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Former YWCA members speak out

November 16, 2016
Westfield Republican

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Westfield Community for allowing us the privilege of working with the youth and families over the past several years at YWCA of Westfield Child Services programs. We have truly enjoyed watching the children and programs grow and will dearly miss working in these programs every day.

It has come to our attention that the YWCA of Westfield has not notified many of the families and partners involved with the UPK, Before School, and Advantage After School programs of our resignations. As of Sept. 28 Michele (Meleen) Shields resigned from the position of School Aged Child Care Director and John Emmons resigned from the positions of UPK Assistant and Advantage After School Program Site Supervisor. We would like to offer a sincere apology if you have not been notified by the YWCA of these changes.. As they have not made a public notification, we believe it says a lot about the priorities of the agency and how they view families and partners in the child services programs.

Our resignations were due directly and entirely to the actions of the administrators of the YWCA Board of Directors and the Child Services department. We believe, based on factual information gathered while we were employed, that the YWCA administrators are not operating out of the best interest of the families in our community and we could no longer help the programs appear to be successful.

It has been clear for several months in this community that something big is happening at the YWCA. We are simply the most recent people in a line of no less than 10 employees or Board members to leave because of concerns related to current YWCA leadership. Each member of this community must now make a personal decision of whether to be a part of the solution, or ignore the fact that there are serious and ongoing concerns related to YWCA administrative activity. If you feel strongly about keeping quality, affordable child services programming in our community, the time to act is now. If you have a personal complaint about agency or child services programming and procedures, please take action by submitting these complaints in writing. Agency concerns can be brought to the attention of the YWCA USA, the entire YWCA of Westfield Board of Directors (you should be able to call the office and get a current list with contact information), or the Better Business Bureau. Concerns about the UPK and Before School programs can be directed to the Elementary Principal at Westfield Academy and Central School. Concerns related to the Advantage After School Program should be directed to the Superintendent at WACS.

It is our hope to help the community take actions toward keeping quality child care programs and to continue to find other ways of helping the families of this community.



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