To The Editor:
The date: December 2013.
The place: Oswego County Legislative Chambers
The event: Oswego County Legislative monthly meeting
The issue: The Oswego County 2014 Budget Public Hearing
One of the main budget items was the elimination of YAP (the Youth Advocacy Program) that was a supportive program working with the families of students at risk. The program was being replaced in a cost-cutting measure.
The savings at that time was proposed at $200K (after state and federal
During that meeting I was a newly-elected (not yet seated) Oswego County
Legislator and I had the pleasure to speak to the sitting legislative body about the cutting of the YAP program. In my speech I addressed the fact that if the legislative body followed through with cutting the YAP program that the saving of $200k would wind up costing them in the long-run.
I let them know that the children in this program didn’t deal well with change and they would act out.
The date: August 2016.
The place: Pulaski courthouse
The event: Monthly Legislative meeting
The issue: The increase in Foster Care costs.
Foster care costs for 2014 were $1.6 million and in 2015 it was $2.1 million.
In 2016 the $2.3 million budgeted for foster care has already been used and there is need of another $2.5 million in anticipated costs.
During that meeting I informed the chairman that I was going to be voting in
favor of the resolution with an explanation.
We have failed these children in a major way. The spending of the money for the Foster Care Program was spending money on our failure.
Here is where Oswego County’s version of : What came first, the Chicken or the Egg?
Do we need the money for Foster Care because we have a second Family Court Judge?
Do we need the second Family Court Judge because we have more children going into the Foster Care Program?
Now according to Majority Leader Shane Broadwell, the Family Court Judge and the use of the Foster Care Program are working. I agree with him but that isn’t the issue.
Now let’s turn the lights on please or answer the question of what came first: The need for more money because we have a second Family Court Judge or because we have more children in family court?
If we dealt with the problems these families and children have, we wouldn’t need a second Family Court Judge or more money for the Foster Care Program.
Now many of our different programs (Schools, DSS, OCO, Catholic Family Charities) have received many accolades.
I have to ask if they are doing such a good job why have the number of children appearing in Family Court increased causing an increase in court costs and foster care costs?
I say these programs and the Oswego County Legislature have failed these families.
Remember children become adults. They are our future.
We need to get back to a supportive system to help decrease the number of
families appearing in front of the Family Court judges.
This will decrease our costs.
It will increase our graduation rates. It may decrease our unemployment rates. It may decrease our number of families dependent on public assistance.
Frank Castiglia Jr.
Oswego County Legislator 25th District