Close to Home program mean to keep troubled youth closer to home
This fall, kids who get in trouble as a juvenile will be place in privately-run not-for-profit facilities in New York City versus being sent upstate. Some parents are concerned that the teens could be right back on the streets committing more crimes. Dean Meminger explains.
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NEW YORK STATE -- Come this fall, kids who get in trouble as juvenile offenders will be placed in privately-run not-for-profit facilities in the five boroughs instead of being sent to facilities upstate. Some are concerned the teens could be right back on the streets committing more crimes.
"Safety, I am not sure you can house young people who have had problems in the past in a non secure placement facility," Brooklyn resident Bernard Fryshman said.
The state is turning over control of young offenders to the city's Administration for Children's Services in September. ACS has hired not for profits to house those who are younger than 16 and not considered high risk. Although, some have committed misdemeanors and even felonies. On Monday and Tuesday, ACS got some feedback from the public.
"A lot of our youth, by little mistake, can get themselves into trouble. And I think we have to sometime give them a chance to come back to our community," Bronx resident Bourema Niamble said.
The new initiative is called Close to Home. Kids will serve their punishments and receive services while being near their families. The ACS commissioner says upstate facilities haven't worked when it comes to rehabilitation.
"They eventually come home after relatively short stays and commit crimes in the communities we are talking about. So we think keeping kids close to home, where they can access to their families and get school credit will be a lot more successful," ACS Commissioner Ronald Richter said.
But state workers and their union say they have facilities in the city that can be used. They're outraged private agencies are being contracted.
"It is about money, it is not about taking care of our kids. It is about politics and money," family advocate Akmeer Kahiem said.
But one Bronx mom says it will be money well spent having her son close.
Jeannette Bocanegra said, "It was hard for him to be so far away from home with individuals that didn't care about him that see him as a number. But to me, he is my son, he has a name."
Lots of people will be keeping a close eye on this program to see if really helps troubled teens.