Agency deals with local drug epidemic

For the Sidney Daily News



SIDNEY — The Children Services Division continues to deal with the drug epidemic in Shelby County.

“During 2017 situations involving 66 children were opened for services,” said Tom Bey, director of Shelby County Jobs and Family Services. “Of those 66 children, 47 came from homes that involved drug use. Fortunately, 35 children were able to be placed with relatives, two in foster care and 10 remained in their homes. The addiction destroys families and increases local, state and federal costs to human service agencies, law enforcement, education, judicial throughout the community.”

His report continues:

The department continued to provide services under numerous programs in 2017. The Child Support Enforcement Division continued their efforts to ensure that court-ordered child support payments are made. Over $7,500,000.00 was collected on over 4,000 court orders. Over 70 percent of court-ordered child support payments are being collected. Unfortunately, some parents intentionally shirk their responsibilities to support their children. Moving from job to job, working “under the table” and changing addresses makes it difficult to collect payments.

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 & training opportunities. Over 8,000 visits were made to the Job Center in 2017. Additionally, this division determines eligibility services for child care services and emergency assistance.

The Financial & Medical Services Division is responsible for determining 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) continues to slowly fall from its numbers during 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% of SNAP recipient are elderly/disabled while over 30% 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 slightly under 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% ($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.

The department is fortunate to have a strong Fiscal/Support Division. The 2016 audit found no financial findings which is a testament to the work of staff.

Upcoming issues in 2018 include implementation of a new state computer system for Financial & Medical programs; online child care applications; implementing a statewide document-imaging process among others. The future of Expanded Medicaid & the Medicaid CHIP program for children is also under debate at the federal level.

Towards the end of 2017 Children Services experienced a decrease in cases involving heroin but a significant increase in meth use. Drug use is expected to continue to be a critical issue in the county.

The department 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:


For the Sidney Daily News