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Editorial: Nassau County Cuts Funding for YFCA Leaving The Most Vulnerable Affected

Barbara Rakusin, Youth and Family Counseling Agency of Oyster Bay-East Norwich (YFCA), informed the newspaper that YFCA received a letter from Nassau County Youth Board which terminates their contract effective July 6, 2012. 

She said, “The letter states that ‘The fiscal stability plan developed by the county executive, in conjunction with Nassau County Legislature and NIFA is presently stalled before the legislature.  The resulting impasse has forced the county into the position of having to make changes in funding to service contracts.”  The letter goes on to say that “This decision is in no way reflective of the quality of your work.”

Ms. Rakusin said, “The loss of this funding will have serious impact on our programming.” 

At immediate risk are their summer programs: the YFCA Summer Experience which provides summer activities for children ages 10 to 18 with cultural, education and recreational experiences in a healthy, safe and drug-free environment; and the Parent Child Home Program (PCHP) – a summer program which provides a twice-weekly summer play group experience for toddlers along with a support group for parents.  The summer program is an extension of the PCHP which provides early childhood enrichment and language development for children ages 2 and 3; as well as services provided by the PCHP during the school year.

Ms. Rakusin said, “The cuts may further result in the reduction of professional staff which will necessitate further cuts to our year-round programming and services including: mental health counseling for children and adults, substance abuse treatment for teens and adults, emergency assistance to families in need and crisis intervention.

“In the nonprofit world we are frequently asked to do more with less.  At a certain point small agencies who are vital to the communities we serve are not able to do more and the result is cuts in services to those whom we are so dedicated and privileged to serve. It is our hope that the financial and political issues in Nassau County are quickly resolved and that funding will be restored to provide services to the most vulnerable and at-risk members of our community.”

The Enterprise Pilot adds its voice to that of Ms. Rakusin in asking that Nassau County get its house in order. It is not an easy task but we hope it will not be solved on the backs of those most in need of help.

The work of the YFCA is supported by the Community Foundation of Oyster Bay (CFOB) which raises funds through its Annual Garden Party. CFOB board president Joseph Donohue spoke to guests, thanking those who brought canned goods as party donations. He said of the truckload of donations to be distributed by YFCA, “They will be consumed within three miles of this house.”

In the midst of great wealth there are still people in great need.                

- DFK