Youth Recreation Programs Could Be In Jeopardy
Published: January 27th, 2009
By: Melissa deCordova

NORWICH – Chenango County Youth Bureau Director Kathryn J. Clemens expressed concern that a proposed state funding formula linking the bureau to the county’s Social Services department may lead to the end of every recreation program offered to youths.

New York State Governor David Paterson has proposed linking bureau funding with a Youth Programs Block Grant for the social services department. Specifically, mandated funding for juvenile detention could be consolidated with non-mandated funding for Big Brother Big Sister, school-based counseling via Catholic Charities, an aquatic training program with the Norwich Family YMCA, the Oxford Youth Center, and all recreational programs.

“Pitting mandated programs against non-mandated programs, which is what the governor has done through the block grant, is impossible,” Clemens said.

The legislature is currently reviewing all of the governor’s proposals which already include a 24 percent state cut to social services programs.

Clemens said she had been in conversation with Chenango County DSS Commissioner Bette Osborne to come up with “creative ways” to continue to offer the youth programs.

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