation. The primary role of the Families Together Regional Parent Advisors is to build relationships with all family support services within their region. Parent Advisors provide a forum for local family support services to network with one another. They serve as liaisons, facilitating communication between the New York State Office of Mental Health and the families in the community.

Parent to Parent of NYS - Parent to Parent Regional Offices are staffed by people who have walked the walk and are available to help other families:

  • Support – Parent to Parent offers parents/caregivers the opportunity to connect one-to-one with a parent/caregiver of an individual with the same or similar disability or special health care need – someone who has “been there.”
  • Information & Referral – Parent to Parent helps families locate the information and services they need.
  • Trainings – Workshops are available on Understanding Medicaid Service Coordination, Record Keeping and Using a Health Care Notebook, and various other topics.

The organization’s parent-matching program is based on a model program used across the country. Parent to Parent assists parents, with children who have a developmental disability and/or special health care needs, by locating a volunteer support parent who has a similar experience. When a family initially receives a diagnosis, the emotional response can be overwhelming. Talking with another parent is an excellent resource with helping come to terms with emotional acceptance. You are not alone.

NY Connects is your trusted place to go for free, unbiased information about long-term supports in New York State for people of all ages or with any type of disability.

Single Point of Access (SPOA) Coordinators – SPOA Coordinators connect people with serious mental illness to mental health services.

YouthPOWER! - YOUTH POWER! wants to make sure that youth from all over the state have the same access to opportunities to get involved! That’s why they have five Regional Teams scattered throughout the state, one in each of the five regions: Long Island, NYC, Hudson River, Central, and Western!

Youth in Progress Regional Associates - Youth in Progress has regional teams in six different areas of New York State. These teams are comprised of youth in care in New York State that promote positive youth development and support adult/youth partnerships and adolescents in achieving successful outcomes.

Developed by the Council on Children and Families and Funded by the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council