Mt. Pleasant Officials Should Work With JCCA, Not Make Threats

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Regarding last week’s article, “Fulgenzi: ‘We’ll Be Fighting’ JCCA Over Migrants; Threatens Lawsuit,” at JCCA, we aim to provide New York’s children with the highest-quality child welfare and mental health services possible. It’s a lofty goal, but in our 200-year history, the work has always been worth it.

Nothing about what we do is easy. The clients we serve often struggle with profound trauma and require substantial care. The staff at our residential facility in Mount Pleasant work tirelessly to support young people experiencing some of the most challenging circumstances of their lives. We do this because we believe every child deserves a safe, enriching and supportive environment.

This vital work is made immeasurably more complicated by the erratic statements and actions of Town of Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi. Mr. Fulgenzi, in a piece run by this paper, issued a series of outlandish and inaccurate claims about our operation that left us baffled. Among them was the insistence that installing new countertops in our residences was somehow incontrovertible evidence that we would soon welcome migrant families from New York City to our campus.

Let me set the record straight: JCCA is not licensed to, and will not, provide any care for adults or families with children. However, we are licensed to provide services to unaccompanied children. It is public record that JCCA has contracted with the federal government since 2017 to provide such services.

JCCA stands ready to enlist the town as full and equal partners in solving the real problems that arise from serving young people with acute mental health needs – problems we have been candid about. We’ve invited the supervisor and town representatives to tour our campus multiple times. We regret that they have yet to accept.

Still, we believe in the principles of collaboration and transparency, and we welcome the opportunity to host any official from the Town of Mount Pleasant to ​​learn more about the young people we serve and the wonderful work we do.

Everyone who lives, works or worships in this community pays the price for leadership more interested in politics than solving local problems. Mr. Fulgenzi talks about “fighting” and “litigation” but rarely mentions working together. And that says more than any letter ever could.

Ronald E. Richter
Ronald E. Richter is the CEO of JCCA and has dedicated his career to serving children and families with compassion and respect.

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