Foster care still a concern


Commissioners says costs likely to dip into general fund

By Sarah Allen - [email protected]



Highland County Commissioners Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin, and Tom Horst are pictured during Wednesday’s meeting.


Sarah Allen|The Times-Gazette

Highland County commissioners said during their Wednesday meeting that “some general fund money” will likely have to fund foster care services.

Commissioner Shane Wilkin said that he and Job and Family Services Director Debbie Robbins, as well as some of her staff, recently met with JFS directors in Columbus.

Commissioners have discussed in prior meetings the increasing number of children in foster care and its impact on the county budget, as previously reported by The Times-Gazette.

Wilkin said on Wednesday that the number of kids in care “has dropped some,” from 175 to the 140s.

He added that following the meeting in Columbus, the county does “appear to be tapping into all of our funding streams.”

“Based on what we’re seeing … I’d say we can still count on some general fund money” going toward those services, Wilkin said.

In other matters, commissioners said they are looking to fill a vacancy at the Board of Developmental Disabilities. They said that board member Matthew French resigned.

Wilkin added that the board “really went on about how much they’re going to miss him.”

Anyone interested in filling this vacancy for a parent/guardian representative must submit a letter of intent to commissioners by Oct. 30. Commissioners said that letter could be sent via email.

Also on Wednesday, commissioners proclaimed the week of Oct. 23-31 as Red Ribbon Week. Representatives from FRS; the Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMH) Board; and local schools were present for the proclamation.

Joe Adray, chief executive director of FRS, described Red Ribbon Week as a “broad community approach” to remind kids “not to use drugs and alcohol.”

This year’s theme is “Respect Yourself: Be Drug-free.” Adray added that each year Red Ribbon Week is a time for the community to “stand up and take action against substance abuse.”

Among the activities planned for the week is a “Write in Red” essay contest, according to Melinda Sheets, public affairs coordinator with the Paint Valley ADAMH Board. The essay contest is open to students in both middle school and high school. Participants are asked to write an essay in red ink explaining how to live a drug-free lifestyle.

In each district, a $100 winner will be selected from both the middle and high school groups. Then from those a countywide winner will be awarded a $500 scholarship.

Sheets added that this contest occurs in all five counties covered by the Paint Valley ADAMH Board. Those are: Fayette, Highland, Pickaway, Pike and Ross counties.

In addition to the contest, each school will also observe special themed days. Community members are encouraged to wear red ribbons to show their support.

In other business, Wilkin described a conference he recently attended concerning land banks. Wilkin said he was able to speak with Jim Rokakis, who he described as the “guru” of land bank information.

Commissioners also discussed ongoing improvements at the Hi-Tech Center. According to commissioner Jeff Duncan, there have been a “few small glitches, but so far, they’ve been able to work around them.”

Commissioner Tom Horst added, “We are getting a lot of compliments on how nice it looks.”

Upgrades to the 911 system at the Highland County Sheriff’s Office were also discussed. Duncan said that the goal is to have the new system to go online on Nov. 1.

Commissioners also said that the city of Hillsboro’s annexation committee will hold a meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. in the municipal court to discuss the annexation of unincorporated properties.

Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.

Highland County Commissioners Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin, and Tom Horst are pictured during Wednesday’s meeting.
http://timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_CommishOct7.jpgHighland County Commissioners Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin, and Tom Horst are pictured during Wednesday’s meeting. Sarah Allen|The Times-Gazette
Commissioners says costs likely to dip into general fund

By Sarah Allen

[email protected]

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