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Griffo Blames Bad Policy Decisions For OCFS Problems

Sandy Huffaker, Getty Images

Taberg, NY (WIBX) - State Senator Joseph Griffo is calling on State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner, Gladys Carrion, to take “swift and effective action” to stop the physical abuse of staff by youth, sentenced to the agency’s Residential Center in Taberg. Griffo said, “These are physically and emotionally draining jobs at all times, so to put these individuals in situations where they have to not only deal with the on-going challenges but to suffer injuries as a result of interactions, that is a serious situation and it has to be addressed and rectified.”

He says 18 out of 33 Youth Division Aides are currently out of work due to severe injuries that include two broken collarbones, a concussion, a broken ankle and a dislocated shoulder. Griffo says the situation presents a clear danger to remaining staff, left to cover for those on the injury list.

Susan Steele, Assistant Director of Communication with OCFS says the safety of staff and residents is the agency’s primary concern. However, she added, “Contrary to some of the claims being made, the injuries that have been identified were actually sustained during the course of employing restraints and they have not resulted from assaults by youths.”

Steele says in light of the issues that have been occurring at the Taberg facility, OCFS has deployed senior managers and staff from its regional and home offices to provide additional training and support. “And we will continue to provide our staff there with increased training and resources to address the complex, behavioral, and psychological  needs of the residents who require comprehensive mental health and treatment services,” she said. Griffo says he blames the bad policy decisions put in place by Commissioner Carrion, whom he called, “a left-over from a prior administration,” and says the deteriorating situation at Taberg OCFS clearly shows that it’s time to “clean house and restore order.”

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