Friday, December 30, 2011

Ulster Prevention Council: 2011 Monitoring the Future Study Results on Synthetic Marijuana

For the next several weeks Cheryl DePaolo, Director of the Ulster Prevention Council, will be addressing the release of the 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey results. The Monitoring the Future (MTF) study is a long-term epidemiological study that surveys trends in legal and illicit use among American adolescents in 8th, 10th and 12th grades.

The survey is conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, funded by research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. MTF results are important to us in Ulster County as it gives us national comparison data as we review the results of our biannual Ulster County Youth Development Survey.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has issued a Call for Action based on what it called one of the most noteworthy findings of the latest MTF survey. The 2011 survey included for the first time a question on past-year use of synthetic marijuana among high school seniors. Synthetic marijuana (specifically “Spice” and “K2”) consists of leaves of ordinary plants sprayed with chemicals that mimic the mind-altering effects of marijuana. Clemson University organic chemist John W. Huffman created the K2 compound in the mid-1990s to mimic the effects of cannabis on the brain.

The MTF results indicate that the prevalence of use in the past year among 12th graders was estimated at 11.4%. Synthetic marijuana ranked as the second most frequently used illicit substance, after marijuana, among high school seniors.

The 2010 Ulster County YDS did not survey synthetic marijuana use. However, a local scan found that such substances are readily available in gas stations and convenience stores, and local school districts report incidences of students bringing these substances to school.

In 2011, the DEA used emergency scheduling authority to ban the sale of the chemicals used to manufacture K2 and Spice. Many states, including New York, have taken action to ban the chemicals as well. However, manufacturers “tweak” the formulations used to produce these products. An internet search today readily turns up dozens of sites selling “K2 Incense Spice” marketed as “Spicester” and declared to be legal in New York.

Given the latest data, ONDCP states that it will be reaching out to a nationwide network of state and local public health and safety organizations to provide them with the latest information on this public health threat and spur action at the local level. The Ulster Prevention Council welcomes your observations and comments regarding synthetic marijuana in Ulster County.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How Prevalent is Inhalant Abuse in Ulster County?

In 2009, over 2.1 million kids, ages 12 - 17 used an inhalant to get high[1]. The NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 8.1% of 8th graders, 5.7% of 10th graders, and 3.6% of 12th graders had abused inhalants at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

In Ulster County, 12.9% of 8th graders reported using an inhalant to get high at least once, and 6.1% reported using within the last 30 days[2]. 9.3% of 10th graders and 5.8% of 12th graders reported using an inhalant at least once.

Inhalants pose a particularly significant problem since they are readily accessible, legal, and inexpensive. They also tend to be abused by younger teens[3] and can be highly toxic and even lethal.

Most inhalants produce a rapid high that resembles alcohol intoxication. If sufficient amounts are inhaled, nearly all solvents and gases produce a loss of sensation, and even unconsciousness. Irreversible effects can be hearing loss, limb spasms, central nervous system or brain damage, or bone marrow damage. Sniffing high concentrations of inhalants may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs). Even a single session of repeated inhalations can lead to cardiac arrest and death by altering normal heart rhythms or by preventing enough oxygen from entering the lungs. Some abusers experience restlessness, nausea, sweating, anxiety, and other symptoms of withdrawal when they stop taking the drug[4]. Like any other drug when abused, inhalants can also lead to accidents and injuries.

Inhalants include a variety of products that produce breathable chemical vapors that can have mind-altering effects. The substances inhaled are often common household products that contain volatile solvents, aerosols, or gases. Many of these products are commonly found in the home. People do not think that products such as spray paints, nail polish remover, hair spray, glues, and cleaning fluids present any risk of abuse, because their intoxicating effects are so totally unconnected to their intended uses. Yet, young children and adolescents do seek them out for that purpose. Intoxication occurs quickly and usually lasts only a few minutes, making abuse of inhalants easier to conceal than abuse of alcohol or marijuana.

Parents may be unaware of the risks of inhalant abuse. Even those who are watchful for signs of alcohol or drug abuse may not realize the risk associated with products found under the kitchen sink and in the garage. Adults don't have to clear out cabinets, utility closets, and garage shelves to keep young people safe from inhalant abuse. Rather, they should store household products carefully to prevent accidental inhalation by very young children; they should also remain aware of the temptations that these dangerous substances pose to children in their homes, learn the facts, and communicate with children in a way that guides them toward healthy life choices.

