Families upset Youth Advocate Program eliminated from Oswego DSS budget

The Kinter family says YAP helped their family bond and become closer.

Due to budget cuts, the Youth Advocate Program known as YAP has been eliminated from Oswego County's Department of Social Services budget for 2014.

Before YAP intervened, Carla Kinter described her home as chaos.

"They didn't listen. They pretty much ran the house. Dylan would destroy it if he didn't get his way. Shane would stomp his feet and scream that he hates me," says Kinter.

YAP taught Kinter and her two sons Dylan, 9, and Shane, 10, how to deal with conflict.

"It helped me do stuff I had never done before like scream into the pillow, or go outside and sit or run around," says Dylan Kinter.

YAP has been is Oswego County for more than 15 years and each year serves more than a hundred families, typically the most vulnerable, high risk members of the community.

For the Department of Social Services Commissioner, Gregg Heffner, it was a difficult but necessary move after determining it was costing more than $17,000 per family each year.

"Thats astronomical and it costs more than some of our therapeutic services which have licensed, masters level social workers attached to them," says Heffner.

Since the recent announcement, YAP's program director, Stacie Roberts, has been receiving calls from distressed families, worried about what they will do without the program.

"We would really like to know what is next for our families. Emotions are high right now. We're not really sure what to tell families and what the next step is," says Roberts.

Case workers will take on YAP's workload, but even the commissioner admits they won't be able to dedicate the same amount of time to families.

"Will the case workers be spending 5 to 20 hours a week with families? Of course not, that's not going to happen. But I'm not convinced that YAP spends that amount of time with families," says Heffner.

For Oswego County families like the Kinters, a potentially life changing service will no longer be available starting January 1, 2014.