Representatives from Highland County Jobs and Family Services (HCJFS) were in attendance at the weekly Wednesday meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners to detail statistics in the county.
Jeremy Ratcliff, the HCJFS director, said he wanted to give updates from a “30,000-foot view” from its units in the organization.
Ratcliff said that March was busy for the agency. He said it had 130 reports and that 106 of them were abuse and neglect allegations. He said that while some of the calls were for information or for families in need of services, the overwhelming majority continued to be abuse and neglect allegations.
He said that HCJFS joined a campaign called Wear Ohio Blue which takes place on Wednesday, April 13, during Child Abuse Prevention Month as “a way to kind of show our support and raise awareness around child abuse prevention in our community.” He said the county received over 750 reports of suspected abuse and neglect in the county. The campaign was a way to let the community and its partners know abuse and neglect is preventable and raise awareness.
Ratcliff said a phone number people can call if they want to report suspected abuse or neglect is 937-393-3111.
“We all know that there’s a reporting mechanism, but how is it? The more times we say that the more people truly understand that this is how I do this,” commissioner Dave Daniels said. “If I suspect, this is how I do it. I can talk to a teacher. I can call you. There are a number of different agencies that are responsible and have an obligation to report if they receive of and see child abuse and neglect. You might also remember that those people are out there and you can reach out to them as well.”
Ratcliff said that as of March 31, 2022, the organization had 179 children in its care, which did not include children placed in settings not in its custody that they might still be working on cases with.
In other HCJFS news, Ratcliff said that in its Public Assistance Unit, it has more than 15,000 people in the county on Medicaid and 6,600 people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). He said he anticipated changes coming to the Medicaid program in the future, but didn’t have much more updates on the subject. He said when he gets more guidance from Washington, D.C. or Columbus, he’d make sure to let people know.
However, he said he’d categorize them as changes in the program towards back to what it was like pre-pandemic.
Also, Ratcliff said the agency was able to get additional funding from the state concerning potential foster care recruitment and retention of its current foster parents, thanks to Jean Myers, HCJFS assistant director.
In other news, there were six resolutions approved by the board of commissioners:
* Res. No. 22-56 is authorization for the sale of a 1998 Ford E 30 for $1 to the Highland County North Joint Fire and Ambulance District.
* Res. No. 22-57 is approval for an agreement with North Shore Village, LLC for the provision of wastewater services.
* Res. No. 22-58 is the appointment of Seth Hawthorn and Larry Brunk to the Highland County Airport Authority Board.
* Res. No. 22-59 is approval for a policy to allow full-time county employees to serve as poll workers on Election Day.
* Res. No. 22-60 is authorization for an additional appropriation from unanticipated revenue to other expense in the amount of $202.
* Res. No. 22-61 is an authorization for an additional appropriation from unanticipated funds to S-24 in the amount of $25,000.
There was one contract approved by the board:
* Contract 23 is between the board of commissioners and Spectrum for internet services at The Scott House, 338 W. Main St., Hillsboro.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.