Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet Makes Changes

POUGHKEEPSIE -The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet announced that — upon becoming City of Poughkeepsie Mayor in January — Marc Nelson will also replace outgoing Mayor Rob Rolison as co-chair of the Cabinet with Poughkeepsie City School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser.

Rolison will stay on the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet in his new role as the New York State Senator representing the City of Poughkeepsie.

Dr. Rosser and Mayor Rolison formed the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet in February 2020 to create a citywide “cradle-to-career” agenda for children, youth and families. Children’s cabinets are used by localities around the country to bring together school districts, government agencies, child-serving community organizations and other local stakeholders to improve their ability to collaborate and coordinate youth supports and services.

“We are so grateful not only to Mayor Rolison, but members of the Cabinet’s Executive Committee and their respective organizations who have stood by this effort for almost 3 years now,” said Dr. Rosser. “Even as individuals have transitioned out of roles — like Mayor Rolison is doing — their organizations and their replacements have supported seamless transitions. We see this as a testament to all of the hard work that has gone into solidifying the Cabinet’s role as the essential leader and coordinator among city organizations and area institutions to harness our resources and work in lock step to improve the lives of children and families.”

Members of  the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet at their meeting at The Academy in December.
Members of the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet at their meeting at The Academy in December.

Among its other accomplishments in 2022, the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet released two unprecedented reports that provide in-depth analysis of Early Childhood Development and Out-of-School Enrichment and Learning in the city and make a series of recommendations to improve opportunities for children and families.

To date, recommendations from the Working Group process have helped shape the creation of the City of Poughkeepsie’s new Division of Youth Opportunity & Development; informed the development of the school district’s community schools framework; and helped prompt a $200,000 increase in philanthropic funding to local nonprofits for Summer 2022 programs.

Another impactful focus of the Cabinet in 2022 has been the development of a “Fiscal Map” for the City of Poughkeepsie. With funding support from the Poughkeepsie Alliance, the Cabinet partnered with the national nonprofit Children’s Funding Project (CFP). Together, the Cabinet and CFP have been working with a wide range of government/public partners and nonprofits to comprehensively map the public and private funding streams that support youth programs and services. The information learned will help stakeholders better align existing resources, identify coverage gaps, and make informed strategic financing decisions moving forward. The completed Fiscal Map will be published online as an interactive, public report in early 2023.

These early achievements have laid a strong foundation for the Cabinet’s ongoing partnership with the world-renowned Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). A team of consultants from HCZ’s William Julius Wilson Institute is working intensively with Cabinet staff and stakeholders to craft a strategic plan for the implementation of a comprehensive cradle-to-career system in Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County.

All of the Cabinet’s work has not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year, Mayor Rolison and Dr. Rosser were asked to make a presentation about the Cabinet to the New York State Board of Regents in Albany. “The level of engagement the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet has achieved in its city is empowering and transformative in its scope,” State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said.

Rolison said, “Creating the Children’s Cabinet with Dr. Rosser has been one of my most important endeavors as mayor. The way our city’s organizations and providers have come together on behalf of our youth and families is inspiring and a model I’m excited to promote in my new role in the State Senate. I’m thrilled to be remaining on the Cabinet as a State Senator and look forward to helping the Cabinet’s continued work as it more fully implements its modelof positive change through collaboration and coordination.”

Nelson said, “It’s my privilege to be given this extraordinary opportunity to co-chair the Children’s Cabinet. The city has worked hard to improve youth opportunities, including starting and then greatly bolstering grants to youth-related organizations and creating a Youth Director position. The Cabinet has been instrumental in our efforts, and I look forward to having a significant and more visible role in 2023.”

Other changes involving the Executive Committee are:
Incoming County Executive Bill O’Neil filling the seat of Marcus Molinaro, who has been elected to Congress.

Family Services Inc. Chief Executive Officer Leah Feldman filling the seat of Brian Doyle, who has retired.

Natasha Brown, recently appointed Chairperson of City of Poughkeepsie Common Council, and also serving the Cabinet in her role as Community Schools Executive Director, Poughkeepsie City School District

Thomas O’Neill, recently appointed Poughkeepsie City School District Board of Education President.

In addition, Dr. Livia Santiago-Rosado, Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health, is joining the Cabinet.

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