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Commission finds additional TANF funding

More funding from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families was received in the second quarter than expected.

Washington County Commission President Ron Feathers said he was reviewing the budget and found that TANF funds were $158,000 for the second quarter.

Flite Freimann, director of the Washington County Job and Family Services, said among the goals of the merger between Family Services and Children Services was to use federal money to offset local dollars.

“We looked at using TANF funds,” he said.

One of the ways TANF funds could be used was to keep and maintain children in their homes, he said.

“We’re working to keep a child in the home of the biological parents,” Freimann said.

TANF funds could be used to prevent removal or for reunification of the child and parents, instead of using county general money.

“Our goal was to hit $100,000 a quarter,” he said. “That was our goal and that’s what our budget was built upon.”

He said this past quarter, they had 99 hits, which equaled $158,000. He said the state would send emails to case workers, asking how each of the cases were going. When the email was answered, they would get a ‘hit,’ with each equaling a certain amount of money.

Feathers asked how much in TANF dollars they had received in August 2018 before the merger.

“Zero dollars,” Freimann said.

When the merger occurred, the county was told there would be no way to get these Random Moment Sampling hits. This past quarter, they had 99 hits.

According to the Ohio DJFS, RMS is the cost allocation process used by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to accurately determine the administrative costs associated with the operation of any one of several state and federally administered programs that are supervised by ODJFS.

Freimann said JFS is spending more money on Children Services than ever before, with $4.1 million spent last year. He said it was a good thing, as they were doing more to help children and paying Children Services workers what they deserve. In addition, they were able to fill positions that were vacant for some time.

He said while they were spending more money, the funding coming from county general had dropped dramatically, from 40 percent to 25 percent.

“We’re spending more, but using more state and federal tax dollars,” Freimann said.

Feathers said more than two years ago, when the commission was threatened with lawsuits over the merger, a plan was presented by Columbus. The county said they could do it. The goal was $100,000 a quarter, totaling $400,000 a year to offset county general funds.

“That $400,000 goes back into everyone’s departments,” he said. He noted that this year, they would be receiving around $550,000 to $600,000 from TANF.

“Thank you very much. Job well done,” Feathers told Freimann.

In other commission news:

∫ A contract for geotechnical services on Township Road 559, Reynolds Run Road, was signed by the commission. The $11,987 contract was signed with Barr Engineering Inc., doing business as National Engineering and Architectural Services.

∫ Washington County Health Administrator Roger Coffman requested $7,232 to offset expenses incurred from March 1 to Dec. 30 due to COVID-19. The expenses have not been covered by other grants the health department has received. He also requested a one-time hazard pay for health department employees. Each of the 11 full-time employees would receive $2,000 each, while the four part-time employees would receive $1,500 each.

Coffman will take the requests to the health board during its meeting on Monday. The matter will be brought back to the commission next Thursday.

∫ The collective bargaining agreement with Washington County JFS was tabled until next week. Commissioners discussed the agreement at last week’s meeting, but they didn’t receive a copy of the agreement until Thursday morning. It was tabled so they would have a chance to review the agreement.

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