[1] National Survey on Drug Use and Health

[2] 2010 Ulster County Youth Development Survey

[3] NIDA Community Alert Bulletin on Inhalants published in January, 2005

[4] NIDA Notes, Volume 20, Number 3 (October 2005) Inhalant Abuse: Danger Under the Kitchen Sink

Monday, November 14, 2011

Leah Feldman receives the 2011 Family Services' President's Award

Leah Feldman, the Project Coordinator for the Universal Response to Domestic Violence, is the recipient of Family Services’ 2011 President’s Award. The award is given to an employee who distinguishes and exemplifies the values we espouse at Family Services.

In the past year Domestic Violence services and systems have been undergoing a high degree of scrutiny. Leah Feldman has been at the forefront of that analysis and has been charged with strengthening the universal response to domestic violence in Dutchess County during this critical time. A comprehensive review of the system was completed for the Dutchess County Legislature, which included a comprehensive package of recommendations. These recommendations led to an increase in funding for services, despite cuts in many other areas. It also led to an increase in offender accountability measures and changes in State legislation. Leah has brought knowledge and skill to the discussions as well as a great degree of poise under trying circumstances. Her professionalism coupled with a quiet strength has earned her the respect and admiration of a host of stakeholders. Leah’s oral and written presentation skills are of the highest quality, and as such she is often cited in the media, bringing credibility and positive exposure as well as increasing access to services for victims and survivors. She has been able to foster and deepen collaborations, provide leadership and innovation, and advocacy that is far reaching and sustainable. Leah demonstrates a deep commitment to the cause as well as to her colleagues and is perceived as a trusted advisor and leader to many within Family Services.

Congratulations Leah on this well deserved honor!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Children's Center Open House

You're Invited!
Please join us at the Children's Center at Dutchess County Family Court for our annual open house. Take a tour of the center, meet our professional teachers, and enjoy some delicious refreshments. For more information please contact Wendy Figueroa, Head Teacher, at 845-431-1854.

Thursday, December 1st
12:15 - 2:00 pm

Dutchess County Family Court
50 Market Street, 3rd Floor
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

We hope to see you there!

Domestic Violence: High Risk Case Conferencing Training

On October 14th Family Services, Inc. along with the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, the Dutchess County Legislature, and the generous support of the United Way of Dutchess County, sponsored a domestic violence training focused on high risk case conferencing. While our community has a very strong coordinated response to domestic violence, the increase in domestic violence homicides in the past year has prompted the community to critically examine the established systems. New and innovative approaches are needed to increase the safety of victims and accountability of offenders.

The training was focused on a model of high risk case conferencing that uses a research based approach to identifying and addressing high lethality cases of domestic violence. The training involved a multi-disciplinary team with representatives from a variety of systems and agencies including, Family Services, Inc., the District Attorney’s Office, the Dutchess County Legislature, Grace Smith House, the House of Hope, the New York State Police, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the Town of Poughkeepsie Police, the City of Poughkeepsie Police, Vassar College, Marist College, Dutchess Community College, Health Families of Dutchess County, the Mediation Center of Dutchess County, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Mental Hygiene, Probation, Child Protective Services, the medical field, and community members.

This training has initiated the development of a high risk case conferencing team to address highly lethal cases in Dutchess County. As part of this project we will also be engaging systems and agencies in the community to utilize lethality assessments and refer high risk cases to the team. While service providers and law enforcement are already using lethality assessments, it is crucial for other systems and agencies to use them as well. This training will enhance Dutchess County’s ability to protect victims and hold offenders accountable.  

 “I think that the high risk training was very useful.  The knowledge that we gained will allow us to use Dutchess County’s existing coordinated response to identify and prioritize cases involving indicators of elevated risk to victims.  Having all the participants assembled for this training really generated discussion of the practical details that will make high risk case conferencing a valuable enhancement to Dutchess County’s response to domestic violence.” - Marjorie Smith, Bureau Chief
Special Victim’s Bureau, Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Annual Meeting

William Spearance
The Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (CADVSA) recently held their annual meeting and awards ceremony at Vassar College. Awards were presented to William Spearance, former Coordinator of the Domestic Abuse Awareness Classes for Men Program at Family Services and former CADVSA Board of Directors member; and Kathleen Mannix, Administrative Judge at the Department of Labor and former CADVSA Board of Directors member. Special acknowledgments were also presented to John Penney, Editor, on behalf of the Poughkeepsie Journal, and Nilda Rivera of "Mark's Desserts by Nilda."

