more than just a castle, it’s the story behind it.
This castle was built by a group of teenagers as part of their assignment in their building trades class. They donated the finished product to a local Head Start program. They’ve also built large decorative sleds which were sold to help raise money for a local scholarship fund.
What makes their effort significant is the teens are all residents at the Tryon youth detention facility in Johnstown, NY. The youths, like others at state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) facilities, attend half a dozen academic classes and a physical education class to obtain their GED. It’s not the story you’ve been hearing about our juvenile justice system in New York, but it’s time you did.
The governor has proposed closing or downsizing three youth facilities including the boys limited-secure facility at Tryon and the Lansing non-secure facility in Tompkins County, and consolidating the Annsville non-secure facility with Taberg limited-secure facility in Oneida County.
The New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) represents the teachers, youth counselors and medical and mental-health care professionals at these facilities. Our members have dedicated their careers to helping troubled youths become productive members of society.
PEF supports the governor’s proposal to add medical and mental health services and improve staff-to-resident ratios, but closing facilities is a disservice to the youths and their communities.
OCFS facilities provide opportunities for youths who have done wrong things to start doing right things. True story; and there are many more.
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