Preble County Job and Family Services’ Becky Sorrell presented commissioners with a “County Profile,” last week, detailing numbers in areas such as sexual abuse cases, persons on Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), unemployment rate, and more.
Three cases of physical child abuse were reported in May, and eight cases of child sexual abuse were reported, a number Sorrel said was “giant” for the county.
The interviewing process to learn more about a child’s sexual abuse requires special training, for which no one in Preble County is certified. To combat the obstacle, children in Preble County who have been sexually abused will be interviewed by qualified staffing in Montgomery County.
Sorrell said an employee in Preble County, who could be qualified for the special interviewing process, called a “forensic interview,” would not be available for another year, as current employees must receive certifications and training classes to become adequately certified.
In May, 17 percent of Preble County’s population was enrolled in Medicaid, a 15 percent increase since 2006.
Twelve percent of the population received SNAP benefits, a 99 percent increase since 2006. In hand, food pantry usage since 2006 has increased 65 percent, according to Sorrell.
“Even with the food assistance increase, people are still needing to go to the food pantries,” said Sorrell. As food pantries receive donations from second-hand sources, records are to be kept within the organization to track the flow of received and given goods.
In 2012, a reported 10.7 percent of the county’s population was living below the poverty level, however 73 percent of the county’s working-age population are currently employed. 5.1 percent of the same age group are unemployed as of May 2014, and 502 Preble County citizens attended the Ohio Means Jobs job fair.
The number of residents in Preble County receiving cash assistance is 248, as the number of residents receiving food assistance has reached 5,040.
Three children were adopted in May 2014, as 45 children’s cases have remained open for over 12 months. Some 41 children were placed with a family member in the same month; 16 children were placed in local foster care, 28 were sent to a network foster care system, and 16 in residential care.
Sorrell said the need for an administrative position for JFS is crucial, as the department is “on the verge of a crisis at any moment,” and the department is at a “high risk” for the county. Though the department does have applicants, the pay-scale offered by the department does not meet their requirements.