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Molinaro’s 2022 Executive Budget Expands Opportunities for Dutchess County Youth
Expansion of Youth Advocate Program and Families First Court, Youth Opportunity Union Development Among Budget Proposal Highlights

Published: 10/20/2021

Poughkeepsie, NY … After hosting several nationally acclaimed leaders in youth services to discuss Dutchess County’s innovative “Path to Promise” and future countywide youth center, County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced his 2022 Executive Budget, which will be released on Wednesday, Oct. 27th, continues the County’s commitment to local young people, advancing the successful programs that have benefited children throughout the community, while funding new and innovative initiatives to expand opportunities for youth to develop and grow into successful adults.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County is committed to serving our kids, and my 2022 Executive Budget builds on our successes – continuing to serve children and families, making a meaningful impact in their lives. We will broaden the effective programs that have made positive impacts on our children’s lives and offer new, innovative strategies to benefit young people throughout Dutchess County. Every child deserves an opportunity to succeed, and we will do all we can to help them along their Path to Promise.” 

Late last week, County Executive Molinaro, City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison and other local leaders recently hosted Geoffrey Canada, founder and President of the nationally renowned Harlem Children's Zone, as well as Paul Reville, Faculty Director at the Education Redesign Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, to discuss their interest in collaborating on the County’s innovative "Path to Promise" (P2P) and meet stakeholders in the forthcoming Youth Opportunity Union (YOU).

Following the County’s purchase of the former YMCA site at 35 Montgomery Street in the City of Poughkeepsie earlier this year, and the planned construction of the YOU on the site as the hub of the Dutchess County’s “Path to Promise,” which strives to provide all youth ages 0-19 the necessary assets to become successful young adults, the DCFS will continue its momentum to advance the initiative and play a vital role in the YOU’s planning and development.

To bolster the County’s “Path to Promise,” and in preparation of the forthcoming YOU, in 2022 DCFS will offer Positive Youth Development Training for staff of local agencies that provide services to youth. Additionally, the Department will develop a data analytics platform to track and analyze data pertaining to “Path to Promise” domains – Learning, Material Basics, Safety, Physical Health, Mental Health, Family/Social Relationships – and performance indicators which will assist the County in making educated funding decisions for current and future programs and services.

Introduced as part of County Executive Molinaro’s “Dutchess Invests” initiative in June 2021, the Learn, Play, Create: Supporting Our Kids grant program has awarded more than $2.5 million to local non-profit athletic and arts organizations that directly serve children and families adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as libraries. The program will continue in 2022 with an additional $500,000 to support libraries, and the 2022 Executive Budget offers various other services and initiatives that benefit children, including, among others:

●    Implementation of the City Connects program, an Integrated Student Supports Pilot project to be conducted with the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet, the Poughkeepsie City School District and the Hyde Park School District;
●    Expansion of DCFS’ evidence-based Youth Advocate Program (YAP), which provides at-risk young people ages 12-18 with a mentor or advocate who connects them to resources and helps them gain independent living skills; 
●    Expanded participation in the Families First Court Initiative, a multi-disciplinary, court-based project designed to reduce the use of congregate care for adolescents and their families involved in child protection cases;
●    Conducting public outreach events about the YOU’s development and planning to gain input about possible programming that will emanate from the center;
●    Development of a network of resources for those with disabilities, or their family members, who are living with substance use disorder to find treatment for their addiction;
●    Continued investment in the successful “Think Ahead” program, a collaboration with Dutchess Community College, which provides job and life skills to qualified students with intellectual and developmental disabilities while enjoying a complete college experience;
●    Simplification of foster care enrollment and application process, which currently certifies and tracks foster homes through a paper filing system, requiring a staff member to be physically present in the DCFS office to access foster and adoptive files; and
●    Designation of a Case Manager to serve as a Foster Parent Liaison to facilitate communication and training that supports foster families.

County Executive Molinaro will present his 2022 Executive Budget Address on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 11 a.m. at the Dutchess Community College Aviation Center at Hudson Valley Regional Airport in Wappinger, in advance of the Nov. 1 deadline required by the Dutchess County Administrative Code. The County Executive’s Budget Address can be viewed live on the County’s website, dutchessny.gov.

Later that evening, at 5:30 p.m., County Executive Molinaro and Budget Director Jessica White will host a countywide tele-town hall forum when residents will have the opportunity to participate in a live conversation about the 2022 County Budget, learn key details, ask questions and share feedback.

Earlier this week, County Executive Molinaro began his series of town hall meetings throughout the County, discussing his proposed budget with residents and answering their questions. The series of public forums on the following dates:

Tonight, Oct. 20th
Wilcox Memorial Town Hall
6 p.m.
20 Wilcox Circle, Milan

Tuesday, Nov. 9th
East Fishkill Town Hall 
6 p.m.
330 Route 376, Hopewell Junction