Children Services dependent on levy


Joseph Pratt

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Scioto County Children Services is asking the voters of the community to approve a levy on Tuesday, November 3. The levy is for replacement funds of one mill for ten years, a levy that Director Dr. Lorra Fuller says is dire in keeping the current services available for Scioto County’s most vulnerable.

“Receiving this funding is extremely important, because we are the only entity in the county that deals with child abuse and neglect,” Fuller stated. “This levy is also the only money set aside by the county to implement mandated investigations on possibly abusive homes.”

The Scioto County Children Services had around 1,790 referrals of child abuse and neglect in 2014 and they served 2,011 children.

Fuller claimed her agency has around 140-150 children in their custody a month.

She feels all funds received by local tax dollars have been used wisely and have gone to completely cover costs of placing children in homes. While they are careful with funding, they have still been operating above budget.

Scioto County Children Services currently receives around $890,000 in local tax dollars, but spends around $1.3 to care for children. The renewal of funds is important to continue services and Fuller claimed the current levy would only cost voters $6 more that what they already pay on a home that costs $100,000.

Scioto County Children Services has spent more money caring for children in recent years, due to an increased number of children needing assistance. Fuller claimed the increase in children has come from a growing drug problem in the area.

“We used to care for around 70 children a month, but those numbers have doubled,” Fuller explained. “The numbers have doubled because of our policies. When a baby is born addicted to drugs, and a mother tests positive for drugs in her system, we step in and take custody of not only the infant, but any siblings as well. Due to the condition of our county, we had to take a stand and I felt like that population was the most vulnerable.”

Fuller said money received from the levy would continue to be used wisely and on the needs of children alone.

“All of the money the levy brings in is used strictly for boarding and the care of kids placed in our custody,” Fuller said. “None of the money is used for administrative costs or anything like that. People usually get hung up on wanting to know where the money goes, but it is clear with us; all of the funds we receive go to the children.”

Administrative costs and other expenses are paid by state and federal dollars, according to Fuller.

Scioto County Children Services is dependent on this levy to operate and Fuller said she can’t imagine what would happen if the levy was not approved. She said her office would work to do its best, but local jobs would definitely receive the backlash of the decision.

“We would have to make significant cuts in order to serve kids in our county,” Fuller said, “Cuts would mean less workers available to provide services for our kids.”

There are many ways members of the community can assist in the mission of helping local children through the Scioto County Children Services, from donating gifts for Christmas to fostering children themselves. An official may be reached by phone at 740-456-4146.

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

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