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.
Enhanced by Zemanta

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!