court house
News-Herald Staff Writer

CADIZ – Harrison County Children Services is looking for support from voters this fall as it tries to keep up with rising costs and abuse cases.

County Department of Job and Family Services Director Scott Blackburn met with commissioners on Wednesday to approve a resolution to that effect. A half-mill, five-year renewal levy will be on the ballot this November in hopes of generating about $140,000 per year. If approved by voters on Nov. 5, collections would begin in 2014.

“We’re hoping it will [help]. I just want to maintain what we have now. The levy money is counted into the calculation with the assistance we get from the county,” he said.
Blackburn added that the amount of costs and cases has risen dramatically and the agency has struggled to keep up.

“We have spent $126,000 per month after reimbursements for care. It’s astronomical.”
The number of children in care currently stands at 35, with 10 in permanent custody, 15 in temporary custody, two under a shared agreement and eight in Kinship care with relatives. Of those, only 18 are with local foster families. County commissioners previously agreed to provide $75,000 per quarter to help offset expenses and Blackburn hopes voters will support the renewal levy.

“It is just a renewal,” Commission Chairman Don Bethel clarified. “There are no extra [costs].”
Commissioners passed the resolution and Blackburn said a committee will convene soon to start promoting the levy.

More details of the meeting can be found in this weeks print edition of the Harrison News-Herald.