Council encouraged to support Division for Youth Services

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POUGHKEEPSIE – A public hearing on Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison’s proposal to create a Division for Youth Services within city government drew several proponents of the plan to Tuesday’s meeting.

Rolison announced the plan in late August, saying, “We need to have a stronger and more coordinated presence within our city government structure when it comes to youth services and all the things that are part of helping a family and children develop in our community.”

The plan already had the support of Councilmembers Chris Petsas, Natasha Cherry, and Yvonne Flowers.  

Tuesday’s speakers encouraged the remaining lawmakers to get on board and move the plan to reality.  Brian Doyle, the CEO of Family Services Inc., said the plan “compliments the county’s Path to Promise,” adding that “The future of the city is the youth that we serve today.”

Former Dutchess County Legislator Mario Johnson has been working with the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet to bring this initiative to fruition.  

“The council needs to wholeheartedly get behind this proposal,” Johnson said, encouraging councilmembers Sarah Salem, Sarah Brannen, Evan Menist, Randall Johnson (absent), and Sakima McClinton to approve the plan when it comes to a vote.  “We have to work with community organizations to expand their programs for kids while trying to get more kids involved.”

Rolison and Poughkeepsie School Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser both reiterated their support for the plan of their design.  Rolison was also pleased with the turnout from the community that spoke in favor of the proposal.  “I think they realize the importance of this,” Rolison told Mid-Hudson News.

The Division for Youth Services calls for a centralized department designed to coordinate all of the services available to help children and their families, according to Rolison.