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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-
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ly disappointed with the results. More
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recently, the Department of Justice issued
a scathing report which has only added
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to the pressure for drastic changes to the
system.
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While everyone can agree that change
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is needed, moving forward too rapidly
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is reckless and irresponsible. It puts the
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youth, staff, and communities at risk.
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It appears that OCFS is trying to use the
Department of Justice report and the state
budget crises to justify their plan to close
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youth detention facilities and quickly move
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to a community-based model, whether VWDWHZH¿QGEHWWHUZD\VWRJHWWKHMREGRQHDYRLG
community programs are ready to meet
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youth’s needs or not. Current community- 
based programs are entirely inadequate at
the present time for handling this popula-
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tion and there is no evidence that OCFS
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has a plan for ensuring that the appropri-
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ate resources can and will be provided.
There are also a wide range internal defi-
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ciencies that OCFS has not addressed yet.
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For instance, their workplace injury and ill-
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ness incident rate increased dramatically,
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from 14.7 % to 19.6%. Their injury costs
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increased more than any other agency in
the state executive branch, up 61% over
the previous year from $1, 574843 to
$2,535,134.
There are other issues among many:
• Ensure that there is adequate staff and 0DUNLQJD&HQWXU\RI6HUYLFHWRDOO1HZ<RUNHUV
[LQGG $0
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