The $560 million in taxpayer money spent on First Lady Chirlane McCray’s ThriveNYC program hasn’t adequately addressed the need for mental-health services in the city — which actually “worsened” over the past year, The Post has learned.
The bombshell finding by the city Health Department was revealed in a draft report that was reviewed last week during a meeting of the department’s advisory Community Service Board.
“We are seeing consistently high demand for high needs services including rates of suicide,” the report says.
“We need to engage in a process with state partners to expand our portfolio of services and better address the needs of New Yorkers.”
Despite McCray’s claims of transparency regarding her embattled mental-health program, City Hall refused to release a copy of the Health Department report.
But a source provided The Post with details, including the report’s conclusion that during the past year, “Mental health service needs have worsened, as have substance use disorder needs, and developmentally disabled needs.”
The report blames the situation for a long-term increase in emergency room visits by mentally ill people who face “barriers to appropriate and relevant community care.”
ThriveNYC has spent $2 million on a program called NYC Safe, which is supposed to pair cops with health-care workers to help steer homeless and mentally ill people into treatment so they don’t wind up in the hospital.
One member of the Community Service Board, Primary Care Development Corp. director Louise Cohen, was alarmed by the report’s findings.
“The level of unmet service needs has worsened in all categories over the last year. I thought that was striking,” she said.
During last week’s board meeting, Deputy Health Commissioner Hillary Kunins downplayed the data.
“Happens every year,” she said.
Kunins also claimed that “increasing demand is, I think, a success of Thrive.”
That assertion was challenged by Dr. Sarah Church, director of Elevate Psychological Services, who called the increased need for services “sort of surprising.”
“How could it possibly get worse every single year?” Church said.
The Health Department prepared the draft report as part of a funding request to the state Office of Mental Health that’s due on June 1.
During a City Council budget hearing on Monday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson called ThriveNYC’s spending “opaque” and said Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration had refused to provide “more transparent reporting” on it and other costly “cross-agency initiatives,” including homeless shelters and ferry service.
The following day, when The Post asked McCray about that accusation, she said, “There’s nothing to hide.”
“Everyone has an honest assessment of his flaws, except, maybe, for him,” said one current New York City Council member who wanted to remain nameless to avoid upsetting work with the administration. But de Blasio, who started his career as a political operative and ran Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign before winning a New York City Council seat in Brooklyn in 2001, has never lost a race—and was written off at the outset every time. Now he’s watched Buttigieg, the mayor of a city that’s a fraction (of a fraction) of New York’s size, become a phenomenon. Based on conversations I had with people who have spoken with him, de Blasio thinks that it should be him. He also thinks Buttigieg’s surprise surge proves that it could be him. If Democrats want a mayor evangelizing progressivism, de Blasio’s right here. De Blasio has always seen politics as more about the campaigning and less about the gritty work of governing, people who like him and people who dislike him agree. He may not be an operative anymore, but he still thinks like one.
So zero tolerance kinda works so lets get rid of that then...
NYC announces its first overhaul of how police operate inside schools since Mayor Giuliani
After years of delays, top city officials have reached an agreement to overhaul the way the New York City Police Department operates in schools for the first time since Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in office.
The new agreement, set to be announced Thursday, is meant to limit the situations in which police officials can send students into the criminal justice system for relatively low-level offenses. The agreement also discourages school officials from making referrals to the police for minor misbehavior.
The changes mark a major move away from the zero-tolerance policies that dominated the city’s approach to school discipline when the agreement was created. The document — which governs police involvement in school security and formally handed the police department authority over roughly 5,000 school safety agents — was supposed to be updated every four years, but has never been revised.
Among the biggest changes, the new agreement says that police officials should not arrest or summons students “whenever possible” for low-level offenses such as marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, spitting, or graffiti. It also limits school staff from calling school safety agents for infractions like uniform violations, cutting class, lateness, smoking, lying, or gambling — as long as they can be addressed “safely.”
Some advocates said the new agreement is a big step in dialing back police presence in schools. Though arrests and summonses have fallen in recent years, the vast majority are issued to black and Hispanic students.
“There’s still a lot of discretion baked in, but what you’re seeing is the school safety division give up their authority to arrest in every situation, and that’s big coming from the NYPD,” said Johanna Miller, an education policy expert at the New York Civil Liberties Union who participated on a mayoral task force to revise the agreement.
“This [agreement] addresses some of the biggest contributors to arrests in schools and should reduce them dramatically,” she added.
In the past, students could also be arrested in school for minor offenses that occurred off school grounds, a practice that advocates have criticized as needlessly disruptive to schools and students. In a separate change, officials said the police patrol guide has been revised to “strictly limit” those arrests to felonies, sex offenses, and “crimes where there is an immediate risk of escape or where the perpetrator is apprehended in hot pursuit.”
The agreement between the police and education departments has been controversial since it was first inked in 1998, with some city officials saying the presence of police officials made student misbehavior more likely to end in arrests. The process of updating it has been long and fraught.
In 2016, a mayoral task force proposed an overhaul to the agreement and negotiated a series of changes that would have limited police involvement on issues such as cutting class, smoking cigarettes, and certain instances of insubordination, participants said.
Even though top education and police officials participated in the process and seemed amenable to changes, those proposed compromises largely disappearedwhen the city presented a new draft agreement, according to people who were present during the meetings. Some task force members said education and police department lawyers, who had not participated in the group’s discussions, played a role in stripping the draft agreement of the most important reforms.
Meanwhile, members of the task force often went long stretches without substantive updates, and a final agreement was repeatedly delayed. Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza even expressed reservations about a draft agreement this March. “I was not satisfied with what I saw was developing,” he said. “There was a lot in that [agreement] that was very much law-enforcement centric. We’ve been pushing back and we’ve actually been having great conversations with NYPD.”
Miller, who had been frustrated that their initial recommendations were gutted, said the final version “reflects some of the language the leadership team worked on together, so I’m really pleased to see that.”
In addition to reducing arrests, summonses, and police referrals, the new agreement calls for expanded training on de-escalation and conflict resolution among school safety agents and traditional patrol officers.
“The updated MOU and Patrol Guide reflect our values and demonstrate a clear commitment to safe and supportive learning environments for all students and staff,” Carranza said in a statement. “Taken together with our investments in restorative justice, and social-emotional learning, we’re ensuring each of our school communities has a foundation of positive relationships, respect, and support.”
“The updated MOU and Patrol Guide reflect our values and demonstrate a clear commitment to safe and supportive learning environments for all students and staff,” Carranza said in a statement. “Taken together with our investments in restorative justice, and social-emotional learning, we’re ensuring each of our school communities has a foundation of positive relationships, respect, and support.” - Ya that should work.
Used to 2 borough's tough on crime. Queens and Staten Island. Believe it or not criminals know this. What is jail time in one borough is a plea and community service in another. Queens is now going to be ultra woke.