Nilda Rivera
This past April, Marks’ Desserts by Nilda distributed over 3,000 baked goods a week--including the company’s signature cookies, blondies, brownies, biscotti, and apple cakes--featuring labels with messages to raise awareness about sexual assault and where survivors can get help. Each label prominently displayed Family Services' Crime Victims Assistance Program’s 24-hour crime victims/rape crisis hotline (845-452-7272). April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Nilda Rivera, owner of Marks’ Desserts, volunteered her time and resources to bring this information to residents of Dutchess and surrounding counties. On October 19, Nilda was honored at the local Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault’s Annual Breakfast for her contribution to assist survivors and create awareness about violence against women in our community.

Article on triple homicide imbalanced

The following letter to the Editor, written by Leah Feldman, Project Coordinator, Universal Response to Domestic Violence, was published by the Poughkeepsie Journal on October 25, 2011.

After a tragedy such as the recent triple homicide in Westchester County, it is hard for family and friends to accept that their loved one could commit such a crime. It is far easier to point out victim flaws as a way of blaming the victim for the atrocities committed against her. We assume that the victim is to blame for what happened, or worse, that the victim deserved it.

The article "Westchester murder-suicide described; friends suggest wife's 'belittling' of husband played role," (Oct. 20) is an imbalanced article that does not take into consideration any perspective from the victim's family.

When a man kills his wife and children, why do we look for her faults? Why do we ask how she drove him to it? It is easy to say that the relationship was toxic. It is easy to say the victim had flaws. No matter the reality of their relationship, no matter the stimulus, there is no justification for homicide as a response.

While we do not know the reality of this couple's relationship, we do know that domestic violence is a pattern of power and control, and we do know that the ultimate control is taking someone's life. Domestic violence is an epidemic in our society, claiming the lives of many women and children. We must look to end this epidemic by holding people accountable for their actions, not by pointing fingers at the victim.

Leah Feldman

Project Coordinator, Universal Response to Domestic Violence

Monday, October 17, 2011

Help Us Provide Thanksgiving to Ulster County Families

Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine, USA 2008Image via Wikipedia

The Family Education Program of Family Services provides home and group-based parent education to families in Ulster County. We have many traditions that we share with families and one tradition that is very important to us is to make a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the families we work with. The entire staff of our program cooks traditional Thanksgiving dishes as well as some of our own secret family recipes. It is our way of acknowledging the day to day struggles our clients face and providing them with a nurturing experience that they may not have the resources to create for themselves.
This year we do not have the funds in our budget to purchase the items we need for this event. We are asking our neighbors, friends, local business owners, and corporations to donate a little something for our dinner. The items we need are as follows:
Green beans (canned or frozen)
Stove Top Stuffing Mix
Canned yams
Fresh potatoes
Pie Crust
Gift cards to grocery stores are also welcome to help us purchase spices, appetizers and condiments. Please consider making a donation this year so that we can continue this fun and nurturing Family Education tradition. For more information or to make a donation please contact Denise Parent at 845-331-5641 x221.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Family Services Congratulates Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford, VP of Family Services will tonight receive yet another award for her exemplary service.  The 2007 recipient of NYS NASW Social Worker of the Year Award, and the 2008 Ulster Community College Hall of Famer, will be recognized tonight by the YWCA of Ulster County Tribute to Women Celebration.

Joan is being recognized in the category of Advocacy for Women for her many years of service, dedication and contributions to her community.  Joan is a principal in Hope’s Fund and has worked tirelessly to improve policies and services for vulnerable populations, with a particular emphasis on women's rights.

Thank you, Joan, for all you do to provide hope, improve lives and strengthen community.  You truly make Family Services proud!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Celebrate Family Day Today!

More than a decade of research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has consistently found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse's Family Day- A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children, which is sponsored by Stouffer's, is a national movement launched in 2001 that promotes the parental engagement fostered during frequent family dinners as a simple, effective way to prevent substance abuse in kids.  Family Day  will be celebrated across the country today, September 26, 2011.

To learn more about Family Day and to join parents all across America in taking the Family Day STAR pledge, log on to  To learn more about the book How to Raise A Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents, visit

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Shop for a Cause" shopping passes are here!

