October 2018 Newsletter


My Personal Experience with a National Epidemic
By Joan Crawford
Deputy Executive Director
The Nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. 116 people a day die from opioid-related drug overdoses. Chances are good that even young teenagers will have heard about opioids and overdose deaths at some point. Pretending that opioid use is not a problem—or thinking that a child is a “good kid” and therefore doesn’t need to hear and talk about it—is a mistake. Being a “good kid” does not mean that young people will not be curious or be tempted by peers.
On September 15th, I lost a good kid. My stepson Brendan Gornick overdosed and died. He was 28 years old. The following is an excerpt from his obituary:
“Brendan had the soul of a poet, and played the drums with a ferocity that belied his tender heart. He loved his family and was a true friend to those in need. Brendan never gave up trying to overcome the disease that took his life, and certainly is not defined by that struggle. He carried the light of hope in his heart for himself and for others who struggled. He will be remembered by his loved ones as a young man who was passionate about music, loved the outdoors, and treated everyone with dignity and respect.”
Given the stakes and the ongoing crisis, parents need to be proactive and talk calmly and honestly with their kids about the dangers of opioid abuse. Talking to your child about the perils of opioids is a challenging and emotionally fraught task. Experts suggest these strategies to improve your
odds of connecting with your son or daughter on this life-threatening issue:
  1. Start the conversation about the dangers of medication early. Parents can start talking to their preschool-age kids about medication. One way you can broach the subject when they are young without explicitly diving into opioids is by using vitamins as an example. When you give your children vitamins, explain to them that vitamins are good for you and will help you to growup to be big and strong, but they can also be harmful if you take too many.
  2. Discuss the proper and improper use of prescription drugs. Explain to children and adolescents that prescription opioids can be medically appropriate to treat the pain from serious injuries such as broken bones or from diseases like cancer. Parents can explain to their kids that
    they should never take medication that was not prescribed specifically for them. Be sure that they know that taking another person’s prescription or sharing their prescription with someone else is illegal.
  3. Honestly discuss why some people use drugs. Be straightforward in discussing the allure of drugs. It’s important to explain that drugs can make you feel good, and like many things that make you feel good, they can also damage you, especially because you can lose control and they have harmful effects on your body. Acknowledging that drugs can temporarily evoke feelings of euphoria or an escape from life—rather than just discussing the negative effects of substance abuse—is important to maintain credibility. It’s absolutely important to talk about both sides.
  4. Don’t try to instill excessive fear or lecture your kids. When we exaggerate, we instill fear in our kids, and they don’t take us seriously. Discuss the dangers of opioid addiction, but don’t overdo it or you’ll lose credibility. Your kids need to know you are being 100 percent honest or you’ll lose the connection with them.
  5. Encourage a conversation. It’s going to have more meaning if it’s a two-way street, rather than a parent saying, “Here are the facts. Don’t do this”. To encourage a discussion, don’t ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”.
  6. Talk about the genetic factor. Kids should know if addiction runs in their family. It’s in the DNA. There are genetic components and it’s passed from generation to generation. You have a higher risk of alcoholism or addiction if you have a family history.

For additional resources visit:

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

How Family Services Can Help

Family Services is committed to the prevention of substance abuse. Through our Ulster Prevention Council (UPC) we work to prevent substance abuse in Ulster County youth and families. UPC provides evidence-based school and community prevention services. UPC Prevention Educators provide a model prevention education service delivery in Ulster County Schools. Too Good for Drugs fosters confidence, self-efficacy and resistance to substance abuse through goal setting and achievement, responsible decision making, positive conflict resolution, and healthy relationships. UPC partners with grassroots initiatives and community coalitions to address local needs, provide training and technical assistance, enhance communication and avoid duplication of efforts. For more information about these services please visit: Ulster Prevention Council

Finally, if parents suspect that their child is using or has a problem with opioids, it’s imperative to get help as soon as possible. The best outcomes often come from intervening early. Family Services provides a service to help individuals and families struggling with substance use disorders. The Family Advocate (Carol Sutcliffe) helps connect families with drug and alcohol treatment services. The Advocate can educate families on available treatment options, assist with the intake process, help remove obstacles to treatment, such as, lack of insurance or insurance denials, and support families in crisis due to addiction. The Advocate provides information on 12 Step programs, counseling, medication assisted treatment and opioid overdose reversal medication (NARCAN). The Advocate is available to talk with those in contemplation of seeking treatment, those ready for treatment and families who are concerned that their loved ones might have a substance use disorder. The Advocate also facilitates a support
group for those, like me who have lost a loved one to substance use.

