News Release



For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

For Immediate Release

February 8, 1999


Dutchess County Invited to help lead State Conference

Poughkeepsie, NY-Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus is proud to announce Dutchess County's participation in the NYS Department of State's "Make the Connection" conference. The conference, which will be held Tuesday, February 9, 1999 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, will discuss the success of the New York State Family Development Training and Credentialing Program (FDC). FDC is a major state initiative that provides frontline workers in the Human services field with the skills and competencies they need to empower families to attain a healthy self reliance and interdependence with their communities.

The Dutchess County Department of Social Services has partnered with the Dutchess County Community Action Agency to receive a grant to train staff in FDC. "What makes this event so noteworthy is the fact we are the only county Social Services department in the state to take part in this program, which confirms our commitment and statewide leadership to make families self sufficient" said County Executive Steinhaus. "Our Commissioner of Social Services, Bob Allers, and his staff have been true trailblazers in this effort."

The FDC model teaches workers from the Department of Social Services and the Community Action Agency to help families by assessing their needs based on the family's strengths and by defining their goals together. The FDC will also provide an important career pathway into college for workers with little or no formal education. "Our workers provide a form of pro-active family counseling that tries to give the family a direction in which they can excel and eventually become self reliant enough not to need us," said Commissioner Allers. "We have literally changed the culture at Social Services to become an organization that is more interested in empowering families."

Allers has been selected to be a part of a panel discussion on the implementation of FDC principles and practices from a national, state and local perspective. Other panelists will include Allers local partner in the FDC program, Maureen Lashlee, Executive Director of the Dutchess County Action Agency, along with Evelyn Harris, director of the NYS Department of State division of Community Services, Alana Sweeney, the Executive Director of NYS Council on Children and Families and Christiann Dean, the Director of the Empowering Families Project at Cornell University among others. FDC was designed and developed by Cornell University.

The initial success of the program has led to the establishment 'of the Family Development Association of  New York State which will be introduced at the conference. "We are very gratified to be participating in such innovative solutions to welfare dependency,'' said Steinhaus. "It is an honor to be a invited to participant to the 'Make a Connection' conference."



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