Job & Family Services deal with consequences of opioid epidemic



SIDNEY — While the federal/state governments establish rules & regulations for the Shelby County Department of Job & Family Services, it operates under the administrative authority of the Shelby County Commissioners. The department consists of the following divisions: Children Services, Child Support, Employment & Family Services, Financial & Medical Services, Administration & Support.

“As across Ohio, Children Services has seen significant increases in investigation and child placement. The opiod epidemic has resulted in a massive increase in the number of families who fail to protect their children,” said Tom Bey, director. “In 2018 meth addiction overtook heroin as a significant drug problem. Fortunately, in many situations relatives step in to care for the children of addicted parents. The current situation has placed a tremendous strain on the division. These drug and other family situations have place very serious financial and administrative stress on the division. The stress on the staff is also very concerning.”

His report continues:

The major issue in the Child Support Division for 2019 will be the implementation of House Bill 366. This bill updates the Ohio Support Guidelines since 1992. Issues such as support amounts, minimum orders, health care coverage & shared parenting will all be addressed. Many other issues such as child care will also be addressed. While the updates are long overdue changes on such a significant level will create the need for an intense implementation plan. Implementation is set to begin the Spring of 2019.

The Employment & Family Services Division continues to offer employment and job trading services to the residents of Shelby County. As with the nation, Shelby County ‘s unemployment rate continues to at a historically low level. The downside of this situation is that employers are finding it very difficult to find qualified employees. At any given time the division’s Job Center has over 100 job notices posted. Staff works to meet the needs of both individuals looking for employment and with employers.

The Financial & Medical Services Division is responsible for operating all federal assistance programs. Primarily this involves OWF (cash assistance), SNAP (food assistance) and Medicaid (medical assistance). The OWF cash assistance caseload has fallen to very low numbers. Children living with disabled parent (s) or living with relatives constitute the largest number of recipients. Of the 120/130 cash assistance cases only about 5/10 have an adult receiving cash. The SNAP and Medicaid caseload also continues to fall. From a high of almost 10,000 individuals I n 2015 the caseload is now under 9,000.

In 2018 Shelby County joined other counties in the Southwest District Shared Services Project. Under this program Medicaid applications can be taken by phone in any of the participating counties. Additionally OWF/SNAP cases were converted into a new computer system.

In 2019 the agency will implement a document imaging system named EDMS. The Financial & Medical Services Division has been operating under this system for some time. The other divisions will soon begin implementation of the system. This will constitute a major change in agency operations.

The agency is fortunate to have dedicated and professional staff. The programs operated by the department can be very complex. Additionally, many of the people being served are experiencing difficult life situations and can be upset or difficult to assist.

The department staff realizes that every $ it receives are from the taxpayers and strives to be good stewards for these dollars. For more information on the department and its services please visit our website at: