The new Close to Home initiative focuses on reducing the placement of troubled youths in facilities operated by the state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and, instead, concentrates on moving troubled youths to privately run facilties in the very same neighborhoods where they got into trouble in the first place.
PEF leaders and members who work for OCFS joined parents of troubled youths and concerned residents to point out several deficiencies in the plan, including: the high percentage of youths who escape from private facilities, the lack of safety measures at the private facilties and the fact that 38 percent of the youths being moved into these neighborhood communities committed violent crimes.
The hearings were held Monday, May 7, between 5 pm and 8 pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn and again Tuesday, May 8, between 10 am and 1 pm at the Health Building, 2nd Floor Auditorium, 125 Worth Street, New York.
PEF members who have spent years nurturing, teaching and monitoring troubled youths went on-the-record about the many success stories of youths who have turned their lives around in state-operated facilities. For many of the youths and their families, the last thing they needed to be was "close to home."