We have received the Shop for a Cause shopping passes and are ready to sell them. Please remember that you can sell them to your friends and family members so they can also receive the discounts.  Family Services' will receive 100% of the proceeds from every shopping pass that we sell! 

Find the magic of giving back, as Macy's celebrates a national day of support for our community.  Purchase a $5 Shopping Pass* for exclusive savings in every Macy's store and online at on Saturday, August 27th, and Family Services will keep 100% of the proceeds.  Plus, you can enter to win a $500 Macy's Gift Card.
To purchase a Shopping Pass please contact Jean Calyer at 845-452-1110 x3133,, or Hope Shoemaker at 845-452-1110 x3408,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day of Service by IBM Employees Helps the Family Partnership Center

As part of IBM's Celebration of Service, designed to allow employees, retirees, clients and business partners to donate their time and expertise during the company's Centennial year, 300,000 IBMers around the world-- close to three quarters of its global workforce- are volunteering in more than 5,000 projects in 120 countries, meeting civic and societal challenges and serving millions in need.

Today, over 50 IBMers are volunteering their time and services to help spruce up the Family Partnership Center!  We are so pleased and grateful for IBM's support!

Revving up the power tools!

Painting the auditorium

Working on an Annex walkway.

Freshening up the front of the Family Partnership Center.

The IBM team sprucing up the Annex backyard!

 Representing FSI at the IBM Kick-Off event: (l-r) Dave Sollenberger,
Jean Calyer, Susan West, Hope Shoemaker, John Festa

Monday, June 13, 2011

Shop For A Cause to Support Family Services!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Since 2006, Macy's Shop For A Cause Event has partnered with non-profit organizations nationwide to raise more than $38 million for their ongoing charitable efforts. This is your chance to be part of this monumental event on Saturday, August 27, 2011.

Shop For A Cause gives you the opportunity to give back to your community and to help our organization. Purchase a $5 Shopping Pass* for exclusive savings in every Macy's store and online at on Saturday, August 27th, and Family Services will keep 100% of the proceeds.  Plus, you can enter to win a $500 Macy's Gift Card.

Find the magic of giving back, as Macy's celebrates a national day of support for our community.  To purchase a Shopping Pass please contact Jean Calyer at 845-452-1110 x3133,, or Hope Shoemaker at 845-452-1110 x3408,

*Some exclusions and restrictions apply. 

Important Health Insurance Information

HHS to Reduce Premiums, Make it Easier for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions to Get Health Insurance

     The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced new steps to reduce premiums and make it easier for Americans to enroll in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. Premiums for the Federally-administered Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) will drop as much as 40 percent in 18 States, and eligibility standards will be eased in 23 States and the District of Columbia to ensure more Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable health insurance. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan was created under the Affordable Care Act and serves as a bridge to 2014 when insurers will no longer be allowed to deny coverage to people with any pre-existing condition, like cancer, diabetes, and asthma. 
     To further enhance the program, beginning this fall, HHS will begin paying agents and brokers for successfully connecting eligible people with the PCIP program. HHS is also working with insurers to notify people about the PCIP option in their State when their application for health insurance is denied.
The program covers a broad range of health benefits and is designed as a bridge for people with pre-existing conditions who cannot obtain health insurance coverage in today’s private insurance market. In 2014, all Americans – regardless of their health status – will have access to affordable coverage either through their employer or through new competitive marketplaces called Exchanges, and insurers will be prohibited from charging more or denying coverage to anyone based on their health status.
For more information, including eligibility, plan benefits and rates, as well as information on how to apply, visit and click on “Find Your State.” Then select your State from a map of the United States or from the drop-down menu. To find a chart showing changes to PCIP premiums in the States with Federally-administered PCIP programs, visit
The PCIP Call Center is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time. Call toll-free 1-866-717-5826 (TTY 1-866-561-1604).    A HHS press release regarding the PCIP changes can be found here:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Celebrate Family Day September 26th!

Dinner Makes A Difference

More than a decade of research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has consistently found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse's Family Day- A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children, which is sponsored by Stouffer's, is a national movement launched in 2001 that promotes the parental engagement fostered during frequent family dinners as a simple, effective way to prevent substance abuse in kids.  Family Day  will be celebrated across the country on Monday, September 26, 2011.

