EATON — Becky Sorrell, Director of Preble County Job and Family Services, provided her monthly update to the Preble County Board of Commissioners on Monday, Aug. 31.
According to Sorrell, Children’s Services had 43 referrals in July and currently have 77 open cases, which is a total of 154 children who are in ongoing cases.
19 children are in permanent custody as JFS continues to look for permanent homes. Several are also waiting for adoptions from their adoptive families who they have matched with.
110 children are in temporary custody and 30 are in protective supervision, which is a court order that means Children’s Services works with the families but does not have custody.
12 children are in residential and group homes, which is the highest number this year, with those 12 children costing $93,334.50.
“There has been a huge, as I’ve said in the past month, a huge spike in the number of sex abuse cases that we have involving youth as perpetrators and that has caused us to put children in special treatment centers for children who are sex offenders, and so that is very expensive,” Sorrell said.
Total in paid placement for July was $208,038.23, and Sorrell said she cannot remember a time when they’ve had a cost that high.
“Along with some mental health concerns for children, we’re finding a lot of these very young children who were born to addicts are really struggling with mental health concerns and they’re very difficult to place,” she said. “A lot of very extreme behaviors, and so I just wanted to bring that to your attention that this is not going away and it’s certainly not cheap.”
The average per diem in July was $94.99 per day, a significant increase when compared to February, according to Sorrell, when it was just $64.18 per day.
“At the same time, while we’re having these very most difficult cases, we’ve lost a third of our children’s services casework staff,” she said.
Sorrell is talking to the state to see what steps can be taken to reduce the caseload on JFS case workers.
This includes options such as hiring interns that can work additional hours and looking to neighboring states for help finding caseworkers.
“It’s just trying to think outside the box and solve the problem that we have right in front of us right at the moment, but I can tell you that the staff are really burdened with a number of cases that they have and the work that’s expected of them,” Sorrell said.
In other business:
- The board authorized payment to commission ($1,540.00), sheriff ($4,343.78; $1,356.26) and building maintenance ($4,360.00; $8, 756.48) and authorized an expenditure of $5,073.60 for the purchase of road signs to be used for various projects.
- The board note receipt of the Sheriff’s monthly jail report for July 2020. 34 females were booked in July, which is 14 more than booked in June and equal to the number of bookings in July 2019. The lowest number of inmates occured on July 25 with four female inmates, and the high number occured on July 14 with 13 female inmates. The average female population housed in their facilities was 8.74, which is below their capacity of 10 inmates. There were also 87 male admissions, and total releases of 124.
The Preble County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles