The Commissioner / The Advocate
This month I have been attending Scott County Commissioner Workshops. Department leadership and supervisors are presenting an overview of their role in Scott County as well as their financial impact on the taxpayers. This is a precursor to the upcoming annual budgeting process.
This week, Child Social Services presented. This is an area that provides services that are mostly mandated through state and federal legislation and as well, the majority is funded through the county levy.
The Department indicated that the employee turnover is high, and the ability to obtain quality, and qualified, staff is low. The needs of some children and families are very complex and often cross into mental illness, abuse and neglect. Staff spends 40%-60% of their time completing required paperwork. This is time that is not spent working directly with the child and the child families.
The priority of the worker is to provide the children with safe supportive housing that is located near family. It is not to place the child into an institutional setting, such as the Scott County Juvenile Alternative Facility or group homes. The number of foster care homes willing to take in an older child with complex needs, are limited. Occasionally, staff provides round the clock care, on rotating shifts at the Government Center.
Commissioner Beer asked of the Child Services Department staff…. “Tell us the specifics of what we (the Commissioners) can advocate for at the State Capitol”
Advocating for a simplified process in the required paperwork, date sharing, and state funding is the role of the County Commissioner.
I have an understanding of this need and will advocate for Scott County.