Really, just how much shit should SE Queens have to deal with. The dumping of poisonous & polluting waste transfer stations like Royal Waste, the dumping of dozens of homeless shelters (many for single men), the dumping of methodone clinics and now this whole juvie “Close to Home” bullshit that are making a lot of people, especially with young children, nervous.
ENOUGH. Where are the damn so-called leaders of this community, when all this shit is being dumped. As usual nowhere to be found.
Now they are having a a community advisory committee meeting on the South Ozone Park location scheduled for June 23. BUT guess what, the meeting is schedule outside of South Ozone Park. Then how about putting that damn thing in that area.
BURN THE FUCKER TO THE GROUND!
From Queens Chronicle Mobile:
ACS risked safety of children, audit says
Stringer: Agency did not properly oversee ‘Close to Home’ program
The city’s Administration for Children’s Services risked the safety of hundreds of children by not properly overseeing the “Close to Home” initiative across the city, an audit released last Friday by city Comptroller Scott Stringer claims.
According to the audit, the ACS failed to reach out to children when they were first placed in the program, did not set up face-to-face meetings with parents and neglected to discuss serious incidents, such as assaults, at the facilities during monthly meetings with the children.
The agency allegedly also failed to properly track Close to Home vendors that did not comply with city regulations and failed to track whether those entities were carrying out corrective measures, the audit found.
“Every child in the Close To Home program deserves a chance to get back on the right track, but the Administration for Children’s Services mismanagement and hands-off approach to oversight is robbing them of that opportunity,” Stringer said in a prepared statement. “The leadership of ACS has abdicated its responsibility to provide oversight of this program by not holding Close to Home providers accountable. This agency must take immediate action to ensure these children get the services and care they need.”
Close to Home was initiated by the state in 2012 as a way to put juvenile offenders in residential settings closer to their families and communities rather than in upstate facilities. It has been a hot-button issue in South Ozone Park since last year when the ACS proposed moving 17 young offenders to 133-23 127 St., a building located on a residential block.
There are only three juveniles at the site right now.
Neighbors and community activists have protested the placement, and unsuccessfully sued to stop the opening, citing quality-of-life concerns. They have called the site a “prison,” though it is not officially one.
Stringer’s audit revealed the children already in the Close to Home program have been neglected by vendors and the agency.
The probe looked at children in the program during fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
In one instance, auditors found that only one out of nine children sampled by the Comptroller’s Office was reached out to by ACS via telephone within their first week in the program, as is required.
Auditors also found that one-third of mandatory meetings between the children and the agency did not take place every month, and when they did issues such as “assaults, altercations and AWOLs” at the facilities were not discussed.
The audit also found that the agency did not properly carry out or track site visits at the Close to Home facilities, citing a finding that showed two-thirds of unannounced visitations were not done in FY 2014.
When the visits were carried out, according to the audit, the ACS did not “review program requirements to assess whether children were benefiting from the programs, attending school, working, or less likely to commit crimes in the future.”
Lastly, the comptroller’s audit found that vendors with “consistent staffing, security, or operations issues … that put children or the community at risk” were not accurately tracked, with some on “heightened monitoring status” or “corrective action status” not appearing on a list provided to the auditors.
Additionally, the ACS allegedly told auditors that “no Close To Home providers were on corrective action status,” even though Boys Town had been placed on it 15 months earlier. It was a Boys Town-operated Close to Home facility, which has since been closed down, that three teenagers escaped from last year and raped an intoxicated woman in Chinatown, Manhattan.
The Comptroller’s Office recommended that the ACS carry out more stringent oversight of its vendors and ensure those enrolled in the program are reached out to as required.
The agency, in its response to the audit, said many of the recommendations made by Stringer’s Office are being implemented.
In other Close to Home news, a community advisory committee meeting on the South Ozone Park location has been scheduled for June 23.
The location of that meeting, 94-04 Linden Blvd., was criticized by Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton for being outside South Ozone Park.
“It’s telling that it’s outside the district of the councilman, outside of the district of the state senator, Assembly member and congressman,” Braton said.