Cost of placing children in care skyrocketing

Flite Freimann, director of Job and Family Services, informed the commissioners on Thursday that costs associated with children in treatment homes is going up.

“May is going to be the highest month ever for placement costs,” he said. “The cost per day is almost doubling.”

He said the average cost per day for the 15 children placed in treatment homes went up from an average of $200 a day to $325 during the calendar year. He said this is due to treatment facilities raising their costs, children in the county’s care that require intensive specialized treatment and the lack of room at the treatment facilities.

“Every available bed is taken in the state,” he said.

Freimann spoke of an example where the Tuscarawas Job and Family Services found the nearest open bed for one of their children in Arkansas, forcing the county’s representatives to travel to the state every other week in order to check on the welfare and progress of the child.

Commissioner President David White said he was shocked at the potential travel expenses that could be added to the budget if a similar situation happened in Washington County.

“Would it be possible to partner with other counties if it happened here?” White asked.

Freimann assured White that was a possibility and that it would be looked into to help save money if the situation arises in Washington County. Freimann continued giving details about the increased daily average of placement costs, citing one specific example. He said one child currently in treatment is costing the county $425 a day for his care. Even though the price tag is high for the child’s treatment, Freimann said it was worth it.

“They have severe challenges that need to be addressed,” he said.

At the end of the weekly commission meeting, White became emotional as he read a written statement about the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

“We designate a day to set aside to honor fallen heroes,” he said.

White said the holiday weekend is an important time for families to make memories and bond.

“Maybe they will have a cookout or a day in the park,” he said.

White continued by saying even though it is a weekend filled with fun, it should be remembered for the ultimate sacrifices that American have made in order to ensure the country’s freedoms.

“Young men and women who fought in horrible battles…they answered the call of duty…and we owe them something,” he said “We must take time to honor their sacrifices.”

Dates to remember.

•Monday: Courthouse closed for Memorial Day.

•June 3: Joint Solid Waste Management Committee meeting at Lori’s in Caldwell.

•8:30 a.m. June 11: Monthly meeting at the County Home.

Source: Rick Peoples: commissioners clerk.

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