PORTSMOUTH — Children’s Services Board accepted the Scioto County Commissioners’ request to be an advisory board during their Tuesday meeting. The Commissioners announced at their Thursday meeting the plan to restructure.
“I think the main thing for everybody to understand is nobody’s job is at risk,” said Commissioner Scottie Powell. “This is truly a restructuring of the operations and financial responsibility to shift to the Commissioners.”
Powell said every county they have spoken to who went through the same issue said this would be a positive change.
“Not just for the staff but also for the organization and ultimately for the children,” said Powell.
The Children’s Services Board had 60 days to respond to the letter but made their decision this past Tuesday.
“I would like to applaud the board for their quick action,” said Commissioner Cathy Coleman. “Everyone realizes there’s not enough money and obviously a need for improvement and how we are handling things and the state as well, so they were on board and it makes me feel good they are putting everything into this to correct the situation here.”
Commissioner, Bryan Davis said if everyone stays focused on the children, everything will work out.
“We have realized through this entire process that there have been voices highly against this and I understand some of their concerns, but I would just point out like Commissioner Coleman has said, there have been some very loud voices for this,” said Davis.
Davis said he had heard more positive comments from the county than negative.
“A lot of those are foster parents, people who are in the middle of it all, and a lot of times they don’t want to voice their opinion too much in public because on certain sites you’ll hear a lot of angst, people can be rude, and if you have been involved all along you would understand a lot of the thoughts from this board as well as Children’s Services Board,” said Davis.
Davis said Jobs and Family Services have already figured out more ways to be efficient.
“When you have people working under the same roof, you have better access, communication increases, your cost goes down, and I believe that they’re going to recognize a lot of increase in efficiencies,” said Davis.
Scioto County will be 78 out of 88 counties to restructure under the Board of Commissioners.
“I think we will look back in a year and say this was a good move,” said Davis.
Davis said he wanted to address comments about privatization.
“I’ve seen comments saying privatization is the wrong way to go. Well, if that’s your stance, then 70% of the children would not be in placement right now,” said Davis. “Seventy percent of the children right now are in privatized foster homes like Necco, so this is not an untried thing.”
Davis said he has also seen comments saying children are going to die.
“Unfortunately with child welfare, there have been deaths in the system which breaks everybody’s heart, we have had that happen in Scioto County, but those were not Necco homes, so let’s be realistic this is not untried this is something we are doing now and have been doing for years,” said Davis.
Davis said there are several foster families who love working with the privates.
“They get more benefits, they get more services, more mental help, a lot of these kids are traumatized beyond what anybody can dream, I’ve lived this and I know these kids,” said Davis. “I am willing to spend more money if it helps these children heal, in my opinion.”
Davis said people do not understand until they have seen it.
“Seeing that child and their fear will change you as a person and you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to take that fear, anxiety, and pain away from that child,” said Davis. “I just want people to know before you knock it, you need to know what you’re talking about and have an open mind because there are benefits.”
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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