Letters to the Editor

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Their Money

John Brewster, CEO
Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana
Santa Ana, Calif.

As the president of a 50-year affiliate of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and an alumnus of the 100-plus-year-old Syracuse Boys & Girls Club, I’m compelled to take issue with your editorial in the February issue (“Class Warfare”).

You stated, “The truth is that local affiliates of many mature groups such as 4-H, DARE, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Urban League and YouthBuild would collapse without public funds.”

As a 15-year member of the Boys & Girls Clubs Government Relations Committee, chaired by our senior vice president of governmental relations, Robbie Callaway, I have more knowledge than most about what public funds are available and how they are obtained. Public funds, such as the $80 million earmarked for Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the current [federal] budget, are always welcomed.

However, in order to take advantage of public funds, local clubs need to have substantial cash flow. At one time, government grants were actually just that – grants. Money was advanced to us; we provided the program and filed a report.

Today, however, the process requires us to provide the activity, pay for it in advance and bill the public funding source. To do this, we must have substantial amounts of cash available, which cannot come from public sources. In the case of our Santa Ana club, we are able to “cash flow” because our local board of directors raises over three-quarters of a million dollars annually from private sources.

While it varies from organization to organization, Boys & Girls Clubs are strongly encouraged not to rely on any external source (grants, United Ways, government funds, etc.) for more than 25 of our income. Robbie Callaway and his senior assistant, Steve Salem, have told us many times that eventually funds from federal sources will not be available and to plan for that accordingly.

Most of us have.

Over the last few years our national organization has helped to educate us on the value of establishing operating reserves and creating endowment funds – money we can totally control.

Boys & Girls Clubs provide a critical service to our country, primarily by serving millions of kids other organizations either cannot or will not serve. Please be assured that funds from public sources are not and will not be the defining factor in our continued existence. As long as kids need us, we’ll be here.

What About 4-H?

Frederick C. Rudy, Extension Agent
4-H/Youth Development
Penn State Cooperative Extension
Dauphin, Pa.

I recently read your article on rural youth workers in the February 2003 edition of your newspaper. I was disappointed that you never made mention of 4-H. We are the biggest player in rural youth work. We exist in all counties in the country and have been in the youth development business since 1902. If you are looking for examples that work, look at us.

Ad Shows No Restraint

Michael A. Nunno
Principal Investigator
Residential Child Care Project
Cornell University
Ithaca, N.Y.

The accusations by Handle with Care (HWC), in an advertisement in the February edition of Youth Today, that Cornell’s Therapeutic Crisis Intervention subsidiary (TCI) is misappropriating certain legally protected body movements, postures and sequences, are without foundation.

To the best of our knowledge, Cornell’s TCI system does not use the HWC trademarked “two person-escort method,” “two-person escort position,” “the Primary Restraint Technique” (PRT) or any of the interventions sponsored by Handle With Care Behavior Management System.

Bruce Chapman, the president of HWC, has claimed in a letter to the university that he possesses a U.S. and international patent for the PRT, which TCI infringed on. Cornell University counsel was able to locate an HWC patent for a piece of physical apparatus used in combination with a physical restraint technique. Since TCI does not employ any apparatus in our crisis intervention methods and considers them an additional safety risk to the children served in residential treatment facilities, legal counsel responded that there must be a misunderstanding in light of these facts and asked Mr. Chapman to send us additional patent information, if we were mistaken.

The TCI system uses developmentally appropriate nonconfrontational limit-setting behavior management strategies aimed at preventing and de-escalating a child’s agitated, aggressive and violent behavior. It also employs physical intervention strategies to ensure the safety of the child, other children and staff.

All of TCI’s physical interventions are considered special procedures used for safety reasons only. Studies have shown that no physical interventions with aggressive and violent children are free from risk.

From reviewing Mr. Chapman’s Handle With Care website and speaking to correctional facilities that use Mr. Chapman’s system, we believe that the Handle With Care System is at the other end of the continuum of crisis management systems from TCI. We are in total agreement with Mr. Chapman in his desire to not have his program associated with TCI.

HWC Responds

Bruce Chapman, President
Handle with Care
Gardiner, N.Y.

You really can’t take any denial that begins with the words, “To the best of our knowledge” too seriously. Should Mr. Nunno ever decide to show genuine interest in the truth, he can always ask the geniuses who created the TCI physical restraint program to review the Cornell video with him frame by frame. Fortunately for us, video doesn’t lie, even if people do.

Youth Today welcomes comments by mail or e-mail. All letters must include the author’s name, job description or other connection to the youth work field, and phone number or e-mail address. Please send to: Letters to Editor, Youth Today, 1200 17th St. NW, 4th Fl., Washington, DC 20036 or info@youthtoday.org.