To learn more about Family Day and to join parents all across America in taking the Family Day STAR pledge, log on to  To learn more about the book How to Raise A Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents, visit

Friday, May 27, 2011

Coming Soon: 2011 Annual Prevention Conference

Please consider attending the 2011 Annual Prevention Conference, “Where We Stand, 2011.”  The conference is being held on June 16, 2011 from 8:00am - 1:30pm.  Sponsored by the Ulster Prevention Council, SUNY Ulster, Ulster County Dept. of Mental Health, Ulster County Dept. of Health, the Office of Community Research and the Mid-Hudson Prevention Resource Center, this year's conference will use a new approach to releasing results from the 2010 Youth Development Survey (YDS).  The YDS was administered to all 7th-12th graders in each of the 9 Ulster County School districts.

The conference will bring together key stakeholders from schools, agencies, local government, faith-based and youth-serving organizations to continue to provide a venue where participants will actively learn how to promote protective factors and reduce risk factors for children and youth in Ulster. Networking opportunities are built into the conference and will allow each attendee to connect with experts in the field and access a multitude of professional resources.

Conference attendees will be provided with powerful prevention 'tool kits.' Each tool kit will offer community leader’s evidence based strategies for building local capacity and resources to support community development around prevention.  Breakfast and Lunch are included.  For more information please contact Cheryl DePaolo, Director of the Ulster Prevention Council, at 845-458-7406.

Please click on this link to register:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Recycled Bike Giveaway!

On Friday, June 3rd from 3:30-4:30pm 
Family Services' Youth Services Department 
is having a recycled bike giveaway! 

With the help of an amazing volunteer the youth in our Teen Resource Activity Center Program have refurbished used bikes and will be giving them away to people who need them. If you are interested in a bike for you or your child please pick up an application at Family Services' Youth Services Department, Suite 109, 29 North Hamilton Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.  Completed applications are due back in Suite 109 by May 27th.  All applicants will be informed by June 1st if they have been selected to receive a bike.  Please note:  All minors receiving a bike must be accompanied by an adult.

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Diane Labenski, Director of Youth Services, at 845-452-1110 x3170 or via email at:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

There's Still Time to Vote!

Family Services' own Dennis Dean of the Teen Resource Activity Center (TRAC) and Family Services' Board Member Tree Arrington are both nominated for their volunteerism in the community!  Dennis has told us that if he wins the award he will donate his cash prize to the TRAC Program!!!

The United Way of Dutchess County and Hands On! The Hudson Valley are inviting the entire community to participate in choosing an awardee of the Spirit of Dutchess County Awards through an online nomination and voting process. Each year the United Way recognizes champions who exemplify the very spirit of volunteerism. This year, one will be chosen by you, the community. Four additional awards, determined by a jury, will also be made. United Way will also grant $1,000 to the Dutchess County 501(3)(c) organization of the awardees choice that is helping making our county a better place in which to live.
Please take a moment and vote

Dept of Labor Report: Women's Employment During the Recovery

Link to full report

In 2010, women represented 46.7 percent of the United States labor force, a slightly larger share than at the start of the recession in 2007. Overall 71.9 million women were employed or looking for work, representing 58.6 percent of all women aged 16 and over.

As the overall workforce has become more diverse, so have working women. Among women in the labor force, 13.1 percent are black, 4.7 percent are Asian and 12.8 percent are of Hispanic ethnicity. Along all racial groups, men are more likely to be employed than are women, however black women are almost as likely as black men to be employed — a fact that reflects the lower likelihood of black men working compared to other men. The gender gap is widest among Hispanics — as Hispanic men are more likely than other men to be employed, while Hispanic women are less likely than other women to be employed.
Women are nearly twice as likely as men to work part time. In 2010, 26.6 percent of women worked part time compared to just 13.4 percent of men. More women are currently working part-time than were doing so prior to the recession, reflecting the increase in women working part-time because they can't find full-time work. One in five women working part-time are doing so because they can't find full-time work. Prior to the recession, less than one in ten women working part-time were doing so because they couldn't find full-time work.

Women are nearly 50 percent more likely to work in the public sector than are men with 18.2 percent of employed women working in public sector jobs. Despite this high concentration in a heavily unionized sector — 36.2 percent of those working in the public sector are members of unions compared to 6.9 percent of those in the private sector — women are less likely to belong to a union than are men. In 2010, 11.1 percent of women were union members, compared to 12.6 percent of men.1
Women are less likely to be self-employed, only 5.5 percent, compared to 8.3 percent of men.2 However, women-owned businesses are growing rapidly. According to the most recent Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners (2007), the number of women-owned businesses grew by 20.1 percent between 2002 and 2007, compared to 5.5 percent for men-owned firms. In 2007, the Census counted 7.8 million women-owned business, representing 28.7 percent of all nonfarm businesses in the US.

