Skip to main content

Molinaro Announces County’s “Path to Promise” Change Team
Local stakeholders will guide County’s innovative action plan for youth success

Published: 2/23/2018

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie … Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro launched Phase II of Dutchess County’s “Path to Promise” initiative with a kickoff meeting for members of the County’s “Path to Promise” Change Team – community stakeholders who will work with County officials to guide Dutchess County Government’s plan for empowering local youth, helping them achieve their potential. The nine-member group met earlier this week to begin the “Project Planning and Management” phase, the second of two phases of the “Path to Promise” initiative.

Announced by County Executive Molinaro during his 2017 State of the County address, the “Path to Promise” is a comprehensive analysis of existing youth services, as well as duplication or gaps in service, and the development of an innovative youth empowerment action plan to ensure every child in Dutchess County has equal access to assets that will lead to his or her success. The Change Team will provide structure and guidance for the plan, from development to implementation.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Our greatest chance to effect long-lasting positive change throughout our community is to provide every child the capability to make choices from which they’ll benefit – a Path to Promise. I thank the dedicated men and women of our Change Team, who have agreed to share their time, energy and passion to assure our future generations flourish. This is a collaborative body that will bring about meaningful change, and I look forward to their contributions toward this dynamic plan.”

In 2017, Dutchess County engaged the nationally renowned Public Consultant Group (PCG) Human Services to assess youth services throughout Dutchess County – both public and private – and create an innovative framework for helping local children reach their potential. Dutchess County will use this framework to compare the County’s needs to current activities in the community, helping the County and community better understand the areas and age groups with the most resources, as well as which areas need additional investment.

The Change Team, which will meet regularly throughout 2018 and guide the process, consists of:

  • Chris Baiano, Assistant County Executive;
  • Sabrina Jaar Marzouka, Commissioner, Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services (DCFS);
  • Mary Ellen Still, Director, Dutchess County Office of Probation and Community Corrections;
  • Michelle Dancey, Pastor, In Christ United Church;
  • Renee Fillette, PhD, Chief Operating Officer, Astor Services for Families & Children;
  • Michael J. Love, Executive Director, Hudson Valley Community Center;
  • Jessica McGee, Psychologist, Arlington Central School District;
  • Louise McLoughlin, Executive Director, Dutchess Workforce Investment Board, and Youth Bureau Coordinating Council Board Member; and
  • Marisol Rodriguez, Executive Director, Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley.

Dutchess County Government annually spends more than $58 million on youth services mandated by the state and federal government; these include significant investments in early education and early intervention. In addition to those mandated costs, the County invests an additional $4 million on youth development “discretionary services,” such as child care, teen parent supports, education, employment, and drug awareness programs; most of these services are contracted through community agencies.

Commissioner Marzouka said, “As part of our ‘Path to Promise’ analysis, we will identify the assets that any child – from birth through age 19 – need to achieve their full potential as they grow into young adults. Just as importantly, we will determine what gaps exist, which may influence the direction of future funding.”

Completed in December 2017, the initial phase of the “Path to Promise” involved PCG’s extensive assessment of all youth services provided by Dutchess County Government, including organizational charts, budgets, performance or outcome reports, as well as interviews with personnel from the various departments that provide youth services including the Departments of Behavioral & Community Health, Probation & Community Corrections, Planning and Development, as well as DCFS.  PCG reviewed how the departments share information and collaborate, identified strengths and weaknesses in the current system, as well as duplication or gaps in services.

The second phase, which will continue through summer 2018, includes:

  • surveying families and community-based providers to collect and analyze data;
  • convening focus groups throughout Dutchess County to collect further data and community input;
  • creating maps highlighting population densities, and risk and protective factors, as well as a map of services available by region; and
  • analyzing areas of strength and further opportunity.

There will be extensive public outreach throughout the process as the community is asked to share information about what services exist, who is served, how well the needs of the community are met, and where new services may be needed. In fall 2018, Dutchess County Government will assemble a youth summit, which will corroborate findings and recommendations while engaging local youth and seek their input.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Over the next few years, as today’s children who embark on the ‘Path to Promise’ grow into young men and women, they will not be the only ones to benefit from this plan. They will become mentors who can guide the next generation along their path.”

The “Path to Promise” is one of several initiatives County Executive Molinaro will discuss during the 2018 State of the County address, which will be held on Wednesday, February 28th at 5 p.m. at Culinary Institute of America’s Marriott Pavilion, located at 1946 Campus Drive in Hyde Park. Residents can RSVP for the State of the County address at or by calling (845) 486-2000.