For 30 years, Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center has counseled teenagers in the Bronx and Manhattan on avoiding the trappings of drugs.In Harlem, Our Children’s Foundation has served countless children over the last 47 years through tutoring, dance classes and other activities in a free after-school program, shielding them from drug dealers.Similarly, in Chinatown, Project Reach has done its part to keep youths off the streets since 1971 — like the other groups, a beneficiary of state funds.But the programs — and at least a dozen similar ones across New York City — are now imperiled after they failed to make it past a state agency’s new grant-award process that several nonprofit leaders described as cumbersome and confusing. The agency, the New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, known as Oasas, is recommending that several longtime groups be defunded, Susan Craig, a spokeswoman for the agency, said.The losses may force some of the programs to close. Mount Sinai had been receiving more than $700,000 annually for its two sites, and Our Children’s Foundation had been getting $914,000 a year, according to Oasas. Project Reach had been awarded $331,000, the group’s director said.
The new grant-award process arose from a directive by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, for all state agencies to assess contracts to make sure they were competitively bid and, in the case of Oasas, were providing “evidence-based” curriculum approved by the agency, Ms. Craig said.
The new Cuomo bidding process and the scoring for it was non-transparent, opaque and nonsensical:
A lack of transparency and what several nonprofit leaders described as an unfair bidding process drove Felecia Pullen, who heads Substance Abuse Free Environment in Harlem, to pull together the groups that lost financing to compare notes.Representatives of the nonprofits grew emotional at the thought of closing after decades or of leaving children without services. They complained of being blindsided by the new bidding process, and not understanding how their groups were scored.Mount Sinai, one of the larger operations to lose the money, submitted identical applications for two different sites and received two different scores, Michael Nembhard, a social worker at the adolescent health center, said.He said the group had a debriefing with Oasas to find out what had happened. “They really didn’t know what happened,” Mr. Nembhard said. “We basically didn’t learn anything from the debriefing.”
Two identical applications for different sites for the same operation got different scores - that makes sense.
No, actually it doesn't.
This new Cuomo bidding process sounds a lot like the new Cuomo teacher evaluation, doesn't it?
But wait - it gets even better.
Turns out the Cuomo bidding process privileged operations that worked with youth during school hours and passed over operations that work with youth after school hours - because kids with substance abuse problems are always in school, you know?
Ms. Pullen said it appeared to her that Oasas favored larger operations, and was trying to deliver services to youths during school hours, not after school. “Youths who are into drugs are not in school on a regular basis,” said Ms. Pullen, who is a former addict. “They have walked away from groups that have been entrenched in the community.”The real problem here is, the operations that are being harmed by the new Cuomo process do some real good:
Indeed, some of the grants, according to a list obtained by The New York Times from someone who disagreed with the state’s choices, were awarded to the city’s Education Department and the education departments of the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Jailene Batista, 17, said she learned about the program through a counselor at Queens Satellite High School. She said she did not know what she would do if the program closed, adding that her afternoons had consisted of being outside and watching fights before she entered the program. “Now that I’ve been in this program, I lost a lot of friends, but it’s probably for the better,” she said.The youths appeared to make new friends within the program, and some of the parents in the program said they had also grown close, sharing parenting tips and leaning on each other.Deborah Garnes, 47, said the program helped her be a better parent to her 18-year-old daughter, one of her eight children. She said she learned “every child is different; the discipline is different.”Ms. Garnes said her daughter had been smoking marijuana and cigarettes, but quit both after participating in the program.Mr. Blake said former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo had inspired him to create V.I.P. He recalled that Mr. Cuomo used to talk about how working in his father’s grocery store in Jamaica, Queens, kept him out of trouble.V.I.P. provides its participants with internships in the neighborhood. Mr. Blake said it was ironic that the program would be shuttering under Mr. Cuomo’s son.“I really feel terrible for the children,” Mr. Blake said. “Watching them over the years has been absolutely rewarding.” He added, “This program has survived four governors.”
More mindless destruction from the sociopath in Albany - and to what end?