The Islip Town Board voted 5-0 Tuesday to lay off four human services employees in the first round of job cuts resulting from the department's dissolution.
The four fired employees worked for Islip's Teen Age Service Act, or TASA, a program for pregnant and parenting teens that was fully funded by outside sources until December, when state funding ended. The layoffs take effect Aug. 20.
Islip's TASA cost $428,038 to run annually, town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia said last week, adding that because the program's 60 clients have since been placed with private agencies, it's an appropriate time to shut it down.
Marcia Spector, the division director of SNAP (formerly Suffolk Network on Adolescent Pregnancy) for the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk Inc. and a member of the advisory board that created TASA in the 1980s, said Islip's program was one of the few remaining in the county. Spector said TASA cuts result in "more young women dropping out of school, more subsequent pregnancies that are shortly after the first pregnancy, and probably a higher incidence of domestic violence."
Because teen pregnancy rates are historically low, Spector said it's easier for municipalities to cut such resources. But the programs need to be provided to help teen parents graduate high school and become self-sufficient, she said.
During public comment Tuesday, no one addressed the board regarding the layoffs.
Islip officials announced the human services reorganization in April, claiming that eliminating "administrative redundancies" and cutting programs would save $1.6 million in 2013 to help close a $26 million budget gap.
The town also voted 5-0 Tuesday to abolish all titles under the human services department, effective Nov. 1. The department has 113 full- and part-time employees, and acting Commissioner Carol Charchalis said Friday that she was not sure how many will lose their jobs.