All about dignity

first_imgEmail Print AS YOUNG women, the Magdalens were stripped of their freedom, their dignity and even their names. They lost parents, children, siblings. Many of them were barely past childhood and some were still children but they were forced to endure a punishing regime of hard physical labour, verbal and physical punishments that could only be described as abuse and many had no idea when, or if, this living hell would open and release them.The vast majority were paid nothing for their work. And the McAleese report has revealed that the state had a hand in condemning about one-quarter of these women to this fate.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up While they were incarcerated in the laundries, they learned plenty about how to remove filth from dirty linen and how to iron and mend. But they got no other education or training and girls as young as twelve left their schoolbooks behind them forever when the doors of the laundry closed behind them.Some spent all their lives in these grim places but those who got out no doubt found there was no reward waiting for women who had no skills that would earn them anything other than minimum pay, if that.Having endured all that, the majority of the survivors are now elderly and are again reliant on the state to pay them a pension, often non-contributory and barely enough to exist. Certainly, not an amount that will give them choices about how to spend their golden years.In contrast, the civil servants who had a hand in condemning them to the laundries and a subsequent lifetime of nightmare memories retired on gilt-edged pensions that are more than enough to pay for golf club memberships and sun-drenched holidays.Certainly, the Magdalene women need an apology. But before even more of them end their days without some comforts, they need to be promptly and properly compensated.Above: A tombstone memorial to Magdalene laundry workers from the Good Shepherd Convent in Limerick. NewsLocal NewsAll about dignityBy admin – February 7, 2013 402 Twitter Linkedincenter_img WhatsApp Facebook Advertisement Previous articleFather on trial for sexual assault of family membersNext article“Opportunistic” Limerick woman alleges payoff for silence adminlast_img read more

Kids Caught in Crossfire of Nassau County vs. Union Fight, Nonprofit Says

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Virginia Singletary shifts uneasily in her chair while thinking of how fellow at-risk parents may lose their children to foster care if Nassau County takes over the nonprofit-run program that helped her.Family Ties, run by the Family and Children’s Association (FCA), coached the 52-year-old Hempstead woman through what she called “crucial situations” as she tried to keep her family together, something the program has done for about 200 families annually over the past 20 years. But the program’s 28 social workers recently learned that Nassau plans to end its contract next March following an unrelated union dispute, officials said. That’s because the union that represents county Department of Social Services (DSS) workers last year won a grievance to take over a separate program, but county and union officials later agreed to have Nassau absorb Family Ties instead, officials said.“The word alone, DSS, gives me a jilt in my stomach,” Singletary said, adding that the agency hasn’t been as helpful to her as FCA. “I’m just feeling like the sheet has been pulled from under us.”In 2012, the Nassau County Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Local 830 had filed a grievance arguing that the county didn’t give the union enough time to respond to a proposal to hire FCA to offer alternatives to children who are so disobedient that their parents, guardians or other authorities must file a Person In Need of Supervision (PINS) petition in Family Court.When approved, PINS petitions allow judges to place dangerously out-of-control minors in foster care, group homes or other facilities where they can get special behavioral treatment. To give kids subject to such petitions a chance to improve and remain with their family, New York State a decade ago mandated PINS Diversion—the counseling program that CSEA said DSS should handle, not FCA. The nonprofit’s PINS Diversion program is called Family Solutions.Last November Elliott Shriftman, a Southampton-based arbitration attorney, ruled in favor of CSEA. DSS officials said that the settlement hasn’t been finalized, but an informal agreement was reached allowing FCA’s $2 million Family Ties contract be converted to a county-run program instead of FCA’s $1.3 million Family Solutions contract. It’s unclear when that deal is expected to be finalized; Shriftman could not be reached for comment.“Pursuant to the interim award, and with the mediation of the arbitrator, preventive services were returned to union members rather than PINS Diversion,” said Karen Garber, a spokeswoman for Nassau DSS. “The PINS Diversion program serves an extremely at-risk population, and there was a desire to avoid disturbing services in that area.”Asked to explain how children facing foster care if their parents aren’t helped by the Family Ties program are less “extremely at-risk” than children facing foster care if their parents win a PINS petition, Garber conceded that both sets of clients face “the same level of risk.” She then said that DSS workers aren’t experienced enough to handle PINS Diversion cases.“Family Solutions offers a wider range of clinical services, whereby Family Ties offers a wider range of casework,” Garber said. “It was recognized during mediation that civil service titles within DSS’s child welfare division does not require clinical experience, which is necessary to manage PINS Diversion. Based on the arbitrator’s decision, it was determined that Family Solutions should remain intact, and CSEA members could perform preventive services.”Now it’s FCA staffers who feel like their family is being broken up by bureaucrats. They plan to rally,testify and hold a news conference on the issue before the county legislature holds its next meeting in Mineola on Monday.“Our staff and the kids in the community are being caught in the crossfire of a labor dispute between the county and the union,” said Jeffrey Reynolds, FCA’s president and CEO. He said that DSS Commissioner John Imhoff gave him the news on June 12.“It was like walking into a buzz saw,” Reynolds added, “because that program was never on the table.”Rich Dopkin, director of communications for the CSEA, said that since the award is not yet final, he could not address the specifics of the case, but he insisted that “no one is getting neglected.”The staff of Family Ties, FCA’s second-largest program in Nassau, touts a 98-percent success rate of keeping kids out of foster care. Likening their casework to a calling, they’re concerned about how well DSS social workers—who’ve seen multiple rounds of layoffs in recent years—will handle their clients.“It’s not just a job for us,” said Donna Teichner, assistant director of Family Ties, which is based in Hempstead. “It’s a mission.”last_img read more

