Following a recent assault on Westchester County Department of Social Services (DSS) caseworker Maria Coto, the County has announced additional safety measures for its staff. Effective immediately, DSS will offer enhanced security escorts for staff during community and home visits. While DSS has long provided escort services, the new initiative expands their availability to cover more visits and programs.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “This unforeseen and tragic incident has prompted us to take immediate action to protect our personnel from further harm while they perform their duties on behalf of the County of Westchester. DSS staff perform essential work within the community, we respect them and we want to do all we can to keep them safe.”

Coto, was attacked while making contact with clients in Peekskill, sustaining severe injuries and remains hospitalized. Century Protective Services, Inc. will provide escorts on a case-by-case basis to assist DSS staff.

DSS Commissioner Leonard Townes said: "Due to the urgent nature of this situation, DSS has determined that an immediate contract with a security services provider is necessary. Our employees perform the most selfless work, and we want to ensure their safety every step of the way."

Latimer said: “Our thoughts are with Maria Coto and her family during this difficult time.”