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Family Support Resources and Tips

Our Family Resources page provides links regarding public services, helping children cope with stress, food assistance, hotlines and much more. 

2-1-1 CNY: This comprehensive resource connects people to resources throughout CNY for housing, utilities, food, mental health, substance abuse, family, health, finances and more. Simply call 211 or or visit the 211 CNY website to get answers to questions and help finding resources or getting connected to agencies that can help meet your needs.

General Information:

ESM Counselors Available for Parents/Students: ESM elementary, middle and high school counselors are available to help families. Feel free to email counselors in any building or call the school.  

Child psychiatrist on coronavirus stress: Keep a routine, listen to feelings, celebrate milestones: Dr. Geoffrey Hopkins answered questions about parenting during COVID-19 in this video.  

Role of Parents in Virtual Education: Article from Slate, a daily magazine on the web and podcast network. 

Family Resources (Mostly Videos) For Pre-k to Gr. 5 and Gr. 6-12: Wide Open School is a free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids curated by the editors at Common Sense. This group gathers content and organizes it so families can easily find what they need. Topic areas include: Daily Schedule, Live Events, English Language Learners, Special Needs, Emotional Well Being, Life Skills, Field Trips, Get Moving and subject areas too. Most are kid-friendly video links! Parent Resource Information: Includes videos and links to help children cope and to help parents cope, links for families/caregivers of students with special needs. Community resources for families and much more. Resource page created by Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES.

Onondaga County Government Covid19 Resource Page:

Responding To Our New Normal: A Resource Guide for Educators and Parents Facing Social Distancing and Remote Learning. This is a great resource resulting from a collaboration of School Psychologists, School Counselors, School Social Workers, and education professionals, coordinated by Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES.  New Normal Resource Guide
Helping Children Cope with covid issues 

ESM Counselor Offers Tips to Help Students Cope: News Channel 9 interviewed East Syracuse Elementary Counselor Janel Herrington about helping students cope during the State of Emergency. See the interview.

Help for Children with Heightened OCD due to the Coronavirus: Renee Jain, founder of interviews child therapist, Natasha Daniels, on how the fears of the virus exacerbate OCD and what to do about it.

National Association of School Psychologists: This group has created a resource page titled “Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The US Centers for Disease Control provides news, information and resources related to the global pandemic on its website. The CDC also offers tips for parents and guardians who are helping children navigate through these unsettling times:  New York State Office of Mental Health:

Exceptional Family Resources: Partners with individuals with disabilities and their families, providing services, information, advocacy and other supports to enhance lives and foster community acceptance. 2019-2020 Resource Manual for Onondaga County - pdf (scroll down, it is close to the bottom of the page)
Food Assistance
  • ESM free Breakfast and Lunch ProgramESM has been notified that the free meal program providing breakfast and lunch for ALL children 18 and younger will continue through the entire 20-21 school year. Meals will be free for all of ESM’s in-person learners on the days they are at school. For the days students are not in school, families can pick up free “grab & go” meals Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at their choice of three sites — ESM Central High School, Minoa Elementary or East Syracuse Elementary from 9-10 a.m. Further details & how to sign up for grab & go meals.
  • St. Matthew's Food Pantry in East Syracuse: Tuesday & Thursday 10 a.m. - noon, at their new location, 600 W. Manlius St., next to Family Dollar in the village of East Syracuse.
  • Heaven's Pantry in Minoa: Normal hours on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.
  • Rescue MissionTo go meals are available for anyone in the community who needs nutrition at 7 am, 11 am, and 4 pm
  • Peace Inc. Food Pantry: Open Monday and Friday from 9-12 p.m.  at 200 Beach St., Syracuse, 315-470-3300.
phone Hotlines 
  • Comprehensive List of Telephone Hotlines in CNY:
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. 1-800-273-8255
  • 2-1-1 CNY: Comprehensive resource connecting people to agencies throughout CNY for housing, utilities, food, mental health, substance abuse, family, health, finances, more. Call 211 to get questions answered & get connected to agencies that can help meet your needs.
  • Hotline for essential workers who are having difficulty getting food/supplies: 315-218-1987
  • DSS mandatory/assistance services (TANF/SNAP/HEAP etc.) are open and working, mostly via phone 315-435-2700.
  • Hotline for essential workers who need child care: 315-446-1220
  • Veteran’s Service Agency: 315-435-3219
  • New York State Emotional Support Line staffed by specially trained volunteers who can help you. Call 1-844-863-9314.
  • 24/7 emotional support for frontline health care workers: Text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741 to access the services. This is through New York State in partnership with the Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line. The NYS Department of Financial Services will require New York-regulated health insurers to waive cost-sharing, including deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, for in-network mental health services for New York's front-line essential workers.
Domestic Violence/Child Advocacy/Trafficking
  • NYS Domestic Violence Hotline (To help find shelter or relocate) 1-800-942-6906 Locally, call Vera House 24/7 number: 315-468-3260 * If you are in eminent danger, call 9-1-1
  • McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center Report Abuse or need assistance: 315-701-1966
  • Trafficking and Exploitation Hotline: 315-218-1966
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COVID19 and our Community
Other Useful Resources:

Health Insurance: Resources for families who may need health insurance due to the state of emergency

Child Care for other Families: It may be a challenge to find child care due to COVID-19 related program closures, however the Office of Children & Family Services is trying their best to support families to find the high quality child care that they need. If you are a parent or caregiver who needs child care, please complete this parent need for child care survey. Based on the information you provide about your job, employer, number of children, and financial need, OCFS may be able to help you find the child program you need. Parent Child Care Survey

Families without Internet: Families without internet access for online, distance learning are eligible for internet services for 60 days free of charge through Spectrum. After that the family will be billed for service. This offer only applies to families who have not had Spectrum Internet within the last 60 days. Spectrum encourages families to try to call first thing in the morning to avoid delays at 1-844-488-8395. If you need further assistance, contact Cheryl West, ESM Coordinator for Youth Development & Leadership, at 315-434-3010.

Telephonic Mental Health:
  • 2-1-1 (Connect over the phone with local supports)
  • Statewide Hotline for free mental health services:, 1-844-863-9314 (8 am-10 pm 7 days/week) Call to schedule an appointment
  • Postpartum Resource Center of NY Moms supporting moms: 855-631-0001 (hours expanded to 7 days/week 9am-5pm)
  • Liberty Resources: Helps people deal with the physical, emotional, and social issues focusing on wholehearted health. They are accepting new patients/referrals through telehealth 315-472-4471 or online
  • ARISE: Helps people navigate services for those with disabilities They are accepting new patients/referrals, call 315-472-3171.
Resources related to Mental Health, stress, and coping during a pandemic Legal Questions/Services:
  • Free Lawyer Hotline: 1-877-777-6152
  • Hiscock Legal Aid Society (Syracuse) 315-218-0141
  • Central NY Legal Services: 315-703-6500
  • Onondaga County Volunteer Lawyer Project: 315-471-3409
Supporting Limited English Speaking People and New Americans:
  • RISE is committed to assisting the diverse refugee and immigrant communities in Onondaga County with programs targeted at promoting self-sufficiency through employment, education, and economic empowerment. Emergency Phone Number: 315-214-4480 available 24/7 (follow prompts for language needed, as volunteers arise other languages may be added)
    • Press 1 for English/general inquiries
    • Press 2 for Nepali
    • Press 3 for French, Swahili, and Lingala
    • Press 4 for Somali
    • Press 5 for Kizigua
    • Press 6 for Karen and Burmese
    • Press 7 for Kinyarwandan, Kirundi
    • Press 8 for Arabic
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