Syosset community sounds off on facility's intake of juvenile offenders

Posted: Updated:
SYOSSET -

Residents say they're worried about a Syosset facility's plan to house more teenagers, including juvenile offenders.

At times, it was an emotionally charged meeting the MercyFirst facility, whose officials say it currently houses 116 children in the foster care program and another 14 juveniles who've been placed there by the court system.

The hot topic Tuesday night was security; teens apparently run away from the facility on almost a daily basis.

"They came into my house while we were home," says Ross Kass, of Syosset. "They came in our back door. They stole my wife's pocketbook from our kitchen table."

MercyFirst organized the meeting to inform residents that starting next month, the facility will be participating in the Raise the Age law, meaning some 16- and 17-year-olds will now be placed there by the court system.

"New York state was one of the only two states in the country that treated 16- and 17-year-old kids as adults if they committed a criminal offense," says Jerry McCaffrey, MercyFirst's president and CEO. "The idea of the law was to carve out kids who did not have an extensive history or repeat offenses, or that posed a threat to the community, to be able to offer them a second chance."

Mercy First officials admit that more than 90 percent of the teens who run away and commit crimes are not the ones placed there by the courts. They say it's usually the ones who are part of the foster care program.

The Raise the Age law goes into effect Dec. 15.

  • SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Congress holds public hearings in impeachment inquiry

    Congress holds public hearings in impeachment inquiry

    Photos from the public congressional hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and his administration's dealings with Ukraine.
    Photos from the public congressional hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and his administration's dealings with Ukraine.
  • Dog Day Fridays for Nov. 15

    Dog Day Fridays for Nov. 15

    Friday, November 15 2019 10:28 AM EST2019-11-15 15:28:42 GMT
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Oceanside. Their phone number is 516-306-4998.This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Oceanside. Their phone number is 516-306-4998.
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Oceanside. Their phone number is 516-306-4998.This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Oceanside. Their phone number is 516-306-4998.
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Oceanside. Their phone number is 516-306-4998.
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Oceanside. Their phone number is 516-306-4998.
  • Thanksgiving Day 2019 Shopping Guide

    Thanksgiving Day 2019 Shopping Guide

    If you are looking to start your holiday shopping before the turkey is out of the oven, here are stores that will be opened for Thanksgiving.
    If you are looking to start your holiday shopping before the turkey is out of the oven, here are stores that will be opened for Thanksgiving. 
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."