Nonprofit fights to keep Nassau contract

A nonprofit group that helps struggling families is fighting to regain its funding and continue helping people in Nassau County.

As News 12 has reported, the Family and Children's Association lost its $2.2 million contract with the county. The CSEA, the county's largest union, won an arbitration ruling that said the contract with the private group was taking away jobs from union members.

The FCA's director says the change will put needy families at risk. "The county has said it can bring this back in-house, strip it down and save a whole bunch of money," says Director Jeff Reynolds. "In our minds, that is going to have a disastrous impact on the families we have been serving for more than 20 years."

As a result of the ruling, 29 people are losing their jobs, but many say they're more concerned about the people they serve. "My professional concerns have overwhelmed my personal concerns," says Elizabeth Palmieri. "I'm more worried about what is going to happen to our families than I am about what's going to happen to mine."

On Monday, clients and staff members made a last-ditch appeal to the Legislature to head off the program's transfer. But as of now, the group will be forced to drop its program by March 1, 2016.

News 12 called the county and the CSEA for comment, but has not yet heard back. In the past, the county has said it has enough staff at its Department of Social Services to handle the program's work.

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