The only countywide levy to appear on the November 3 ballot was for the support of the Scioto County Children Services. The support was evident, as numbers poured in at 10,918 for and 6,369 against, 63.16 percent of voters voicing approval.The issue was for a replacement levy that resulted in an additional $100,000 to their current 1 mil of local dollars.
With the passing of the levy, the homeowner of a $100,000 property can expect their taxes to rise only $6 annually.
Director Dr. Lorra Fuller explained the necessity of the extra funds, “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.”
Fuller said that she feels all funding received by local tax dollars has been used wisely and has gone to completely cover costs of placing children in homes. While they are careful with stretching out funds, Fuller claimed they have still been operating over budget.
Scioto County Children Services previously received around $890,000 in local tax dollars, but spends around $1.3 million to care for children. The renewal of funds is important to not only continue funding, but to also raise enough funds to cover the additional costs.
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.
The Scioto County Children Services had around 1,790 referrals of child abuse and neglect in 2014 and they served 2,011 children.
According to Fuller, her agency has around 140-150 children in their custody a month, which is much larger than it was in 2005, when the initial levy was passed.
“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 that the money received by the replacement levy will be used wisely and for 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.”
There are many additional 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.
“We are extremely grateful to the community members, voters, and our supporters,” Fuller said. “We will now be able to continue services with no cuts in what we provide or in staff.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03