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Oneida County Family Court Children’s Centers Closing

John Moore, Getty Images

Utica, NY (WIBX) – Due to a significant cut to the YWCA of the Mohawk Valley for funding of the children’s centers at family court in Utica and Rome, the centers will close at the end of June, YWCA Executive Director Natalie Brown announced today.

The centers provided a place for children, infants to age 12, to stay while their parents appeared in family court, Brown said. It prevented children from sitting through ‘harmful testimony’, she said.

“They would have childcare, there would be snacks for them and there would be acitivities, including reading. [The kids] were given a book when they left, they were allowed to pick a book. So, it was also promoting literacy and also providing referrals for family members for different services in the community,” Brown said.

Funding for┬áthe Unifed Court System was cut in the recently passed state budget and resulted in a nearly 50-percent reduction in the funding the YWCA received to operate the program. More than 90-percent of the program’s funding came from the Unified Court System, Brown said.

“We would be unable to continue to offer the quaility we offered in the program with the cut we were given,” she said.

The service is discontinued at the end of June, four employees of the YWCA will be laid off, Brown said, calling it a ‘very difficult decision’.

“The Unifed Court System has assured us they are committed to selecting another entity to provide these needed services for family court in Oneida County,” Brown said.

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