In the wake of Enquirer reports that Hamilton County's Job and Family Services agency is at the breaking point - with too many cases per worker and woefully out-of-date technology - two commissioners said Monday they want to help the agency.So someone please explain to me how it is that better technology will help people make a decision to move a kid back into an abusive household?
Commission President Greg Hartmann, a Republican, and Todd Portune, a Democrat, both suggested allowing the agency to dip in a $28 million reserve in the children's services levy. That money has been set aside for an expected penalty for bad bookkeeping decisions a decade ago.
The idea to give JFS a cash infusion comes up 48 hours before Hamilton County commissioners are set to vote on the county's 2012 budget. It's expected to come in at $208.8 million, about the same as this year.A technology upgrade could cost as much as $750,000 - but it all depends on what equipment is purchased and for how many social workers. Details are still being worked out, Hartmann said.
It will take two votes of the three-man board of commissioners to make the purchase.
Commissioners Chris Monzel was not at Monday's regular staff meeting due to a family medical emergency.
JFS Director Moira Weir, who oversees the children's services division, could not be reached for comment.
The Enquirer revealed the children's service's surplus last week. The agency is asking voters Nov. 8 to renew the levy that pays for the care of abused and neglected children in the county.
All eyes are on the agency right now after the Oct. 21 death of Damarcus Jackson, a 2-year-old who spent nearly his whole life in Hamilton County foster care. A Hamilton County Juvenile Court magistrate in August sent Damarcus to live with his biological parents.