Women surpass men in educational attainment. Among the employed ages 25 and over, 37.1 percent of women have at least a bachelor's degree compared to 34.9 percent of men. Because women are less likely than men to be in the workforce, female college graduates are still outnumbered by male college graduates in the labor force. However, women with a bachelor's degree outnumber men by 1.6 million in the population as a whole and women are a growing share of college graduates. As such, women college graduates are likely to outnumber male college graduates in the labor force in the near future.

Half of all women working as full-time wage and salary workers earned $669 or more per week in 2010. This median weekly wage was 81.2 percent of that earned by men. Asian women earned the most among women in 2010 — with half of all Asian women earning $778 or more. Hispanic women earned the least, with half of all Hispanic women earning $508 or more per week (and thus half earning less).
The unemployment rate averaged 8.6 percent among women in 2010. Data for March 2011 shows that the economic situation is improving for women, who have seen their unemployment rate decline to 8.3 percent.

However, while the private sector has added 1.7 million jobs over the past 12 months, the public sector has lost nearly 400,000. Since women are disproportionately likely to work in the public sector, their unemployment decline has been smaller than that experienced by men. The unemployment rate for men averaged 10.5 percent in 2010 and has declined to 9.3 percent in March 2011. However women continue to have a lower unemployment rate than men, are less likely to be long-term unemployed, and have a median duration of unemployment that was 1.9 weeks shorter than men's in 2010.


1Union membership refers to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union. However, some workers are represented by unions despite not belonging to a union themselves. In 2010, 12.4 percent of women and 13.8 percent of men were either union or employee association members or workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract.
2Self-employed refer to self-employed workers whose businesses are unincorporated.

Nonprofit Advocacy Efforts

Sue West, President
From the desk of Sue West

What can a government bureaucrat from Connecticut say that would make a room full of NY nonprofit leaders envious?

No, this isn’t one of those light bulb jokes.

Last Friday, Deb Heinrich told the Dutchess County Coalition of Nonprofits about her work as Nonprofit Liaison to Connecticut’s Governor Daniel Malloy. She’s out to change the way Connecticut does business with nonprofits. She wants the state to change from an adversarial “they’re only out to get money from us” posture to a partnership, working together to serve.

What does that mean?

In Connecticut, that means Heinrich has a cabinet-level position representing nonprofits, ensuring that the interests of the people we serve are at the table when money is being cut during these difficult economic times. According to Heinrich it also means some practical money and time saving changes for nonprofits like standardizing and simplifying state contracts and reporting requirements, and redefining how services are delivered. It means breaking down state agency silos so that data can be collected across agencies and analyzed in ways useful for decision making. And, it means community planning to prioritize needs and shape a shared vision for service delivery.

Heinrich has only been in her job since January, but she’s been making things happen in the nonprofit sector for several years as a legislator before taking on this new role. Both the governor and the nonprofits have confidence in her.

So, how about NY? During questions and comments, Representative Mark Molinaro encouraged those of us in the audience Friday to contribute our thoughts to Governor Cuomo’s SAGE Commission. The Spending and Government Efficiency Commission is the governor’s vehicle for introducing change. Not quite the same focus, but we should take advantage of any opportunity we have.  Governor Cuomo's SAGE Commission has been tasked with improving the efficiency and quality of government services.  They have just launched a website through which the public is invited to make suggestions:<> .  Please share your ideas with the Commission!

I’m getting my thoughts together. How about you?

All the best,

Dutchess County Fair Housing Survey

At the beginning of May, Dutchess County and the City of Poughkeepsie Community Development Programs released a community survey related to fair housing issues.  The survey is available at the link below.  It includes questions about traditional fair housing concerns (such as racial and ethnic discrimination) and “fair housing choice.”  Fair housing choice is about making sure people have a variety of housing choices available to them throughout the community. 

This survey is totally anonymous and should take about 10 minutes.The survey will be open until Monday, May 23, 2011.  If you have any questions, please contact Beth Doyle, Community Development Administrator at (845) 486-3600 or  Thank you for your assistance.

Survey link:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Paul Robeson Presentation A Great Success!

