OSWEGO, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ County legislators are moving forward with a citizens’ advisory group that will enhance communication between the public and the Department of Social Services.
At Wednesday’s meeting of the County Health Committee, legislators agreed to enlist the aid of the Center for Government Research (CGR), a consulting firm based in Rochester.
The various community agencies and stakeholders together will work to improve communications between Child Protective Services and the public, explained County Administrator Phil Church.
“The group will improve interactions among all the agencies that deal with children to improve Child Protective Services,” he said.
That includes not just the county but law enforcement agencies, the schools, the medical community, non-profit agencies and others, he said.
“CGR will be in charge of that process to bring everybody together, develop the council and how it will operate,” Church said.
The council will report to either the health committee of chair of the legislature.
“I reviewed the CGR proposal, and I believe they will give us the framework we need to get a good council base so that we then can carry it on,” said Frances Lanigan, DSS commissioner. “This is something definitely that the chairman of the legislature charged us to go forward and develop as a response to the need to have that community interaction the county administrator has indicated. I am confident that with that kind of framework being set in place, it will be successful in being carried forward.”
Committee chair Jack Proud said he was also familiar with CGR’s work.
“They took us through an entire process and then prepared a report that set up recommendations for us to follow that we are still using as a basis for county planning,” he said of his previous experience with the firm. “That was an excellent piece of work and I certainly expect to receive something of similar quality from CGR this time as well.”
Legislator Margaret Kastler asked if CGR would give the county a timeframe to get the group together and then step aside.
“The proposal is laid out such as there will be a steering committee and then the chairman of the legislature, the county administrator, myself and whoever the chairman may determine at that point, will decide what is the expectation (of the council), giving the charge to the committee so that the committee knows where they’re going, what they’re going to be expected to do,” Lanigan explained. “Then, they will develop their mission and operating protocols.”
“Once we have the plan in motion, we are pretty much going to be handling things on our own,” Proud added.