Ed Day, Rockland County Executive


September 12, 2016

Contact:  Jane Lerner (845) 638-5645 (Rockland County)

                   Scott Salotto (845) 627-4705 (Rockland BOCES)




Federal funding will enhance successful program that provides a continuum of school-based, mental health and social services to Rockland County’s at-risk youth


NEW CITY, NY -- Rockland County Executive Ed Day joined with District Attorney Thomas Zugibe and Rockland BOCES Chief Operating Officer Mary Jean Marsico today to announce that the county has been awarded a $4 million from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to enhance the Rockland County Partnership for Safe Youth.

The grant will enable the county and its partners to expand the efforts to keep young people out of the criminal justice system, said County Executive Day.

“As a former law enforcement officer, I know there is nothing more heartbreaking than to see a young person who has made a mistake enter into the system,” Day said. “Often that is the start of a life spent in courts and in prison – not at work and not at home with family. We want better. “

The competitive grant award is a testament to the hard work of the county, its departments and its partners, including the District Attorney and BOCES.


District Attorney Zugibe said, “This Funding will allow the Partnership and the broader Rockland County System of Care to expand mental health and recovery support services to children and youth facing emotional and social challenges and their families. In less than two years, this collaboration has changed lives by keeping at-risk youth out of the criminal justice system, building strengths, promoting success, safety and permanency in home, school and the community. The infusion of $4 million will allow us to continue this critical mission for years to come.”

Dr. Marsico of Rockland BOCES said, “As a result of this grant award, the Partnership for Safe Youth will more effectively provide services and linkages to other System of Care providers by using the wraparound model to expand the continuum of care. There is no limit to what we can achieve by working together to help our youth.”

According to the grant, the County of Rockland will focus on capacity building and sustainability through an expansive training program, including a strong “train-the-trainers” component and engage the County’s extensive network of community partners, mental health practitioners, State-level commitment and stakeholders in support of the greater System of Care.  The goal is to provide broader services to these young people and their families to support their health/mental health, increase high school graduations, reduce hospitalizations, lower foster care placements and lessen the number of Rockland County youth involved with the juvenile/criminal justice system.

Funding will also support achievement of the following infrastructure and service goals and objectives: increasing cooperation, coordination and integration at the administrative and service delivery levels; employing a comprehensive planning process that values the inclusion of youth, families and a broad base of service providers; incorporating culturally competent practices while addressing the issue of disproportionate minority representation; implementing mechanisms to sustain youth and family participation.

In 2013, Rockland County’s Multi-Agency Collaboration for Safe and Healthy Youth (MACSHY) was convened and led by District Attorney Zugibe to bring together the leadership of the Departments of Social Services, Probation, Mental Health and Rockland BOCES (serving all local school districts) to identify and address the needs of children/youth through the age of 21. District Attorney Zugibe tasked MACSHY with building a sustainable infrastructure of services to support youth with serious emotional disturbances, and their families, by coordinating more effective information sharing and service delivery. The goal of MACSHY was to provide these “wraparound” services to improve outcomes for children and reduce involvement in the juvenile/criminal justice system.

MACSHY follows the System of Care (SOC) philosophy by providing an array of community-based, culturally and linguistically competent services. The vision and focus remain on how better coordination can wrap needed services and supports around children and youth and their families.

A major milestone in the MACSHY initiative came in June, 2015 with the official launch of the Partnership For Safe Youth, a program designed to enhance the effectiveness and productivity of services for local at-risk youth and their families. The centerpiece of the first-of-its-kind county/school collaboration is the Center for Safe Youth, a one-stop location for needs assessment, as well as school support, mental health and social services and juvenile justice-related services, including family preservation, for struggling youth in Rockland County. The Center is located within the Rockland BOCES Educational Resource Center (BERC) on North Midland Avenue in Nyack.

Through this collaboration between the County of Rockland and Rockland BOCES, the Partnership For Safe Youth provides integrated assessment, as well as school-based services, mental health and social services to at-risk youth with multi-faceted needs between the ages of 10 and 18.  Once issues are identified, an interdisciplinary team staffed by trained personnel from the County departments of Social Services, Mental Health and Probation and Rockland BOCES work directly with the youth and their family and school district to address their unique needs.

In each case, staff from the four agencies work together to determine what support is needed. This coordinated process keeps all service providers informed and involved.  Additionally, family members are engaged, allowing progress to continue when the Partnership is no longer in the picture.

By offering a continuum of educational and social services, mental health care and counseling in one location, the Center for Safe and Healthy Youth aims to improve outcomes for youth.  By providing students with continuity of care and the ability to address multiple issues, the Partnership for Safe Youth team prevents these issues from deteriorating into more serious concerns.

The Center for Safe and Healthy Youth team recognizes that working with the youth and their families in school, rather than in an office setting, maximizes success.  As such, the wraparound program provides a diversity of services within the youth’s everyday environment.

The Rockland County Partnership for Safe Youth is overseen by an Executive Committee led by District Attorney Zugibe in collaboration with the Commissioners of Social Services and Mental Health, the Probation Director and the BOCES C.O.O. Marsico to ensure the original mission of MACSHY continues in an effective and qualitative manner.

Current salary funding for the Partnership for Safe Youth Director is split between Rockland BOCES, the Rockland County District Attorney and the Department of Social Services. 


(pictured left to right: Rockland County Executive Ed Day, Rockland Commissioner of Mental Health Michael Leitzes, Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, Rockland BOCES COO Mary Jean Marsico)