Thanks to all who attended the Paul Robeson: An American Life presentation presented by the Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library on May 7th.

Guest enjoying the reception (L-R) Olive Douglas, Violet Mazah, Marie Tarver, Terri LeRoy
Co-Director of Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Libray Odell Winfield with Tony Mitchelson, who read his inspirational poetry at the event.
Actor Michael Monasterial of Passing the Torch Through The Arts giving a speech based on the life of Paul Robeson.
Our featured lecturer (left), Dr. Michael Morrison, with Rodney Douglas, Director of Poughkeepsie's New Day Repertory.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Join Us Today at the Unity March

Unity March to end domestic violence!  May 10, 2011

Domestic violence service providers in Dutchess County invite you to join us in unity.  We will take to streets of the City of Poughkeepsie to rally against domestic violence.  Please join us as we support all victim services and honor victims and survivors of domestic violence. Your commitment to join us will demonstrate our strength in numbers and dedication to ending the violence.

For more information please contact Leah Feldman, Project Coordinator, Universal Response to Domestic Violence, at 845-486-2335 or

Family Services Supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ulster County!

Family Services' staff bravely laced up their shoes and took to the lanes to help support our affiliate organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ulster County.  The Bowl for Kids Sake is an annual fundraising event for BBBS.

                      Left to right: Sasha Helton, Mike Coleman, Sue West, Anthony Lucky,                                            Jean Calyer,  Jessica Wallach, Doug & Tess Nostrand  

Since 1977, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ulster County has been helping children to reach their potential through professionally supported mentoring relationships. Many of us, if we think back to our youth, had an adult make an impact on our lives. Maybe you were a Little Brother/Little Sister yourself... maybe it was a coach, a teacher a pastor. It was the person who made you feel special and helped you on the path to adulthood. That’s what BBBS wants for these children.

For more information on BBBS and their events please call  (845) 338-0431 or visit their website at

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

GPS surveillance plan under review in Dutchess

Leah Feldman, Coordinator of the Universal Response to Domestic Violence, wrote the following opinion piece that was featured in the Poughkeepsie Journal on April 24, 2011.

Recent domestic violence homicides have prompted a community-wide effort to improve victim safety and offender accountability. As outlined in our October report to the Legislature, the Citizen's Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence has considered and recommended many different initiatives — including the GPS tracking of domestic violence offenders.

While GPS has been used successfully in locations other than New York, it has not been implemented in other than limited pilot projects in this state. Significant study and planning must be completed before GPS can be operational in Dutchess County. The committee is actively engaged in that task so that responsible recommendations can be made to the Legislature.

GPS can alert law enforcement agencies and victims whenever an offender enters a restricted zone. An electronic bracelet placed on the offender sends a signal to a computer allowing police to immediately contact the victim and also dispatch an officer to the location, buying a victim crucial time to find safety.

People assume that victims will enter a shelter if they are at risk. The reality is that there are obstacles for women entering shelters, and the forms of protection given by the system are limited. Under the current law, offenders are legally entitled to have bail set and work is under way to amend the law to allow a judge to consider the safety of a victim when considering bail. GPS tracking can provide constant offender monitoring when the accused is free after posting bail, thus allowing victims to be protected as they move about their lives.

On the surface, GPS surveillance seems like a no-brainer since it would help to enforce
the system's ability to protect a victim. Unfortunately, GPS monitoring is not always a cure-all, and implementation of the system takes extensive mobilization and resources from the community.

The technology itself presents loopholes that must be studied. These issues include the ability of the bracelets to detect offenders in the county's "no-service" zones. Use of GPS in more densely populated areas, where offenders may reside or work in closer proximity to victims, presents additional issues that must be understood prior to adoption of this new technology. Given the fact that use of this technology has no significant precedent in the State of New York, there are a multitude of legal and practical issues that must be identified and addressed before it can simply "happen."

Implementation of this system must address a process for training multiple law enforcement agencies and judges. It also needs to create a selection process to assure its deployment for appropriate offenders. We also must ensure that all community agencies are committed to use of the technology for the safe and effective implementation of the system.

Lastly, funding must be considered. Some of the costs included with the technology
are the bracelets themselves, the GPS servers and software, and the salaries for the people operating the computers 24/7.

