The drug problem in Highland County and the growing number of children in foster care are inherently linked, a point made clear when speakers from two local agencies made presentations to Hillsboro Rotarians this week.
Hannah Allard of FRS Counseling and Katie Adams of Jobs and Family Services were both accidentally booked to speak to Rotarians on Tuesday, but they acknowledged that their presentations dovetailed because one problem has indisputably led to the other.
Allard told Rotarians about the upcoming “Take Back Our County, Hope for Highland 5K Glow for Change” on Saturday, Oct. 1. As previously reported in The Times-Gazette, the event starts at 6 p.m. on the Highland County Courthouse Square with free music, food, bounce houses, games, face painting, a diaper crawl and more.
Day of the run registration begins at 7 p.m. At 8 p.m. there will be a one-mile walk. The 5K Glow Run through the streets up uptown Hillsboro begins at 9 p.m.
Allard said area organizations are welcome to set up a booth and take part free of charge, as long as the booth has an activity or game. The events are sponsored by FRS, the city of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro Police Department.
On Tuesday, Allard said the events “are raising awareness about drugs,” and part of a fundraising effort to bring the “Hope Over Heroin” program to Highland County.
“Hope Over Heroin” is a collaborative ministry led by pastors in Ohio and Kentucky who came together “to connect the Body of Christ in order to break the chains of the addicted,” its website says. More information can be found at hopeoverheroin.com. Allard said “Hope Over Heroin” came to Wilmington last year and more than 2,000 people turned out.
There is a $20 entry for the walk and a $30 entry fee for the run. Participants get T-shirts, and for the run there will be glow items like necklaces and bracelets to wear, and a paint station. For more information visit the Hope For Highland County Facebook page.
Adams told Rotarians that the 1.9 mil levy voters are being asked to approve for Children Services this November is “necessary due to the drug problem.” She said 90 percent of children who are being removed from homes are removed due to drug abuse in the home.
“We are in a crisis, and it’s the children who suffer,” she said, adding that there are “five-year-olds who can tell you how to make meth” because of what they witness in their homes.
Adams said that while county commissioners have helped with General Fund money, “the General Fund cannot support (the number of) children in care,” a number which has exploded in the last two years.
A current levy in place generates $500,000 annually, according to the literature. The new levy will be Issue 8 on the ballot. Material distributed by Adams states that the levy will generate $1.479 million and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $59.85 per year.
“That’s just 16 cents a day, yet it will play a huge role in helping us continue to protect and provide for the children of Highland County,” according to the handout.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary. Jeff Gilliland contributed to this story.