More than a dozen organizations from around Warren County have come together to form a new coalition to help parents work through the challenges of parenting at a time when many need assistance more than ever.
The Warren County Y-ReCONNECTS Parent Ambassador Coalition began assisting families in recent weeks, working to channel parents to resources that can help them and their children overcome obstacles.
Overseen by the Warren County Probation Department and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County, the coalition takes referrals for assistance from anyone who knows a parent in need of help.
“There is a big need for these services, and they are available for anyone who needs them,” said Robert Iusi, Warren County probation director. “There is a lot of pressure on parents and children right now, and we hope these resources can help provide support that is needed to get over the barriers that parents and their children may encounter.”
In October of 2020, Warren County, through an organization known as the Warren County Community of Practice consortium that includes the Warren County Probation Department, became one of three counties awarded a three-year, $100,000 grant for a parenting assistance program through Cornell University and New York State Developmental Disabilities Council.
The Probation Department contracted with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County to oversee the program and coordinate services.
The grant was offered through an organization known as Y-ReCONNECTS, whose mission is to foster the use of innovative, collaborative approaches to support the successful community reentry of justice-involved youth and young adult by creating a “community of practice” team. Using opportunity, networking, navigation, education, collaboration and transition support, Y-ReCONNECTS emphasizes collaboration across systems to effectively support at-risk and justice-involved youth.
“Working closely with support from Cornell University, one of the goals of the Warren County Community of Practice was to develop and implement the Parent Ambassador Coalition to help parents who may not know where to go for assistance,” said program coordinator Amy Secor, a Warren County Probation supervisor who oversees the agency’s Juvenile Justice Unit. “Parent volunteers help us work with the families that are referred to the program, and more volunteers are needed.”
Among the local partners that have joined the coalition are Behavioral Health Services North; Community Maternity Services; Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in Warren and Washington counties; Council for Prevention; Mediation Matters; and KKC Cares Family Support.
Parents of youth previously involved in the justice system as well as a youth who was previously involved in the justice system are also assisting the program.
In addition to beginning their work with families in need, coalition members earlier this year distributed school supplies to those in need at Schoolapalooza in Glens Falls.
Those seeking more information about the coalition, to make a referral or wishing to volunteer can contact Roxanne Westcott, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County Community Educator, at email@example.com or 518-668-4881 or Amy Secor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-761-6444.