Senator Montgomery at her capacity as Chair of the Children and Families Committee, teamed up with the Chair of the Social Services Committee Senator Persaud (D-Brooklyn) and Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee Senator Carlucci to kick-off the start of a series of Round tables the Senators will host throughout the state to flush out the needs and lack of services for youth in their respective communities. The first of the series was held in Manhattan and focused solely on the needs of foster care youth in the downstate area. The Senators were joined by Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and Assembly Chair of the Children and Families Committee Ellen Jaffee (D-Rockland).
Some of the issues that were expressed by various youth groups were the need for more family reunion programs. Many feel that Child Protective Services focuses too much resources on keeping children out of their respective homes apposed to creating corrective plans and other measures to deem the parent(s) fit for their child to return into their custody. Further adding to growing numbers of children going in and out of the system. Many have also noted the need for more "unsupervised" visits and even the abolishment of the term and replace it with a more appropiate "Family Time".
Another issue expressed by some of the advocates were the need for more financial literacy programs for youth leaving the foster care system, in order to better aide them in their transition to a more self sufficient lifestyle. As well as the need for NYC to re-invest in the Supervised Independent Living Program (SILP), which gave youth the opportunity to practice living on their own. The program was terminated in NYC back in December 2010.
Other Advocates tied the issues to the need to reform the State's Child Abuse Central Registry. A broken system where many feel that they are being mis-understood and that there is a very thin line between being poverty and what people might see as neglect.
For more information about the Round Table meetings please call 518.455.3451
Here are a list of the Advocates and groups that were represented:
- Advocates for Children of New York
- New York City ACS
- Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services
- Bronx Defenders
- Brooklyn Defender Services
- Brooklyn Legal Services
- Center for Family Representation
- Children's Defense Fund
- Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFFCA)
- Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families
- Girl Vow
- Good Shephard Services
- Graham Windham
- Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services
- Lawyers for Children
- Legal Aid Society
- Martin de Porres Group Homes
- New Alternatives for Children
- Redlich Horwitz Foundation
- Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services
- The Coalition for Behavioral Health
- Coalition for Children's Behavioral Health
- The Door
- The New York Founding
- You Gotta Believe