For more information on the Family Advocate Program, contact Carol Sutcliffe at 845-458-7455 or csutcliffe@familyservicesny.org

Recent Events

In 2007, the U.S. Congress established September 25th as National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. 

On Tuesday, September 25th the Family Services’ Center for Victim Safety and Support hosted an event at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum Pavilion to honor the lives of those taken by violence and to recognize the impact of homicide on surviving loved ones and the community.


Family Partnership Center

The month of August was busy for our Family Partnership Center Steward, Kellie Wofford.
On August 9th, she provided a tour of the Family Partnership Center to Leena Waite, who is the Non Profit Center Network Member and Program Coordinator.
Out of three sites that were visited, the Family Partnership Center was chosen to be featured on the Member Highlight of the Non Profit Central Network website.  CLICK HERE TO READ 
What is even more of an accomplishment for us is that this has been shared with 2,616 members and many other like minded agencies across the United States.
This is a true reflection of the great work and service provided by our collaborative partners within the Family Partnership Center to our beloved community on a daily basis.
Throughout the month of August Kellie also wore t-shirts of many of our valued partners to support and represent the work that is going on right here at the Family Partnership Center. To learn more about the Family Partnership Center and to view our directory of services and partners: CLICK HERE

Program Spotlight

Dutchess County
Universal Response to Domestic Violence (URDV)

Did you know that 1500 people die annually as a result of intimate partner violence? Did you know that domestic violence does not discriminate? Did you know that anyone can be impacted by domestic violence, regardless of race, gender or socio- economic status? At Family Services, we recognize the risks associated with domestic violence and the devastating impact it has on victims, their families and the community…and we work with our partners in the community to create change!
In order to combat the epidemic of domestic violence, Dutchess County developed a unique approach to the problem, the Universal Response to Domestic Violence (URDV). This coordinated community response enables service providers (like Family Services), law enforcement, probation, legal services and the judicial system to work together in a collaborative effort to improve victim safety and increase offender accountability. The URDV Project Coordinator, a staff member of Family Services under the direction of the URDV Steering Committee, facilitates collaborative projects, protocols, trainings, and events between agencies that focus on the issue of domestic violence.
To learn more about the Universal Reponses to Domestic Violence and the innovative projects that are part of this coordinated community response, such as Domestic Abuse Response Teams (DART) and the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP), visit www.familyservicesny.org or contact Desiree Alston, Project Coordinator for Universal Response to Domestic Violence at dalstson@familyservicesny.org.


Celebrating 30 Years of Dedication
The year was 1988…Ronald Reagan was President, gas was $0.91/gallon, Cher won an Oscar for “Moonstruck”…and Mary (Flannery) Turner joined Family Services! FSI was a small agency housed at 50 North Hamilton Street, when Mary joined the team.
Mary has been part of three decades of our story. She served many years as the Executive Assistant to the CEO, supporting the management and the Board of Directors. Later, she took on the role of Facility Supervisor for the Family Partnership Center. Several years ago, Mary retired from that position, and still wanted to be connected to the agency. She now serves as our part-time Receptionist, meeting and greeting staff and clients alike, as they enter the Main Building.
As described below by her colleagues, Mary has made an indelible mark on our agency.
“Mary your dedication and hard work at family services are an inspiration to us all. We’re so happy to call you not only our coworker but our friend. Thank you for 30 years of true commitment. Congratulations Mary!”
“Mary has played a pivotal role in Family Services and the Family Partnership Center. In her roles as Executive Assistant, Facility Supervisor and Receptionist for FPC, Mary has been at the center of so much of the critical work that happens here. Around Mary‘s desk there is always a busy hive of activity—she’s like the queen bee!”
Congratulations and Thank You from all of us here at Family Services and the Partnership Center!


On Monday, September 17th, the unwavering commitment and hard work of the Family Services and Hudson Valley Mental Health staff was celebrated at our Annual Staff Recognition Event.  This year the event took place at the beautiful Freedom Park in Lagrange with delicious BBQ style food prepared by RTS Catering. Staff enjoyed basketball, chair massages (sponsored by CDPHP) and Painting on the Green with our own Randi Chalfin, Head Teacher at the Children’s Center at Family Court.  The event also included a live band featuring Denise Parent, Office Coordinator in Ulster County, and a sweet Ice Cream Bar where staff were served by the agency’s Leadership Team wearing retro Soda Jerk hats.  A great time was had by all!

By the Numbers
Staggering Statistics of Victims


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