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The Legislative Gazette February 9, 2010 Page 15
A Union Perspective
Juvenile justice at a crossroads
By Danny Donohue necessary training to carry out the new
therapeutic approach. .
New York’s Office of Children and Family
Services and it juvenile detention facilities • Work with CSEA to create a restraint
have long been plagued by troubles. CSEA policy that protects youth and staff from
has consistently and loudly raised its con- abuse.
cerns in a variety
of settings over • Finally, recognize the hard work, dedi-
the late 1980s and early 1990s. But OCFS
the last decade. cation and commitment to improving a
should also know that CSEA will oppose
CSEA welcomed youth’s life that staff demonstrates time
any plan compromises public safety and
a change in and time again!
puts youth and staff at greater risk.
administration CSEA is willing to work cooperatively to
in 2007 and has create a juvenile justice system that will
Danny Donohue is president of the nearly
tried to work with serve everyone better. OCFS should not
300,000 member CSEA – New York’s
the new leader- ignore our history in helping to change
leading union.
ship to address the developmental disabilities system in
these long stand-
ing deficiencies, but we have been sore-
ly disappointed with the results. More
recently, the Department of Justice issued
a scathing report which has only added
to the pressure for drastic changes to the
While everyone can agree that change
is needed, moving forward too rapidly
is reckless and irresponsible. It puts the
youth, staff, and communities at risk.
It appears that OCFS is trying to use the
Department of Justice report and the state
budget crises to justify their plan to close
youth detention facilities and quickly move
to a community-based model, whether VWDWHZH¿QGEHWWHUZD\VWRJHWWKHMREGRQHDYRLG
community programs are ready to meet
youth’s needs or not. Current community- 
based programs are entirely inadequate at
the present time for handling this popula-
tion and there is no evidence that OCFS
has a plan for ensuring that the appropri-
ate resources can and will be provided.
There are also a wide range internal defi-
ciencies that OCFS has not addressed yet.
For instance, their workplace injury and ill-
ness incident rate increased dramatically,
from 14.7 % to 19.6%. Their injury costs
increased more than any other agency in
the state executive branch, up 61% over
the previous year from $1, 574843 to
There are other issues among many:
• Ensure that there is adequate staff and 0DUNLQJD&HQWXU\RI6HUYLFHWRDOO1HZ<RUNHUV
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