We stand by our initial recommendation for GPS. Consideration, however, must be given to the multiple concerns that must be addressed before such a program is adopted. We are actively undertaking a comprehensive review to ensure that the plan can work, that it is affordable and that above all, it improves safety for victims. The committee, along with other local domestic violence organizations and representatives of the law enforcement community, is working to mobilize the community to explore and support this technology. The committee maintains constant contact with the county Legislature through its appointed liaison. Together we are actively working to change how the law and society treat domestic violence.

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Family Services is One of 23 Agencies in Nation Receiving Unique Grant


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) announced $6.9 million in awards to 23 projects in the Engaging Men in Preventing Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Grant Program (Engaging Men Grant Program).  This is the first time in the history of OVW that a grant program directly encourages men to be part of successful crime prevention efforts addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, and to become partners in creating respectful and positive relationships.

The Engaging Men Grant Program creates a unique opportunity for OVW to support public education campaigns and community organizations to encourage men and boys to work as allies with women and girls for preventing violence.

“All men play a critical role in preventing crimes against women and are important partners in our effort to address the full spectrum of these crimes,” said Susan B. Carbon, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women.  “These grants and the work of the grantees will provide the framework for extending and developing these partnerships across the country.”

The funded projects include non-profit non-governmental victim services agencies; non-profit community based agencies; state domestic violence or sexual assault coalitions; an institution of higher education; a unit of local government; a tribal coalition; and a tribal non-profit victim services agency.  These awards are part of OVW’s ongoing commitment to support gender and culturally specific education on healthy relationships and strengthen existing community outreach efforts to men and boys.  

The following 23 organizations received $300,000 :

·         Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (Juneau, Alaska)
·         Korean American Family Service Center Inc. (Los Angeles)
·         Peace Over Violence (Los Angeles)
·         Howard University (Washington, D.C.)
·         Tapestri Inc. (Tucker, Ga.)
·         Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence (Boise, Idaho)
·         Maine Boys to Men (Portland, Maine)
·         Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (Augusta, Maine)
·         Boston Public Health Commission (Boston)
·         Michigan Coalition Against DV and Sexual Assault (Okemos, Mich.)
·         Family & Children’s  Service (Minneapolis)
·         Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition (St. Paul, Minn.)
·         North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (Raleigh, N.C.)
·         North Dakota Council on Abused Women’s Services (Bismarck, N.D.)
·         Enlace Comunitario (Albuquerque, N.M.)
·         Family Services Inc. (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)
·         Retreat Inc. (East Hampton, N.Y.)
·         Vera House Inc., (Syracuse, N.Y.)
·         Klamath Crisis Center (Klamath Falls, Ore.)
·         White Buffalo Calf Woman Society Inc. (Mission, S.D.)
·         Migrant Clinicians Network Inc. (Austin, Texas)
·         Migrant Health Promotion Inc. (Weslaco, Texas)
·         Refugee Women’s Alliance (Seattle)
The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence against women through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and subsequent legislation.  Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. In addition to overseeing 21 federal grant programs, OVW often undertakes initiatives in response to special needs identified by communities facing acute challenges.

More information is available at .

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

There's still time to register for Walk A Mile in Her Shoes!

Family Services' Crime Victims Assistance Program’s first annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event will take place this Saturday (4/30) at 1PM at Marist College!  

Everyone is invited!  Help us raise awareness and support Crime Victims. You can register as an individual or a team.  We’ve got great prizes for walkers who bring in the most sponsorships.  If you don’t have a pair of heels, don’t worry we’ve got a pair of pink flip flops for you!
For more information or to register, go to

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Monday, April 18, 2011

It’s Your Turn to Make a Difference

Don't forget...April is Child Abuse Prevention month!

Amy Cole, Supervisor of the Family Education Program
There are so many things we can all do for the kids and families in our lives. Try this: make special time for children, really listen to what they have to say, support other parents who are struggling, acknowledge that parenting is tough work, and spend time with families in you neighborhood. You can even plant a Pinwheel Garden!  Pinwheels are a sign of happy, carefree childhoods and represent Child Abuse Prevention month.  Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we all participate in some way to strengthen our communities for the sake of our children, our future.  Raising happy, healthy children is a community effort that will pay off in amazing ways.  Let’s do it right the first time instead of trying to fix it later on!

To learn more, or to get some support as a parent, here are a few resources:  Family Services Family Education Program – Amy Cole 331-5641 x223;  The Parent Helpline – 1-800-CHILDREN (244-5373) every day from 9am to 10pm, a confidential line available in English and Spanish. 
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