Thursday, February 5, 2015

Anti-poverty effort will focus on data, flexibility

Posted By on Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 1:41 PM

The Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force announced last month by Governor Andrew Cuomo will hold its first meeting in the next few weeks. 

United Way CEO Peter Carpino gave an overview of the effort during this morning's meeting of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. The task force, he said, will bring together 20 state agencies; some local government, business, and nonprofit leaders; and some people who are impacted by poverty. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, County Executive Maggie Brooks, and State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle will be on the task force.

"There is a collective will to do something different," Carpino said.

The task force grew out of a push by United Way to improve the administration of three evidence-based home visitation programs: Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers, and Building Healthy Children. Carpino asked the state for $25 million over five years to fund the programs and create "an integrated, holistic model for the delivery" of them.

Cuomo and his staff saw promise in the idea, Carpino said, but wanted the Rochester community to take a deeper and broader look at child poverty and how it could be addressed, which ultimately led to the task force.

Though it's still not clear what the task force will do, Carpino did offer some details about the group's focus at this morning's meeting. Local leaders will work with state agencies to examine data and identify ways to make state anti-poverty funding more flexible. And the task force will likely look at five areas: jobs; education and middle-skills training; housing; health and nutrition; and safe neighborhoods, Carpino said.

Morelle said that the idea is to use data to identify programs that work and to steer resources to them, that way the investments produce better outcomes at a lower cost.

"The results, the outcome are what's most important," Warren said.

The task force has an opportunity to help families climb out of poverty permanently, she said. 

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