PORTSMOUTH- The Scioto County Commissioners held their regulary scheduled Tuesday meeting at the courthouse.
Joining them were Scioto County Children Services Executive Director Jason Mantell and Scioto County Department of Jobs and Family Services Director Tammy Moore.
Five items focused on the memorandums of understanding between SCDJFS and SCCS, which look to renew past plans and to increase cooperation among the organizations.
“These are really formalizing a lot of what is being done between the two agencies and trying to find synergies,” said Commissioner Bryan Davis of the agreements.
With its passing, a temporary assistance for needy families assistance program, Title XX, and the Kinship Caregiver Program would be continued into the following year. Renewal is done annually, said Moore, based on the available funding. Funding goes through SCDJFS through state grants while the services are carried out by SCCS, who are eventually reimbursed by the department.
$128,418 would be going to the kinship care program, this money not being determined by Martell or Moore but rather through a state grant. Davis said this money will be spent fast, as these providers are stretched thin compared to foster care parents.
Foster parents receive $27.50 a day in Scioto County for each child in their care, while kinship caregivers earn $505 a month regardless of their number of children. This means if a kinship caregiver were to look after three children, they would earn nearly five times less than what a foster care parent does in a month.
“I think everyone in the room would up that amount if the money was there,” said Davis. “But it isn’t because of the system. We need legislation in Columbus to change those funds”
“Our kinship providers are very much foster care providers,” he added, saying it is a common complaint voiced to the Commissioners. “They are relatives, but they are doing the same work, the same job.”
New categories of this colloboration would include employee sharing and the establishment of a non-business hours for Adult Protective Services call line.
An after-hours line already exists through SCCS, so Moore and Martell agreed to have those working the phones for SCCS to report these calls to SCDJFS by 9 a.m. the following day. This option is much more cost-effective than hiring new employees, they agreed.
“As we work more closely together, we’re going to develop and uncover these things,” said Moore, as the partnership between her and Martell is very new.
Conversations between the two have occured frequently, often multiple times a week. Primarily they have focused on the hiring of a new supervisor, which Martell hopes will be filled soon.
“I think this is going extremely well to this point,” said Martell. “We hope to continue this as long as we are in these positions.”
The Commissioners also set the date for Halloween in the county, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Still awaiting guidance from the Ohio Department of Health, Davis believed citizens would be prepared to celebrate safely with regards to the coronavirus.
“I’m sure at the minimum, we’re talking about safe distancing and I think everyone should be very well-versed in how to do social distancing,” said Davis.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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