The Justice Center named the winners of the Champion and Code of Conduct awards for 2018. The Champion Award is issued to people and organizations in recognition of their support for people under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center. The Code of Conduct Award honors staff who embody the ethical standards outlined in the Code of Conduct for Custodians of People with Special Needs.

The awards were issued by Executive Director Denise M. Miranda and the Justice Center’s Advisory Council at Albany ceremonies September 13, 2018.

Nominees of the Champion Award include individual staff members, community members, people receiving services or service providers. Justice Center employees nominate candidates for the award, whose names are reviewed by a Justice Center Committee, which makes recommendations to the Executive Director.

The Code of Conduct Award, issued by the Justice Center’s Advisory Council, “give peers, the people they serve and their families the opportunity to express their gratitude for their dedication and devotion to their work,” Council Chair William T. Gettman said. “Nominees have demonstrated a clear commitment to the ethical standards outlined in the Code of Conduct, and for that, we are giving them the recognition and gratitude they so richly deserve.”

Champion Award

Westchester County Deputy District Attorney Fredric Green has been a dedicated public servant for more than 30 years, focusing on helping victims of abuse. With this background, Green ensures his staff understands and collaborates with the Justice Center on all criminal cases.  In addition, Green facilitated a joint meeting with the Justice Center and local law enforcement this year, helping forge new and more productive relationships in the county.

Prabhudial Balkaran, resident, Bronx was out walking when he saw a person with special needs being dragged down the street by a staff member. He first asked the staff person to stop. When the mistreatment continued, Mr. Balkaran got the attention of an off-duty NYPD detective, who intervened. Mr. Balkaran then called the Justice Center to report the incident, ensuring the staff member responsible was held accountable for their actions.

Diana Dufresne, Surrogate Decision-Making Committee, Massena has logged thousands of miles while traveling as a volunteer for the Justice Center’s Surrogate Decision-Making Program. Her 24 years of service in the North Country have ensured people with special needs get prompt access to needed medical care.  As chair of the program, Ms. Dufresne is known for her collaboration, empathy and respect she affords everyone she works with.

Robert Torre, New York State Police Investigator, Red Hook – has worked diligently to understand the diverse array of people who receive services from providers under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center, and has worked collaboratively with the agency on several investigations. He frequently accepts cases that present difficulty for other law enforcement agencies due to his vast experience investigating criminal cases involving abuse and neglect.

Code of Conduct Award

Timothy Bancroft, Northern Rivers Family of Services, Albany has been working at inspiring those around him during his 20-year career. His leadership, support, and belief in the young people he has served came full-circle this year when a former service recipient was hired by Northern Rivers and asked specifically to work and train under Timothy’s guidance.  He focuses on helping children and teens overcome difficulties in positive and productive ways.

Patti Jones-Krause, Abilities First, Wappingers Falls has thrived on helping people live self-directed, meaningful lives in her 17-year career at Abilities First. Recently, she vigorously advocated for a day habilitation participant who was living in an unsafe environment.  She pushed until he was discharged to a place of his own choice, which was what he wanted. Patti can often be found visiting service recipients at their homes on her days off.

Kathryn Morrissey-Burch, retired from Elmira Psychiatric Center, Sayre PA recently retired as a psychologist at Elmira Psychiatric Center where she provided outstanding therapy and support to all under her care and the community at large. She eagerly mastered new treatment approaches and shared her knowledge with colleagues through ongoing training. Kathryn also spent many years training people – and boosting public awareness – about suicide prevention.

Tammy West-Wood, Community, Work, and Independence, Glens Falls has been enhancing the lives of those in her care for more than 15 years. She works with an aging population of people with developmental disabilities, some of whom are non-verbal, who often have no family members. She works every day to understand their feelings, find solutions if they are not happy or well, and comfort them at the end of their lives. 

The following were also recognized with a Code of Conduct Certificate of Recognition:

·         Diana Christy, Recreation Aide, The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Tarrytown

·         Janine DiGioia, Case Manager, Transitional Services of NY, Flushing

·         Cheryl Dutton, Client Service Specialist, Empower WNY, Niagara Falls

·         Amanda Figueroa, Direct Support Professional, YAI, New York City

·         Jessica Freese, Assistant Manager, Developmental Disabilities Institute, Smithtown

·         Kathleen Hall, Medical Specialist, The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Tarrytown

·         Rodjana Ismail, Senior Direct Support Professional, Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services/ Bais Ezra, New York City

·         Dawn Knapper, Director of Community Residences, SAIL, Inc., Baldwin

·         Theresa Kolsin, Incident Management Coordinator, Independent Living Association, New York City

·         Jacqueline Lenox, Health Care Specialist, YAI, New York City

·         Dale McGinnity, Direct Support Professional, Life’s WORC, Garden City

·         Justine Ortiz, Direct Support Professional, YAI, New York City

·         Sofia Paltenea, Direct Support Professional II, YAI, Bayside Day Habilitation Prgm., Queens

·         Kathleen Roberts, Program Manager, Glove House, Inc., Elmira

·         Matthew Russo, Employment Specialist, Life’s WORC, Garden City

·         Charlene Sanders, Medicaid Service Coordinator, Community, Work, and Independence Inc., Glens Falls

·         Kathyann Scantlebury, Direct Support Professional V, Access: Supports for Living, Middletown

·         Leah Segal, Rehabilitation Coordinator, Lakeview Health Services, Geneva

·         Melissa Spencer, Mental Health Therapy Aide, Elmira Psychiatric Center, Elmira

·         Claudia Worrell-Fraser, Direct Support Professional, HeartShare Human Services of New York, New York City