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Expansion of Family and Medical Leave Act proposed

Twenty years after Congress enacted the Family and Medical Leave Act, the law continues to evolve. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., wants to be part of that evolution. She said Friday that she would help lead the effort to get Congress to pass a ...
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State Answers Call for Investigation into Erie County Child Protective Services

Five-year-old Eain Clayton Brooks was murdered last week on Buffalo’s West Side. Family members say they reported abuse to CPS on several occasions, but apparently no actions were taken after they determined the complaints were unfounded.

Kennedy called on the state Office of Children and Family Services to investigate Erie County CPS.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Last week, following the tragic death of five-year-old Eain Clayton Brooks, Senator Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, called on the state Office of Children and Family Services to investigate Erie County Child Protective Services and conduct a full-scale review of procedures put in place to protect children’s safety. Late Wednesday, OCFS Commissioner Gladys Carrión responded to Kennedy’s request and informed him that the state is launching an investigation to ensure Erie County has the proper protections in place to keep children safe.

“My heart goes out to Eain’s family. His death was an absolutely unthinkable tragedy. It’s intolerable here in Erie County or anywhere else in New York State,” Senator Kennedy said. “We must take action to prevent these circumstances from ever happening again.”

“I’m pleased the state is using its authority to thoroughly investigate Child Protective Services in Erie County and is now taking further steps to protect the safety of our children,” Kennedy added. “Protecting children and families must be our highest priority, and the state’s aggressive response to our call for a comprehensive investigation shows New York State is serious about keeping our children safe. These are important and long-needed actions to root out child abuse in Erie County and across the state. We must never rest until we can ensure each and every child in Western New York and New York State is kept safe from harm.”

Specifically, Commissioner Carrión said her office would be reviewing all open CPS cases, as well as reviewing the next 200 cases prior to them being closed to ensure Erie County has conducted a thorough investigation into each case.

“First we are conducting an immediate safety assessment on all open CPS cases to establish that the proper protections are in place to safeguard the children involved,” wrote Commissioner Carrión in her letter to Senator Kennedy. “In addition, we will be reviewing the next 200 cases prior to Erie County CPS making a determination that a case can be closed in order to assess whether the investigation was thoroughly conducted and that the conclusion is sound.”

Commissioner Carrión also informed Senator Kennedy that the state has suspended Erie County’s use of the Family Assessment Response (FAR), an alternative CPS response to traditional methods. The FAR model was found to be seriously flawed following the death of 10-year-old Abdifatah Mohamud in Buffalo.

OCFS will also be completing a fatality report, which is required by law, to address “issues including the cause of death of the child, child protective or other services provided to the child and his or her family and the actions taken by the local social services district since the death of the child was reported,” Carrión explained.

Kennedy is encouraging the state to make its findings public after they complete their investigation into Erie County CPS.

You can review Commissioner Carrión’s full response by clicking this link.

You can read Senator Kennedy's initial call for a comprehensive state investigation here: http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/senator-kennedy-calls-comprehensive-state-investigation-death-eain-clayton-brooks-and-

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Senator Timothy M. Kennedy represents the New York State Senate’s 63rd District, which is comprised of the town of Cheektowaga, the city of Lackawanna and nearly all of the city of Buffalo. More information is available at http://kennedy.nysenate.gov.

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Today’s Public Good Radio Show

Tuesday, September 24th on the Public Good: Karima Amin of Prisoners Are People Too will provide an update on the fight for better conditions at the Erie County Holding Center. Tune in today at 1pm at WUFO 1080 AM or www.WUFOAM.com
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Senator Kennedy Calls for Investigation

Senator Tim Kennedy, called on the state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to investigate the tragic murder of five-year-old Eain Clayton Brooks, who was beaten to death earlier this week at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend Matthew Kuzdzal on Buffalo’s West Side.
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Senator Kennedy, University at Buffalo Present School Supplies to Highgate Heights Elementary

UB held university-wide school supply drive to benefit schools throughout Western New York.  

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Senator Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, joined officials from the University at Buffalo and Councilmember Bonnie Russell’s office to present new school supplies – which were gathered during a university-wide school supply drive – to students and teachers at Highgate Heights Elementary School in Buffalo.

As part of Highgate Heights’ Back to School event last week, Senator Kennedy and UB officials helped students, teachers and their families celebrate the start of the new school year by dropping off a large volume and wide assortment of needed supplies.

“Across Buffalo and Western New York, students have returned to school to study hard and learn new skills,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “Our classrooms are filled once again, and our teachers are working harder than ever to help our children learn difficult subjects with ease. This donation of school supplies from the University at Buffalo could not come at a better time. It will help ensure students have the supplies they need, so they can focus on their studies, not on whether or not they’ll have a pencil or paper for class. Thank you to UB’s students, faculty, staff and administration for your generosity, and good luck to the students and teachers at Highgate and all local schools in the year ahead.”

University District Councilmember Bonnie Russell, whose district includes Highgate Heights Elementary, added, “The donation of needed school supplies by the faculty, staff and students from UB is a great boost for the students and families of Highgate Heights. For many families this generosity represents one less challenge they have to face as the school year begins and allows them to focus on their studies.”    

Linwood Roberts, of UB’s Office of Community Relations, said, “This is the fifth year we have done this at the University, and the thoughtfulness and kindness of our faculty and staff never ceases to amaze. It is a great pleasure to be part of bringing needed tools for our schools’ youth. This is our largest collection to date. Thanks to the Office of Community Relations, for coordinating this annual event, and thank you to the over 30 departments participating within the University, to name a few: Office of the Provost, Office of the President, University Libraries, Minority Faculty Staff Association, and Educational Collaboration and Engagement.”

Over the course of several weeks, at sites on the North, South and Downtown campuses, UB students, faculty and staff donated school supplies to benefit schools throughout Western New York. This year, in addition to Highgate Heights Elementary, UB will be distributing supplies to Futures Academy, Aloma D. Johnson Charter School, Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute and Westminster Community Charter School.

Overall, the University collected over 22,000 items, including more than 600 markers, over 800 pens, more than 1,000 pencils, and thousands of index cards and sheets of paper. They more than tripled last year’s drive – which made it UB’s largest school supply drive ever.

Highgate Heights began a partnership, last year, with the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood to have an array of academic and social supports embedded in the school. The continuum of supports provided by partners such as Read to Succeed, Talent Development Secondary, AmeriCorps, and Closing the Gap/Say Yes to Education are focused on supporting identified needs within the school and community. More recently, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood was selected to implement a Restart Model, adding even more resources to enhance and embrace the already existing initiatives. Highgate Heights is a school on the rise, and the teachers, students and administrators deserve credit for their hard work. 

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Senator Timothy M. Kennedy represents the New York State Senate’s 63rd District, which is comprised of the towns of Cheektowaga, the city of Lackawanna and nearly all of the city of Buffalo. More information is available at http://kennedy.nysenate.gov.

 

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