SIDNEY — In 2016 the Shelby County Department of Job & Family Services continued to provide services under numerous programs. The Child Support Enforcement Division continued their efforts to ensure that court-ordered child support payments are made.
“Over $7,500,000 is collected each year on close to 4,000 court orders. Due to the efforts of the staff over 73 percent of child support payments are being collected,” said Director Tom Bey. “Issues such incarceration and disability hinder efforts to collect payments. Unfortunately, some parents intentionally shirk their responsibilities to support their children. Moving from job to job, working “under the table” and changing addresses make it difficult to collect payments.”
His report continues:
The Employment & Services Division works with Shelby County residents who are required to participate in employment programs due to receipt of cash or food assistance programs. Additionally, employment services are provided, free of charge, to all residents of Shelby County. This is done through the Shelby County Means Jobs center. Information is available on current job opportunities. Information on training opportunities is also available. The Division also determines eligibility services for child care services and emergency assistance.
The Financial & Medical Services Division is responsible for determining initial and ongoing eligibility for all cash, food & medical assistance programs. The cash assistance program (OWF) has become a small part of the caseload. In most months under six (6) adults are receiving cash assistance for themselves and their children. Most cases result from relatives caring for children or families with disabled parents.
The SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) caseload is slowly falling from its numbers from the Great Recession. Able-bodied recipients of cash and food assistance are required to participant in some form of work/training as part of their eligibility. Over 50 percent of SNAP recipient are elderly/disabled while over 30 percent are employed in low paying jobs.
The major program of the Financial & Medical Division is Medicaid. This caseload peaked at over 10,000 during 2016. The number is now closer to 9,000. Expanded Medicaid was implemented in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act. The program expanded Medicaid eligibility to adults with gross monthly income under 133 percent ($2,235) of the federal poverty level. The purpose was to provide medical coverage to adults working at low-paying jobs. Currently, almost 1,700 adults are receiving expanded Medicaid services. As part of the ACA the Expanded Medicaid Program will be under intense review this year.
The Children Services Division continues to deal with the heroin epidemic in Shelby County. During the last three years (2014, 2015 and 2016) 110 Shelby County children were removed from their parent(s) home due to opiate addiction issues. Of those 110 children 68 are in the legal custody of relatives, four were adopted and 33 are still in agency/relative placement. Unfortunately, only five of these children were re-unified with their parent(s). Staff continue to work with these parents but in most situations the addiction is stronger than love for their children. Not only does the addiction destroy families it increases the number of HIV and Hepatitis C cases and increases placement costs to the county, state and federal governments.
The department is fortunate to have a strong Fiscal/Support Division. The 2016 audit found no financial findings which a testament to staff. All department staff are dedicated to serving the residents of Shelby County.
The department knows that every dollar it receives are from the taxpayers. The department strives to be good stewards for these dollars. For more information on the department and all of the services offered please see our website at: www.shelbycountyjfs.org.