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Letter: Preserve TeenTalk Outreach Program

Shari Shapiro, Executive Director of Kids in Crisis, urges New Canaan residents to speak up about proposed cuts to counseling program at New Canaan High School.

Dear Editor,

I wanted to inform you of an unfortunate decision made last night by the New Canaan Finance Board. 

The decision was made to reduce the budget of the TeenTalk Outreach Counselor at New Canaan High School by 50%—a shocking turn of events in the wake of Newtown, when the need for mental health services among adolescents is apparent now more than ever.

The decision to cut $25,000 has in effect eliminated the program entirely for the 2013-2014 school year, since the program model is predicated on service provided to New Canaan children and families, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Crisis does not make an appointment; the TeenTalk Outreach Counselor is available full-time during school hours, and additional support is provided by the TeenTalk Counselor and Kids in Crisis after-hours.

Ed Milton, MSW, has served as TeenTalk Counselor at NCHS since 2006. Over the course of his service at NCHS, Ed has met with more than 1,100 students for regular counseling – and this number does not include the number of students he worked with through school-wide events, activities, and presentations.

This Kids in Crisis program has saved lives at NCHS. Yet, the town leadership in New Canaan has chosen to cut this effective, long-running, proven program.

I ask you to take action and share that you are unhappy with the decision to cut TeenTalk from NCHS by contacting the following:

Robert Mallozzi, First Selectman, at 203-594-3000 or Robert.Mallozzi@newcanaanct.gov

Board of Finance at BOFDistribution@NewCanaanCT.gov

Carol McDonald, Director of Social Services, at 594-3076 or Carol.mcdonald@newcanaanct.gov


Thank you for your support,

Shari Shapiro
Executive Director, Kids in Crisis
Cos Cob

Great Good March 14, 2013 at 05:05 PM
The Health and Human Services Department makes the decision on which agencies get how much funding. Why was not one of the employees from that agency in attendance at the Board of Finance meeting on Tuesday night to explain why that agency's funding was cut in half? Furthermore, if that program cannot be run half funded, shouldn't they have know that before they recommended that only half be funded? There is a March 19th Board of Selectman meeting - why not start the process for a special appropriation to cover the additional $25K of funding needed for Kids in Crisis.
Marc R. March 15, 2013 at 03:29 AM
A petition was just started to have this decision overturned. It can be found at https://www.change.org/petitions/new-canaan-finance-board-new-canaan-ct-overturn-decision-to-cut-funding-for-the-teentalk-outreach-counselor
Jane Himmel March 15, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Bravo to Michael DeMattia, a recent graduate of NCHS, for taking this on. He recognizes the importance of mental health services to students and is standing up on behalf of his alma mater by starting this petition.
Alan Haas March 20, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Fortunately, a solution has been found right there in the Health and Human Services budget. Once again, it takes a village to care for its own. Thanks to Bob Mallozzi for stepping up and finding a way.
Alan Haas March 20, 2013 at 12:31 PM
It takes a village to care for its own. Thanks for stepping up to the plate once again, Mr. Mallozzi.

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