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Youth Villages participates in forum on effective help for families

March 15, 2011

Matthew Stone, Youth Villages Massachusetts state manager, participated as a panelist and spoke about the benefits of Youth Villages’ programs during a summer forum sponsored by The Boston Foundation.

The forum, titled “The Utility of Trouble: Maximizing the Value of Our Human Services Dollars,” brought people together to better understand how to bring innovation to the human services sector.

Featured speakers included Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, who presented research findings on the importance of changing the way human services are delivered. Sana Fadel, director of public policy at Rosie’s Place, also presented findings demonstrating the importance of family preservation and reunification, and described the work of the Strengthening Families Coalition that is keeping families together.

Her words set the stage for the ensuing panel discussion.

Vice-chair of the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee Barbara L’Italien believes the state needs to consider long-term solutions to the budget crisis as it relates to human services. Fitchburg State College Associate Professor Christine Shane acknowledged that Massachusetts is in the middle of a crisis, and that change, while difficult, is necessary. Shane praised Youth Villages as an innovative program and model for keeping families together. Department of Children and Families Commissioner Angelo McClain spoke next, and noted that DCF has been shifting money and attention toward in-home care. Stone spoke about the need to further pursue intensive in-home programs that save taxpayers money while improving outcomes.

The event, moderated by Marylou Sudders, president and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, was an opportunity for presenters and panelists to highlight some of the innovative approaches that can be taken by the human services sector to reduce state spending without sacrificing progress and success.

Youth Villages’ approach was well received by the audience and panelists alike, and the forum is proud to be a catalyst for continued focus on these issues.

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