USC dominates ITA Kick-Off Weekend

first_imgIn the first Intercollegiate Tennis Association action of the spring, the No. 1-ranked USC men’s tennis team defended its home territory in flawless fashion, defeating Louisiana-Lafayette and Santa Clara to top the four-team tournament this past weekend.“I was really happy with the energy,” head coach Peter Smith said. “On the court, in the stands, I felt like everybody was really involved in the match. It’s so great to have the season start and have the season under way.”The Trojans beat the Ragin’ Cajuns 4-0 on Jan. 23, the first day of the ITA Kickoff Weekend at Marks Stadium, to advance to the championship round. In doubles, the sophomore pair of Nick Crystal and Connor Farren defeated the Ragin’ Cajuns’ Will Huyton and Jake Wynan 6-2, and the No. 1-ranked doubles duo Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz defeated Louisiana’s Jarred Wynan and Coleman Wahlborg 6-3 to put the Trojans up 1-0. Trojan senior Eric Johnson and junior Max de Vroome were leading Edgar Lopez and Damian Farinola 5-4 when play was suspended.De Vroome and Crystal led the Trojans’ in singles play of the first round. De Vroome dispatched Vlad Kramarov and Crystal routed Huyton, both by tallies of 6-1, 6-1. No. 3-ranked Hanfmann topped Lopez 6-2, 6-2 and with three victories in singles, the Trojans gained three points and completed the sweep of the Ragin’ Cajuns.De Vroome turned it around and became a big part of the Trojans’ win Friday after what he believes was a slow start.“I started off a little rusty, made a few mistakes, but then [Krzysztof Kwinta], our assistant coach, came on,” De Vroome said. “He told me to play a little heavier, a little more on the ready. So I stayed back a little more, waited for my opportunities, and I took the chances when I got them.”In the final of the event on Jan. 24, the Trojans pulled off another sweep against Santa Clara. Hanfmann and Quiroz defeated the Broncos’ Ashot Khacharyan and Ilya Osintsev 6-2 as Johnson and de Vroome took down Mikheil Khmiadashvili and Sam Bertram 6-1, clinching the doubles’ point for the Trojans.Quiroz finds he and his fellow seniors are trying to make the most of every match in their final year.“It’s really special for the four seniors playing our last season,” Quiroz said. “We’re really happy to be here and enjoying all the time we’re spending on the courts. We’re just trying to get betting, we’re just starting the season. We have great expectations for the season, so I think we did great today.”In singles, Crystal continued his dominance with an immaculate match in the final, defeating Michael Standifer 6-0, 6-0. Senior Jonny Wang followed suit with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Khmiadashvili and Johnson rounded out the second sweep with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Sebastian Mathieu.De Vroome felt his team fed off each other’s energy during the match.“It’s definitely contagious to play well, seeing each other play well and pumping each other up,” De Vroome said.With their resounding victory this past weekend, the Trojans clinch a spot at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago, Illinois, next month. Smith has liked what he’s seen from the defending NCAA champions in the early stages of the season.“I think we’re in a great place,” Smith said. “I think the guys are really looking to get better, they’re really open, really motivated, and they’re getting after it.”Up next, the Trojans will travel to Athens, Georgia, this weekend to face the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs. Though the season is still young, Quiroz and the Trojans’ minds are already on the long run — defending their throne.“USC always sets their goals really high,” Quiroz said. “But you know what, we look at the big picture, so we just keep getting better, keep working on our game, and we improve for May, which is our main goal.”last_img read more