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Building Bridges Conference Fosters Community Cooperation

Published: 10/11/2019

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Colleen Pillus


Poughkeepsie… County Executive Marc Molinaro today welcomed approximately 140 educators, school administrators, guidance counselors, case managers, and social workers, as well as more than 20 partner agencies, to the 11th annual Building Bridges Conference at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. Co-hosted by the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) and Marist College’s School of Social & Behavioral Sciences, the conference is designed to enhance relationships between schools and the community, as well as inform educators of community resources for dealing with trauma, reducing the risk of criminogenic behaviors, intervention services, and restorative justice programs for troubled youth.

County Executive Molinaro said, “It is so important that we give our children the best possible chance to succeed. The Building Bridges Conference is just one of the ways Dutchess County continues to make connections, stomps out the stigma of mental illness, and helps encourage cooperation and the sharing of innovative ideas. We are grateful to have so many educators and community agencies committed to helping the children and young adults they interact with every day reach their fullest potential.”

The full-day conference included panel discussions on restorative justice practices as they relate to schools and the system of care for youth in Dutchess, as well as a networking information fair with more than 20 community providers and agencies, including Dutchess County’s DBCH, the Department of Community and Family Services (DCFS), and the Office of Probation and Community Corrections.

DBCH Commissioner A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH, said, “This conference has grown into an extremely important community resource. It began over 10 years ago as a small networking event, but now it’s critical to fostering collaboration. This conference highlights the importance of the programs and services that are available to help protect the safety and well-being of the community. I want to thank everyone for attending and making this year’s event a great success.”