EATON — Becky Sorrell, Director of Preble County Job and Family Services, updated the Preble County Commissioners on the recent June JFS numbers during their meeting on July 22.
She began by discussing the amount of people who have come to JFS looking for help with unemployment.
“We have had an increase in the number of people coming into the job center now,” Sorrell said. “We’re doing a lot of talking with folks about applying for unemployment and what they need to do to do that.”
Despite the number of people applying for unemployment increasing, Sorrell said that the unemployment rate was reduced in June compared to May.
Additionally, the number of recipients of Ohio Works First benefits has remained steady through June with 271 cash recipients this past month.
”Most of those, remember, most of those folks are children,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of adults who receive cash assistance. Those are mostly children who are living with a relative because for some reason their parents are unable to care for them.”
Sorrell provided some additional good news in regards to the amount of people requiring public assistance in June.
“We had 192 applications for public assistance in June, which is even lower than January and February before we even had the pandemic, so there really hasn’t been a lot of change for folks who are traditionally the clients of Job and Family Services through the pandemic,” she said.
In other business:
Sorrell also updated the commissioners on how JFS is conducting forensic interviews with children for their cases.
“Up until this year we’ve been using Care House that’s affiliated with Dayton Children’s and Montgomery County for our forensic interviews, and they had contacted me and told me that while we had been getting them for free, we were going to have to start paying for them, because that Care House is supported by Montgomery County’s levy,” Sorrell said.
Sorrell said that after some discussions, they have started using JACY House in Richmond, Indiana, which she said is closer for their staff and law enforcement.
“Keep in mind these interviews are special interviews for children, primarily who have been sexually molested by a family member or someone, and the quality of the interview is what is suitable for court for the criminal case,” Sorrell said.
While Care House had been providing the interviews for free, the interviews through JACY House cost $150, and Sorrell explained that JFS does not have funding that covers criminal investigations.
With JFS not having a funding source to pay for the forensic interviews, Sorrell said that it would need to be local dollars that cover the cost.
Since JFS does not require interviews if it is not a criminal case, Sorrell said they had just 35 of these interviews last year, though solutions were offered such as eventually holding forensic interviews at the new Reid Health facility in Eaton or having the cost fall back on the parents to mitigate said costs.
“JACY House has been so fantastic to work with,” Sorrell said. “I mean, I don’t know why we didn’t start working with them a long time ago.”
The Preble County Commissioners meet Mondays and Wednesdays at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @BradenMoles