2008-01-25 / Community

Smith Hosts Town Hall MeetingOn Local Problems

New York State Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith, who represents Rockaway in that body, recently held a town hall meeting at St. John's Baptist Church in Far Rockaway, on youth and family services.

The topics at the meeting included reforming the juvenile justice system, alternatives to detention, childcare growth and ensuring quality services, improving child welfare services and

improving linkages to community based organizations.

Commissioner Gladys Carrion of The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (NYS OCFS) and Commissioner John B. Mattingly of The New York City Administration for Children Services (NYC ACS) gave an overview of their respective agencies. The event was co-sponsored by Assemblywomen Audrey I. Pheffer and Michele Titus.

"This is one of the most sensitive and vital issues within my district," said Senator Smith. "I am committed to working with these agencies to educate the community as well as identifying available resources to better combat these issues."

More than 200 residents came out to the event, including various community organization leaders. Commissioner Carrion asked the community to play their part. "I am counting on all of you to support our initiatives and work with us to transform the Juvenile Justice System," said Carrion.

During the presentation made by Commissioner Mattingly, he made note of their basic ideology, "no child in this city that we as a community know of, should have to suffer abuse and neglect alone." The Commissioner went on to say, "No family that we know, who wants and will accept help to keep their children safe as a family should go without that help."

The town hall meetings are a part of a series of similar forums discussing issues affecting the communities within

Senator Smith's district. The next event will be on February 21, 2008 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It will be an overview of New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and will be attended by Commissioner Deborah Van Amerogen.

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